The latest Game Developers Conference State of the Industry survey has been released, and it’s a particularly memorable one this time due to a series of recent developments such as the launch of new consoles, the pandemic, unions, and more.
More than 3,000 developers took part in the survey. Beginning with the pandemic, 44% of surveyed developers said their game had a delay due to the health crisis. This is up from 33% from the last survey, which was conducted in summer 2020. Games like Gotham Knights, Hogwarts Legacy, and The Lord of the Rings: Gollum are just a few examples of high-profile games delayed in 2021.
While studios might have delayed their games due in part to the pandemic, teams also grew their staff, with 47% of those in the survey reporting that their teams grew. Productivity among teams is also improving, with 66% of respondents saying their productibity stayed the same or increased. This compares to 41% of those surveyed in July 2020 saying their productivity went down. It makes sense that productivity from work-from-home environments would increase over time as people get more accustomed to it.
The survey also touched on the longstanding 70/30 revenue share on digital storefronts. Only 3% of respondents said this is justified, down from 6%. This question was asked to developers in the wake of calls to change the status quo, which is happening. Google Play recently announced it will reduce its cut from 30% to 15% for the first $1 million in revenue per year. Apple also announced its cut would be reduced to 15% for studios that generate less than $1 million per year. Epic Games, meanwhile, only takes a 12% cut overall. Steam takes 30% but gives discounts for games that make tens of millions of dollars in revenue.
Another topic in the survey was platforms. 44% of those surveyed said PS5 is the platform they are most interested in currently, with Nintendo Switch following at 38% and Xbox Series X|S at 30%. PC was the most attractive overall, with 58% of respondents saying it was a top platform in terms of support.
The GDC survey also touches on unionization in the games industry. 51% of respondents said they believe the industry should unionize, but in terms of whether or not it will actually happen, “maybe” led the way with 43% of the vote. 23% said “no,” 20% said “yes” and 14% said “don’t know.” Unions are almost non-existent in video games, which compares to the film and TV businesses which are heavily unionized.
Diversity and inclusion efforts also came up in the survey. Asked to specify to what extent their studio focused on staff inclusion and diversity initiatives in the past year, the biggest percentage–26%– said “none at all.” This was followed by “a moderate amount” (24%) and “a great deal” (21%).