Devs snubbing console for mobile, claims GDC survey

Devs snubbing console for mobile, claims GDC survey
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

March 1st 2013 at 3:00PM

2,500 attendees reveal industry trends to new platforms and the rise of indies

Developers are increasingly snubbing console development for smartphones and tablets, a new survey from the Game Developers Conference claims.

Gathering responses from 2,500 GDC attendees past and present, the survey found that 55 per cent of developers were creating their current games for mobile and tablet.

Displaying the increasing trend toward these platforms over recent years, a lesser 38 per cent of developers said they had released their last game for smartphones and tablets, while 58 per cent were considering launching their next game for the devices.

PC and Mac proved to be the second most popular platforms, with almost 50 per cent of those who answered the survey stating their ambitions to publish their next games on the systems.

Console meanwhile lagged behind somewhat, with 13 per cent of developers creating titles for Xbox 360 and another 13 per cent developing for PS3.

The survey showed Nintendo continuing to struggle for third-party support for the Wii U, with just 6.4 per cent of developers making their next game for the console.

Attendees were also surveyed on levels of interest in various platforms, with tablets coming out on top with 58 per cent of developers interested, followed shortly by smartphones at 56 per cent.

Valve’s upcoming Steam Box meanwhile generated the interest of 45 per cent of developers, with Android consoles including Ouya and GameStick at 37 per cent.

Consoles again lagged behind in last place, with 29 per cent and 27 per cent of developers interested in developing for the next Xbox and PS4.

It should be noted however that apparently lack of interest in developing for next generation consoles could be down to the dearth of available information to many developers on the platforms and the uncertainty surrounding the openness of Microsoft’s and Sony’s new systems.

Rise of indie development

The survey also found that 53 per cent of respondents identified themselves as indie developers, with 46 per cent saying they worked with companies of ten people or less.

As well as this, just 24 per cent of those surveyed worked with a publisher on their last game, with only 20 per cent doing so on their current projects.

GDC said these figures represented a rise in the number of indie and small development teams “like never before”.

The number of independent developers attending GDC compared to triple-A developers could also be another reason for the lower interest in next-gen consoles, given the controversial approval processes, licensing and update costs currently employed on PSN and XBLA and the much larger userbases on offer with Android and iOS devices.

Crowdfunding slowly making inroads

Despite a number of games taking to crowdfunding during the last year, with a number of games making millions from sites such as Kickstarter, just eight per cent of developers attending GDC have worked on a crowdfunded project.

Existing company capital proved the most popular approach to funding new games, with 37 per cent of developers stating their projects had been funded in this way.

35 per cent said their games had been funded by individuals, while just nine per cent were VC funded, and ten per cent publisher-funded.

Despite a small percentage having worked on a crowdfunded game, 44 per cent of developers surveyed said they planned to take to crowdfunding in future.

--

GDC 2013 will take place between March 25th and 29th at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco.

Develop will be out in force at the event to cover all the latest and breaking stories as they happen. The March issue of Develop will also be available throughout the conference.

If you would like to get in contact with us at the event for a meeting, please contact Develop editor Will Freeman at Will.Freeman@intentmedia.co.uk or Develop editor-in-chief Michael French at Michael.French@intentmedia.co.uk.

For more information on GDC 2013, visit the official website.