This year’s State of the Game Industry from GDC – its 11th since beginning the project – delivers a range of insights from the 2300 game devs surveyed. Let’s dig into the highlights, shall we?
Developers are “wary” about the metaverse; in the question about companies and platforms that are “best placed to deliver on the promise of the metaverse,” 45% of respondents selected “none” and that “the metaverse concept will never deliver on its promise.” Ouch. Epic Games clocks in at 14%, followed by Meta and Microsoft at 7% each. One surveyee said the metaverse is “reinventing the wheel,” while another said “promise of the metaverse is only going to come from some kind of massive hardware leap, i.e. neural interfacing, not some digital VR chat room.”
As last year, developers are extremely skeptical about blockchain tech; 75% said they’re not interested at all, while the percentage of devs saying their studios are considering blockchain actually decreased since last year. A whopping 56% said they remain opposed to blockchain, while an additional 5% said they are newly opposed. “When asked to share more about their opinions, many developers said there could be a valuable place for blockchain technology in video games in the future, while noting that some current usages are either unsustainable or predatory. Others said that the risks outweigh the benefits, and that existing technologies serve similar purposes that negate the need for the blockchain.”
- 53% of developers surveyed think video game industry workers should unionize (24% said maybe, 13% said no, and 10% said don’t know). But only 22% said discussions about unionization are happening at their studio.
- PC is still king in terms of games being worked on (65%), followed by PS5 (33%), Xbox X/S (30%), Android (27%), iOS (26%), Xbox One (19%), Switch (18%), PS4 (18%), and Mac (18%). Obviously, many of the titles are being built for multiple platforms. VR headsets are a mere 12%. The numbers for what developers are actually interested in aren’t too much different, though PS5, mobile, and VR perform better.
- Of the VR market share of surveyees’ upcoming games, Meta Quest claimed more than a third, though PlayStation VR2 has devs’ attention too.
- Premium subs and blockchain monetization are at the bottom of the pile in terms of monetization for upcoming games.
- 57% of those surveyed have been in the industry under 10 years, with 13% clocking more than 20 years (if you ever wondered why it seems like the games industry just keeps on making the same mistakes over and over).
- 59% of respondents said their companies were focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives a moderate or great amount; 22% said there was no effort. But 96% also said that those initiatives have been at least slightly successful. “We’ve shifted our hiring mentality to look for ‘culture add’ instead of ‘culture fit.'”, one reported.
- “About 16% said their company facilitated changes to healthcare policies related to reproductive care, while 9% reported improvements in trans-inclusive healthcare policies.”
- Of the 36% of those who said they’ve considered changing companies or had already done so in the past year, a whopping 81% said it was because of low pay, 67% attributed it to company culture, with franchise, work/life balance, remote work policies, and benefits coming in hot too.
- 44% of devs believe the corporate consolidation wave in the games industry will have a net negative impact.
- 78% of devs said player toxicity and harassment is a serious or very serious issue in the industry. However, more than half said they had never personally experienced harassment. This makes sense as most roles are not public-facing.
“Survey takers working in community management, marketing, or PR reported experiencing or witnessing harassment more than developers in other job roles. This was followed by developers working in business and finance, production and team management, and game design. Men surveyed were less likely to say they experienced or witnessed harassment than women or non-binary people, and respondents were more likely to say they experienced or witnessed harassment if they identified as part of the LGBTQ+ community.”