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GDC State of the Industry: Game devs shifting focus to next-gen consoles

The Game Developers Conference has released the results of the eighth annual State of the Industry Survey, highlighting and revealing notable trends in the game industry ahead of GDC 2020 this March!

The survey compiles responses from nearly 4,000 game developers, and this year's results suggest devs are showing heightened interest in developing for next-generation consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. 

The data also shows an uptick in interest in VR game development, which was potentially spurred by the release of Oculus Quest, as well as rising confidence that game devs can and should unionize. 

This State of the Industry Survey is the eighth entry in the ongoing series of yearly reports and serves as a snapshot of the game industry, illustrating industry trends ahead of GDC 2020. Organized by Informa Tech, GDC 2020 will take place March 16th through the 20th at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California!

Over 10 percent of game makers are currently making games for next-gen consoles, while interest in game streaming remains nascent

Every year we check in with game industry professionals to see which platforms they’ve targeted for their past, present, and future game projects, and for the past few years we’ve seen PC and mobile win out as the most popular platforms. We saw that trend continue this year, as when we asked respondents what platform their last game was released on, the majority (54 percent) said PC, 40 percent said mobile, 24 percent said PlayStation 4/Pro, and 21 percent said Xbox One/One X.

The data gets more interesting when we asked respondents about what platforms they’re targeting for their current project, because we had the opportunity to ask about the next generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft.

While the majority of respondents said their current projects are being developed for the PC (56 percent) and/or mobile (39 percent), 11 percent of survey respondents said their current project is being developed for the PlayStation 5, and 9 percent said they’re currently targeting the next generation Xbox Series X (still known as “Project Scarlett” at the time our survey was conducted).

We also checked to see how many were currently working on games for Google Stadia and Microsoft’s Project xCloud, two high-profile game streaming services which made waves in 2019. 6 percent of respondents said they’re currently targeting Google Stadia and just 3 percent said they’re aiming to put their current project on xCloud, suggesting that dev interest in making games for these services remains nascent.

As you might expect, dev interest in targeting next-gen consoles increased a bit when we asked respondents what platform(s) they expect to launch their next project on. 23 percent said they expect their next game will launch on PlayStation 5, while 17 percent expected it would come to the next-gen Xbox.

The most popular platform for future projects was the PC (52 percent), followed by mobile (39 percent) and again, the PlayStation 5 (23 percent). Only 19 percent of respondents said they expect to release their next game on the Nintendo Switch, while PlayStation 4/Pro and Xbox One/One X tied with 20 percent of respondents targeting each for their next game.

We also saw a slight uptick in dev interest in game streaming services for future projects, as 8 percent expect to launch their next game on Google Stadia and 6 percent are targeting xCloud.

Just 5 percent of devs are targeting next-gen exclusively, but a third expect their games to launch on both current and next-gen consoles

With new consoles from Sony and Microsoft on the horizon, we checked in with our survey respondents to see whether they’re developing their next game exclusively for these next-gen platforms. Just 5 percent said yes; 34 percent said they’re targeting both current and next-gen platforms, and 22 percent said they’re exclusively targeting current platforms.

However, the largest share (39 percent) admitted they don’t know whether their next project will be exclusive to next-gen platforms. However, the largest share (39 percent) admitted they don’t know whether their next project will be exclusive to next-gen platforms.

Download your free copy of the 2020 State of the Industry report here!

GDC 2020 runs from Monday, March 16th through Friday, March 20th. This will be the 34th edition of GDC, and now that registration is officially open, you'll want to take a look at the (ever-expanding) session schedule and your GDC pass options -- register early to lock in the best price!

For more details on GDC 2020 visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via FacebookTwitter, or RSS.


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