GDC 2013 Survey Shows Much Enthusiasm For Smartphones, Tablets, And PC Gaming

But on the console side of things? Not so much.

by on 2nd Mar, 2013

It's that time of the year again, in which the organizers of the Game Developers Conference publish a survey a few weeks leading up to their upcoming show. These results, which are gathered from last year's attendees, alongside those who are planning on going this year, is often a taste of what's to come. As well as a clear indication of current state of the industry as a whole.

Most of the findings, which were distributed to members of the press in the form of a press release, are hardly a shocker. At least to anyone who has been paying attention to the landscape as of late. While some are genuinely surprising.

First, interest in indie game development, or creating games in smaller teams, are on the rise "like never before". 53% of respondents identified themselves as an independent developer, and 51% of that quotient has only been in indie game development for less than two years.

The next big revelation is how more and more are developing for smartphones. 38% survey stated that their last game was for a mobile handset or tablet, and 55% are currently working on something for those platforms as well. 58% of those who answered said their next game shall be for those avenues as well.

Furthemore, 34.6% of developers had their last game out on the PC and Mac, with 48% currently doing something for either, or both platforms. Plus 49% are also planning on something as well; clearly the PC market has never been healthier.

But the story is completely different on the console side. Perhaps hearing that only 13.2% of those surveyed are currently working on a Xbox 360 game, and only 14% planning on doing so in future… which is comparable to 13% and 12.4% cited for the PS3… is a given. Because those platforms are in the process of riding off into the sunset.

Yet when asked if they were making something for the Xbox 720 and PS4, only 11% said yes. Oh, and only 4.6% of developers are currently doing something for the Wii U.

Those numbers, quite frankly, are quite worrisome, because this is the time in which everyone is supposed to be making plans for the next generation of video game consoles. And while it's a safe bet that Microsoft and Sony are not exactly handing out 720 and PS4 dev kits out to just anyone, one also has to wonder about the overall interest in those upcoming platforms to being with.

Considering how everyone is about making smaller games with a leaner team, and next-gen development flies in the face of such goals and realities, then one can't help but seriously ponder the long-term health of the next generation of consoles.

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