Over half of game developers polled by the Game Developers Conference are working on titles designed for PCs or mobile devices. By contrast, only around 4% of game designers are either working or planning new titles for Nintendo Wii U, which is a catastrophe for the platform owner. A significant part of programmers are developing games for Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4.
The GDC has polled more than 2600 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.
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% of developers surveyed said they intend to release their next game on Sony's PlayStation 4. That edges out Xbox One's 17% and greatly outpaces Wii U's 4%. 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% anticipate releasing their next game on PC/Mac.
Meanwhile, 53% of respondents are currently working on PC or Mac titles and 52% 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% of respondents not working with a publisher on their current project, versus 19% who are (17% 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% of respondents said they contribute their own personal funds toward the creation of their projects. That's up from 2013's survey, when 37% of respondents reported that they dipped into their company's warchest to fund development, while 35% of respondents offered their own money to fund their projects.
Only 11% of respondents to this year's survey had used crowd-funding as a monetary resource for their current projects, though that number grew from last year's 4%.