I had a chance to thumb through “The State of the Game Industry” report presented by GDC for 2018. You can get a copy of the report by signing up here. The pdf is 19 pages long, big on charts and small on projections. Which I guess is the point of a snapshot. Every year for the last six years the GDC surveys a couple of thousand devs about their positions on the game industry. Topics include platform strategy, marketing channels, and monetization.
Here are some of the interesting trends from the survey.
- PC remains the target platform of choice for most developers
- Interest in mobile platforms declined slightly
- Interest in VR/AR platforms fell slightly
- The Nintendo Switch appeals to more devs
- Social Media is the marketing outlet of choice
- Most devs are self-funded
On that last point, we go into business to make money, right? There’s an extended discussion of monetization strategies, and this year survey respondents addressed the contentious loot boxes topic. There’s a variety of opinions on their appropriateness and hints of cultural differences between Asian markets and Western markets. Here’s a sobering quote though:
“Game devs often do not generate enough revenue from sales to support the team required to make the games the audience demands.”
Developers remain steadfastly confident that eSports are here to stay. This quote sums it up nicely:
“StarCraft exists, so by definition, it is a sustainable business,” wrote one respondent. “I am not particularly interested in getting involved in the development of an eSport, however. Being tied down to developing and supporting a single game for the rest of my career sounds pretty hellish, in fact.”
I hear that.
The Game Developer’s Conference takes place March 19 to 23 this year, in San Francisco as usual. So if you’re a dev and interested in going, you know where to get the info and passes.