GDC 2016 Industry Survey Shows 16 Percent of Developers Working on VR

Posted 1/27/2016 10:08:51 AM by RICHARD HARRIS, Executive Editor

GDC 2016 Industry Survey Shows 16 Percent of Developers Working on VR
Game developers are continuing to embrace the potential of virtual reality (VR) gaming as a recent survey shows that the development of VR titles has more than doubled among surveyed developers with 16 percent currently developing for VR, up from the 7 percent of developers said they were working on VR projects in last year’s survey.

The survey, State of the Industry Survey, is conducted annually by the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and is now in its fourth addition. The purpose of the survey is to identify current trends in the games industry based on the feedback of more than 2,000 game developers.

The survey indicates that the emergence of upcoming VR devices including Oculus Rift, Sony’s PlayStation VR and Samsung’s Gear VR, are spurring interest in VR game development with 15 percent of surveyed developers indicating that their next game will incorporate VR, up from the 6 percent from last year. 

Also, Three out of four game developers believe VR/AR offers is a viable business model, with 75% of respondents agreeing that VR/AR is a long-term sustainable business to be in. 

There is, however, disagreement on the future sales rates for VR/AR games. When asked when they believe VR/AR devices will exceed the adoption rate of game consoles in the U.S., 27 percent of respondents said they didn’t believe VR/AR hardware would ever surpass that level of adoption. Only 1 percent of those surveyed said they expected it to happen by 2018, the earliest time period available for selection. 44 percent of respondents expected it to happen by 2026, and 54 percent believed it would happen by 2030.

In relation to a VR/AR install base question, 38 percent of respondents predicted that VR/AR hardware would be in 10 percent of U.S. households by 2020. 86 percent figure it’ll happen by 2030, and roughly 9 percent figure it will never reach 10 percent.                                                       

In other analysis, developers continue to work on PC gaming with 52 percent of developers currently working on a PC game, slightly down from the 56 percent from last year. While game developers continue to work on smartphone and tablet games at 44 percent, that number has also dropped from the 50 percent of developers who said they are working on PC titles last year.

Gaming consoles continue to impact game development, as 27 percent of game developers said they are working on a title for PlayStation 4, virtually unchanged from last year which was 26 percent. Xbox One game development also remained even year-to-year with 23 percent of developers working on Xbox One, compared to 22 percent last year. 

Interest in Nintendo platforms continue significantly lag behind Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with only 5 percent of respondents saying that they are working on Wii U projects, down from 6 percent last year. Just 2 percent of developers said they are working on titles for 3DS, compared to 3 percent in the previous year.

The genre of eSports is seeing momentum with the game development community as almost 90 percent of developers believe that eSports is a sustainable, long-term business. This is an 8 percent increase from the 79 percent response for 2105.

Android and iOS game development is split evenly with 55 percent of respondents making Android games and 56 percent saying they are making games for iOS. Self-publishing is the top means of distributing titles, with 57 percent working without a publisher, versus 24 percent who are doing so. Another 20 percent said they work directly for a publisher.

Further results of the survey will be explored at GDC 2016 which takes place March 14-18 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.

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About the author: RICHARD HARRIS, Executive Editor

As the Publisher and Editor for App Developer Magazine, Richard has several industry recognitions and endorsements from tech companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Google for accomplishments in the mobile market. He was part of the early Google AFMA program, and also involved in the foundation of Google TV. He has been developing for mobile since 2003 and serves as CEO of Moonbeam Development, a mobile app company with 200 published titles in various markets throughout the world. Richard is also the founder of LunarAds, a mobile cross-promotion and self-serv mediation network for developers. He has been a featured presenter at trade-shows and conferences, and stays active with new projects relating to mobile development.

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