The Game Developers Conference
has polled more than 2,600 North American game developers who attended GDC 2013 to compose the second annual State of the Industry Survey, which provides a snapshot of the games industry and illustrates industry trends before the start of GDC 2014 in March.
Notable trends shown in the poll results include a preference for the PlayStation 4 platform for console developers, the prevalence of self-funded projects, the changing reliance and relationship with publishers, and myriad other trends that offer a glimpse into the future landscape of the games industry.
The full report polled attendees on topics relating to platform preference, crowdsourcing, team size, live streaming, localization and topics in-between. The 2014 State of the Industry Survey is the second an ongoing series of yearly reports that offer insight into the shape of the industry as a prelude to GDC 2014 in San Francisco. Organized by the UBM Tech Game Network, GDC 2014 will take place March 17-21 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.
PlayStation 4 Leads Among New Consoles, as Developers Flock to PC and Mobile
With the new generation of game consoles still in their infancy, 20 percent of developers surveyed said they intend to release their next game on Sony’s PlayStation 4. That edges out Xbox One’s 17 percent and greatly outpaces Wii U’s 4 percent. Fourteen percent of developers said they are currently developing games for PlayStation 4, versus 12 percent for Xbox One and 4 percent for Wii U.
While PS4 has a narrow lead in the console space when it comes to developer intent, it’s still lower-barrier PC and smartphone/tablet development that attracts most developers surveyed. Fifty-one percent plan to make their next game for smartphone/tablet, while 52 percent anticipate releasing their next game on PC/Mac.
Meanwhile, 53 percent of respondents are currently working on PC or Mac titles and 52 percent of developers are creating titles for tablet/smartphones.
Developers Are Choosing to Self-Publish Their Games
Developers polled expressed an overwhelming preference toward self-publishing their projects, with 64 percent of respondents not working with a publisher on their current project, versus 19 percent who are (17 percent said they work at a publisher). That self-publishing vs. publishing split is virtually the same as last year, and reflects digital distribution trends on PC and mobile platforms.
More Game Developers Are Self-Funding Than Last Year
Big crowdfunding projects make the headlines, but self-funding is still the most popular among developers polled. Fifty-two percent said that at least part of their funding comes from their company’s existing funds, and 46 percent of respondents said they contribute their own personal funds toward the creation of their projects. That’s up from 2013’s survey, when 37 percent of respondents reported that they dipped into their company’s warchest to fund development, while 35 percent of respondents offered their own money to fund their projects.
Only 11 percent of respondents to this year’s survey had used crowdfunding as a monetary resource for their current projects, though that number grew from last year’s 4 percent.