About 50 percent of game developers believe that the Nintendo Switch will outsell Nintendo’s previous game console, the Wii U, according to the fifth annual State of the Industry survey by the Game Developers Conference.
That’s a bit of a low bar, considering the Wii U only sold about 13 million units, said Simon Carless, the executive vice president at event company UBM and the producer of the GDC, which will be held in San Francisco from February 27 to March 3.
Still, the results show that game developers are positive about the prospects for the Switch. About 14 percent felt the platform would sell less than the Wii U, and 37 percent were unsure.
Nintendo says the main selling point of the Switch is the ability to switch back and forth between a portable mode and a docked home console. About 48 percent of developers said that they thought that might resonate with the public, but it didn’t seem to be world-changing. Only 19 percent said they felt the Switch is the right product for the right time. Additionally, 11 percent said people would not be interested in the Switch, and 23 percent said they didn’t know.
“The sentiment is not like, ‘Oh my god! The Switch is genius,'” Carless said.
Meanwhile, developers are not that excited about mid-cycle console refreshes, such as the Sony PlayStation Pro and Microsoft’s upcoming Project Scorpio. Only 18 percent viewed the refreshes as good for the industry. About 5 percent viewed it negatively, 36 percent were neutral, and 41 percent didn’t care or were unsure, the survey found.
“It seems like these mid-cycle refreshes are getting a lukewarm response,” Carless said.
Right now, only 3 percent of developers are making games for the Switch. Meanwhile, 27 percent are making games for the Sony PlayStation 4, 22 percent are making games for Xbox One/Scorpio, 38 percent are making games for smartphones and tablets, and 53 percent are making games for PCs/Macs.
As for virtual reality, 61 percent of developers aren’t making games for VR platforms. Of those developing for VR, 24 percent are making games for the HTC Vive, and 23 percent are making games for the Oculus Rift. That’s a significant turnaround as Oculus had 19 percent a year ago and the Vive only had 6 percent.
Meanwhile, 13 percent are developing games for the PlayStation VR. And 13 percent are also making games for the Samsung Gear VR, 6 percent are making games for Microsoft HoloLens, and 0.58 percent are making games for CastAR.
Projecting into the future, when asked which VR/AR platform they expected the game after the project they’re working on now would be released on, 40 percent of respondents said they were planning to support HTC Vive for their next title. By comparison, 37 percent said their next game would release on Oculus Rift, and 26 percent said PlayStation VR.
When surveyed about general interest level in each of the major VR/AR headsets, survey respondents once again gave HTC Vive the lead. When asked to mark down the VR/AR platforms of most interest to them as developers, 45 percent indicated HTC Vive, 30 percent indicated Oculus Rift, and 29 percent marked PlayStation VR. Microsoft’s upcoming HoloLens augmented reality platform came in fourth with 24 percent of respondents.
Only about one in 10 gamemakers is working on a platform-exclusive VR/AR game, mainly for the Vive.
Half of respondents said they weren’t involved in VR/AR game development while 39 percent said that their next project would not be exclusive to a single VR/AR platform. Roughly 11 percent of survey respondents said that their next game would be exclusive to one VR/AR platform or device.
Of those developers working on an platform-exclusive VR/AR title, 33 percent said their next project would be a platform-exclusive VR/AR game for HTC Vive, making it the most popular VR system for exclusives. By comparison, 24 percent were working on a platform-exclusive VR/AR title for Oculus Rift, and 15 percent for PlayStation VR.
As for mobile, Android finally surpassed iOS in terms of developer interest. About 54 percent are making games for Android while 51 percent are making games for iOS. Around 6 percent are making games for Windows Phone.
The GDC said 4,500 people participated in the survey. About 27,000 people are expected to attend the GDC. The event has more than 300 exhibits, 600 speakers, and 500 sessions.