Early GDC survey says developers believe Switch will outsell Wii U, but are unsure of mass appeal

GDC's State of the Industry survey polled 4,500 professionals about Switch, PS4 Pro, and Xbox Scorpio.

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Results from the Game Developers Conference State of the Industry survey reveal that most of the professionals surveyed believe Nintendo's Switch will outsell the Wii U during its lifetime, but those same developers are less certain that consumers will find its console/handheld hybrid design appealing.

GDC pollsters collected results from 4,500 industry professionals before tabulating their data.

When asked how they thought Switch would do at market relative to Nintendo's Wii U console:

  • 50% believe Switch will outsell Wii U, which has an install base of 13 million users
  • 14% believe Switch will sell less than Wii U
  • 37% were unsure

Regarding the Switch's primary selling point, its ability to go from conventional console to handheld device in a flash, the survey's results were uneven:

  • 19% named it "the right product for the right time"
  • 48% concluded that Switch might click with some players, but won't spark a revolution
  • 11% believed consumers would show a lack of interest
  • 23% took a wait-and-see approach, likely holding off on a decision until after launch

Nintendo will hold a Switch presentation tonight at 8:00 p.m. PT / 11:00 p.m. PT to discuss concrete details such as the system's exact release date, price, and offer a look at games due out at launch.

GDC's State of the Industry survey attempted to get a bead on how industry specialists feel about other consoles, namely Sony's and Microsoft's half-step consoles: PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio, the latter expected to release this holiday.

According to results:

  • 18% thought mid-cycle hardware refreshes were good for the industry
  • 5% considered hardware upgrades a negative industry development
  • 36% ended up neutral on the subject
  • 41% were undecided

Sony and Microsoft are still going strong. Over 50 million PS4s have been sold since its launch in 2013, while Xbox executives maintain that Scorpio will be the "most powerful console ever made" upon its release this holiday season.

[Source: PR Newswire]

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

From The Chatty
    • reply
      January 12, 2017 2:07 PM

      That was a little hard to follow with most of the numbers being written out; which is the traditional way you're supposed to do. Any chance you can tweak it a bit for easier reading? Maybe even a pie chart or two (ya, ya, I know - we all hate PPT) just to help keep the numbers in context of 100% and related to the questions?

      • reply
        January 12, 2017 2:10 PM

        I only write out numbers when they start a sentence, per AP guidelines: http://writingexplained.org/ap-style/ap-style-numbers. I'll see about making some tweaks, though!

        • reply
          January 12, 2017 2:12 PM

          Right. Like I said, I get why you did it. Just made this piece harder to read. Just MHSO though.

          • reply
            January 12, 2017 2:20 PM

            I can't do anything as fancy as pie charts in our CMS (that I know of), but I broke down results in a format people might find easier to read. Hope it helps!

            • reply
              January 12, 2017 2:21 PM

              Yes. That's much easier to follow.

              Thx!

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      January 12, 2017 2:10 PM

      Personally, I want to believe that putting real controls on a tablet design, but with a true console platform of games instead of "mobile" games, should do well. We complain so much about on-screen controls and virtual sticks, so this should be the real answer to stuff like that.

      I've said several times, as long as Nintendo gives mobile devs the total stiff arm and not allow ports of "mobile" games, that games have to be real portable games, then this should do well. At least, that's what I'm after. I'm so done with mobile single mechanic time wasters wrapped in IAP.

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        January 12, 2017 2:10 PM

        Yeah, same here. The Switch could be the best of both handheld and mobile (tablet) worlds.

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          January 12, 2017 2:16 PM

          I'm going to advocate the use of the term "portable" instead of mobile. I know that's an older term we used to use for the 3/DS era, but the stigma of "mobile" just leaves such a bad taste in my mouth.

          • Zek
            reply
            January 12, 2017 2:32 PM

            It's a handheld, no need to reinvent any words.

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              January 12, 2017 2:55 PM

              I'd be fine with handheld over mobile. Just please for the love of real games, I hope Nintendo NEVER uses the word mobile.

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      January 12, 2017 2:49 PM

      I'm interested in the Switch but it will all come down to price for me. Think they can hit $250? Is that crazy?

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        January 12, 2017 2:54 PM

        If that wasn't such the prevailing rumor I might say it's bunk. But, internet rumors have kinda taught us that constant recurring rumors usually end up being true. I'm thinking it'll be $249.99

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        January 12, 2017 2:57 PM

        What if it's $260? Will you buy it then? Or would that be a solid no?

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          January 12, 2017 2:57 PM

          Do I look like I'm made of money?! Hard pass

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        January 12, 2017 3:06 PM

        My guess, and I do not know for a fact at this point, is that there will be two SKUs: one without a pack-in game priced around $250, one with a game for closer to $300.

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          January 12, 2017 3:45 PM

          There's definitely going to be more than one SKU.

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          January 12, 2017 7:18 PM

          I kinda don't think there will be a pack-in. But, the rumor about a bundle with Zelda and the pro controller seems plausible to get attachment up.

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        January 12, 2017 3:27 PM

        My coworker gets starbucks everyday and I don't. In about two months I can afford a Switch.

      • Zek
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        January 12, 2017 3:33 PM

        I think it has to be. More would be a mistake IMO given the market that they need to capture.

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        January 12, 2017 5:54 PM

        Yeah $250 feels like the perfect price point.

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      January 12, 2017 2:57 PM

      I don't think much of the Switch pre-release, but even I know it's not going to be as much of a stinker out of the gate as the Wii u was. This system has much more promise.