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About 75 percent of game developers say that Steam and the PC platform is “very important” for the future of the game industry, according to a survey by the International Game Developers Association.
The survey of 2,200 developers show that many view the PC as the top platform for the next five years. And 25 percent of developers said that “proprietary platforms” such as virtual reality are also very important, said Kate Edwards, the executive director of the International Game Developers Association, in an interview with GamesBeat.
Those results suggest a good outlook for PC games, Steam Machines, and PC-related technologies such as virtual reality, Edwards said.
“It wasn’t surprising that consoles were falling on the list,” Edwards said. “Seeing iOS lower on the list was surprising to me while Android is rising.”
Those are some of the key findings of the 2014 survey on industry trends being released today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The IGDA is also just beginning to get respondents for its 2015 survey.
Here are some of the other key findings:
- Seventy-four percent of developers rank the “advancement of game design” as being a “very important” issue for the industry’s future growth. “More diversity in game content” was at second place with 65 percent, and “advancement of storytelling” was third with 60 percent.
The issue of diversity in game content has been a huge issue in the past year, thanks in part to the Gamergate controversy, Edwards said. She noted that the Gamergate issue — which brings to mind issues around game journalism ethics as well as harassment of female game developers — isn’t over yet, and it is causing a larger conversation at companies such as Intel about the role of women and minorities in game development.
- The need for “better monetization of games” ranked last with only 29 percent.
That last item tells you where game developers stand on prioritizing their craft issues, such as game design, over business issues such as monetization. That’s not a surprise, Edwards said, but it’s also an example of a disconnect between game developers and the executives or investors who fund them.
“That confirmed what a lot of us know anecdotally,” Edwards said.
- On matters relating to jobs, 53 percent of respondents reported a positive 1-year outlook for the game industry; 17.3 percent considered it “very positive” while 35.6 percent indicated “somewhat positive.” Only 4 percent indicated a “very negative” outlook for employment in the games business.
Edwards said that the outlook in North America isn’t as ebullient as it is in the rest of the world. That’s partly because other countries have been doing better in generating revenues from mobile games compared to U.S. developers, who are coming from behind to one of the fastest-growing sectors of gaming.
- The survey said 41 percent of respondents answered either “very negative” or “somewhat negative” when asked about job opportunities in the industry. 35 percent answered either “very positive” or “somewhat positive” and 24 percent remained neutral.
“The average number of jobs people had in five years was four, and only 70 percent of respondents had full-time permanent jobs,” Edwards said. “There is optimism about jobs, even though there isn’t real stability. The good thing is that a lot of the change is coming through choice, where people want to be independent rather than working for others.”
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