Today the organizers of the 2018 Game Developers Conference have announced the results of a survey that included responses from nearly 4,000 professional game developers. What you’ll find most interesting are the results on interest in the Nintendo Switch and interest in loot boxes.
It seems like interest in developing games for the Switch is growing with 12% of respondents working on a game for the platform. 15% planning to make their next game available on Switch. As for which platform developers are interested in, 36% included the Switch, which places it behind PC (59%) and PS4/PS Pro (39%) but ahead of the Xbox One (28%). Yes, Nintendo’s little hybrid console that could is more favored by devs than Microsoft’s current Xbox family.
And if that wasn’t enough, 28% of the survey respondents stated that their games have sold better than average on Switch, while 23% said that their Switch sales have been average. Only 16% mentioned that their games have sold less on Switch than other consoles, while 33% remarked that the question did not apply to them as they do not have games on the Switch.
Then we get to game business models. Pay-to-download games are still the majority with 49%, while free-to-play has jumped up to 39%, 23% include paid DLC, and 22% include in-game items sold for real money. Only 11% of responders indicate that they will include “paid item crates” or loot boxes in their next game — which means devs are as sick of hearing about loot boxes as the rest of us. But GDC’s organizers weren’t just going to take all loot boxes as created equal, and so included other information. Some respondents expressed cautious opinions about the proper implementation of item crates, bringing up the fact that they should only award cosmetic items. Other remarks included the necessity to balance them for gameplay, and that rewards should also be accessible by playing normally.
In other news, mobile development has dropped from 35% to 32% this year, while VR/AR also saw a decrease with only 19% of developers indicating their current game will be released for VR and 17% saying their next game will be accessible on a VR platform. When asked whether VR/AR is a long-term, sustainable business 29% answered negatively compared to 25% in the past two years, which is something of a major disappointment to VR early adopters.
This year’s Game Developers Conference will take place from March 19th to March 23rd at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.