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GDC State of the Industry Survey Reveals Devs Optimism for Switch, Uncertainty Over Mid-Cycle Console Refresh

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GDC State of the Industry Survey Reveals Devs Optimism for Switch, Uncertainty Over Mid-Cycle Console Refresh

Today, The Game Developers Conference (GDC) released the results of the fifth annual State of the Industry Survey, revealing trends in the video game industry ahead of GDC 2017, taking place February 27th-March 3rd.

Th survey conducted from the views of over 4,500 video game developers who have attended GDC over the past 3 years revealed the community’s overall optimism for Nintendo’s upcoming Switch platform, with half of that number believing that the platform can outsell Nintendo’s current console – Wii U in its lifetime.

Other significant finding highlights include an uncertainty amongst developers on the benefits of mid-cycle console updates with Sony’s recently released PS4 Pro and the upcoming release of Xbox’s “Project Scorpio.”.

State of the Industry Survey Highlights:

Game Makers are feeling optimistic about Nintendo’s upcoming Switch console

In the wake of Nintendo’s recent product announcement of its upcoming hybrid portable/home console the Switch, the responding developers indicated a cautious optimism for the platform’s viability in the marketplace. 50 percent of respondents believe that the Switch will outsell Nintendo’s most recent home console, Wii U, which has a worldwide install base of roughly 13 million. 14 percent thought that the platform would sell less, with the remaining 37 percent unsure.

As far as the product’s core selling point, its ability to switch between portable and docked console modes, survey respondents are a little more mixed with their predictions on whether or not the feature will resonate with the public. Only 19 percent offered an unequivocal yes (“the right product for the right time”), while 48 percent believe that it might resonate but doesn’t seem to be “world-changing”. 11 percent figured people wouldn’t be interested in the core premise of the Switch, and 23 percent said they were unsure of how it would be received upon launch.

Most developers are unsure about mid-cycle console refreshes, but more are positive than negative

With both Sony and Microsoft releasing more powerful mid-cycle console refreshes like PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox’s “Project Scorpio,” developers revealed mixed feelings about whether or not these hardware updates are good for the industry. 41 percent of survey respondents were undecided, 36 percent said they were neutral on the subject, and 18 percent said they thought it was a good thing for the industry. Just 5 percent said it was a negative development.

HTC Vive outpaces Oculus Rift as the most popular VR/AR platform

With mainstream console and PC Virtual Reality (VR) platforms entering their first holiday season at the time of the survey, developers had numerous insights to share about their support for the various headsets on the market. 61 percent of surveyed developers are not currently developing VR titles, but among those who are, 24 percent are currently making games on HTC and Valve’s Vive headset, 23 percent are supporting Oculus Rift, and 13 percent are supporting Sony’s PlayStation VR.

Support for each platform has grown significantly from last year’s survey, when Oculus Rift received 19 percent support and HTC Vive and PlayStation VR garnered 6 percent each. Projecting into the future, when asked which VR/AR platform they expected the game after the project they’re working on now would be released on, 40 percent of respondents said they were planning to support HTC Vive for their next title. By comparison, 37 percent said their next game would release on Oculus Rift, and 26 percent said PlayStation VR.

When surveyed about general interest level in each of the major VR/AR headsets, survey respondents once again gave HTC Vive the lead. When asked to mark down the VR/AR platforms of most interest to them as developers, 45 percent indicated HTC Vive, 30 percent indicated Oculus Rift, and 29 percent marked PlayStation VR. Microsoft’s upcoming HoloLens Augmented Reality (AR) platform came in fourth with 24 percent of respondents.

1 in 10 game makers is working on a platform-exclusive VR/AR game, predominantly for the Vive

The topic of platform exclusives (timed or otherwise) in the VR game industry has been heating up recently, so the survey also asked respondents whether their next VR/AR game was being developed exclusively for a single platform. Half of respondents said they weren’t involved in VR/AR game development, while 39 percent said that their next project would not be exclusive to a single VR/AR platform. 11 percent of survey respondents said that their next game would be exclusive to one VR/AR platform or device. Of those developers working on an platform-exclusive VR/AR title, 33 percent of respondents said their next project would be a platform-exclusive VR/AR game for HTC Vive, making it the most popular VR system for exclusives. By comparison, 24 percent were working on a platform-exclusive VR/AR title for Oculus Rift, and 15 percent for PlayStation VR.

A more detailed report of the findings can be found HERE.

The Game Developers Conference 2017 takes place in San Francisco February 27th-March 3rd.

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Dan has been gaming for nearly 30 years and has survived everything from Nuclear Fallouts to Zombie Outbreaks but his main love is Survival Horror and don't we all know it. Favourite games include Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto, he can be regularly found cruising the streets of Vice City listening to the classics.

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