A recent survey conducted by the Game Developer’s Conference brought forth some interesting statistics about the current state of game development. Over 2,500 developers were polled, all of which either attended last year’s GDC or plan to attend this year. Of everyone polled, 53% labeled themselves as indie developers. And while the definition of an indie developer is sometimes debated, 46% of those polled said they worked at a company of ten or less, with only 24% working with a publisher to release their last game. It doesn’t get much more indie than that!
Developers were also asked to state which platforms they develop for, and smartphones and tablets took the lead here. 38% of developers said they released their last game for smartphones and tablets, and 55% said they’re currently at work on a game for those platforms. PCs and Macs took second in this category, with 34.6% of developers having released their last game on those platforms, and 48% at work on games for them now.
All good news so far, right? Well, only if you aren’t Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo. Only 13.2% of developers said they were working on a game for Xbox 360, with only 14% planning on releasing their next game for the platform. The PlayStation 3 fared no better, with only 13% of developers saying they were developing for the console, and only 12.4% aiming to release their next game on it. As for next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft, an equal 11% of those polled said they were working on a game for them. The Wii U came in dead last, with 4.6% at work on a Wii U game, and 6.4% releasing their next game on the platform.
37% of those polled expressed interest in developing for Android-based consoles like GameStick and OUYA
One of the most intriguing statistics came from a question about which platforms developers were most interested in developing for. 58% of those polled chose smartphones, but “PC-based TV consoles” like the Steam Box came in second at 45%, with Android-based consoles such as the OUYA coming in at 37%. Consoles fared a bit better here, with 27% expressing interest in developing for the PS4, and 29% interested in Microsoft’s next-gen console. Sadly, the Wii U had an interest level of 13%, and the 3DS a paltry 5%
Mind you, this may not be indicative of the current state of game development. Not all of the major console developers attend GDC, which may have had an effect on the data. Regardless, it’s clear that interest in smartphones and tablets has yet to wane, and future platforms like the Steam Box and OUYA will likely be a hotbed for indie game development.