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GDC poll shows rise in console development, developer profit, and staff retention

A poll of 2,000 developers conducted by the Game Developers Conference showed some positive numbers of console development, a rise in developer profit and stability, and a growing interest in the world of eSports.


Game development for PC and mobile devices continue to dominate the gaming space. However, a poll recently conducted by the Game Developers Conference shows that development for Microsoft and Sony's new consoles is on the rise.

Over 2,000 game developers were asked on what platforms they were developing their games. A total of 26 percent were developing for PlayStation 4, compared to 14 percent last year. Meanwhile, 22 percent are developing games for Xbox One, which is up from 12 percent last year. The folks at the GDC attributed this rise to the extra year of availability for the new hardware and the added time for developers to familiarize themselves with each console.

While console numbers have risen, however, they do not come close to reaching the numbers for PC and mobile platforms. PC development is on the rise with 56 percent of developers working on PC games, up from 53 percent last year. Smartphone and tablet game development is at 50 percent, down from 52 percent last year, but still well ahead of console development.

Other stats included the impact of microtransactions, with 21 percent of developers reporting that their primary source of profit comes from DLC and in-app purchases. Digital sales are also on the rise, with 29 percent stating their profit comes from direct digital sales, as opposed to only 13 percent seeing their profit from retail sales. Developers also appear to be doing better than years past, with 41 percent of developers reporting a rise in profits and 44 percent reporting a rise in employed staff.

The most interesting trend to watch will be eSports, with 10 percent of the 2,000 developers stating that they are currently working on a competitive, skill-based multiplayer game. Even those that aren't actively working on an eSports game acknowledge their impact, with 79 percent of those polled noting that eSports will be a long-term, sustainable business.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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