Published: Mon, January 27, 2020
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

GDC survey shows growing support for game developers unionising

GDC survey shows growing support for game developers unionising

A new survey conducted on behalf of the Game Developers Conference polled just short of 4,000 responding game developers on a range of industry issues, including - most excitingly for those of us on the outside looking in - what consoles their current projects are for and where they foresee their efforts going next. Unfortunately, few are confident it will actually happen. 21 percent said maybe, 16 percent said no, and 9 percent said they weren't sure. 12 percent said they just didn't know. Cyberpunk 2077 developers will be required to crunch, while Doom Eternal developers were "crunching pretty hard" throughout 2019. The questions asked are angled to get an idea of what developers are now working on, as well as what they think of current industry trends. However, 32 percent of respondents said they were yet undecided, leaving plenty of room for things to shift as the AR/VR market evolves.

There's a big interest in next-gen consoles among developers, too, with 38% suggesting interest in developing for PS5, and 25% for Xbox Series X. Asked about Switch, 37% of respondents said they were interested in the hardware, perhaps suggesting that the allure of new tech is proving most compelling. Only 5 percent said yes; 34 percent said they are targeting current and next-generation platforms, and 22 percent said they are targeting current platforms exclusively. Also, after years of declining responses, developer interest in VR and AR seems to be picking up again.

With the record breaking userbase of the PS4 topping out at almost 110 million users, you can expect the cross-gen period of development and release to be drastically extended over previous generations. When asked what platforms their last project had launched on, what their current project was being developed for, and what they planned to make their next project for, over 50% of surveyed developers responded "PC" to each question. It's only a small decrease from past year, however. As part of a union, developers would be able to collectively bargain for better working conditions and benefits and according to the latest GDC survey, more industry workers are warming up to the idea. 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. This individual was specifically referencing the amount of f2p ad-based shovelware found on mobile devices and how subscription services like Apple Arcade and Google Play could remove some of that pressure.

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Every year we survey respondents about how long they've been involved in game development, and every year we find the majority have been making games for 10 years or less.

The survey also revealed how 17% of developers said their current project would be released on the Switch, and 19% of them are planning on releasing a future game on the system.

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