Game Developer Research published its
latest report, the 2009/2010 State of Game Development Survey,
revealing among other things a surge of iPhone developers and a lull in
those making games for the Wii.
The results of the comprehensive 55 question survey help to
illustrate which platforms Western game creators develop for, which
market sectors they work in, which tools they use and how much they
spend on these tools, and sheds light on which factors determine the
target platforms for game development.
As a reflection of recent economic difficulties and resulting
layoffs, this year's survey reveals that many experienced developers
have founded smaller studios, or have begun developing games on their
own. This trend is marked by a seven percent growth in the proportion
of developers employed by companies of 50 employees or fewer, while in
sharp contrast, the proportion of developers at companies of 500 or
more employees has fallen by two percent since last year's survey.
As shown from the results of the survey, another increasingly
prevalent trend has been the growth of the mobile space. Due in large
part to the success of Apple's iPhone software platform, mobile support
shot up to 25 percent of developers, nearly doubling last year's 12
percent. Of these mobile developers, nearly three quarters of that
group are targeting iPhone and iPod touch development, a number more
than twice the reported support for traditional handhelds like Nintendo
DS and Sony PSP.
Meanwhile, the choices of development platform showed relative
stability. Just over 70 percent of developers said they were developing
at least one game for PC or Mac (including browser and social games),
rising slightly from last year, with 41 percent working in consoles.
Within that latter group, Xbox 360 was the most popular system with 69
percent of console developers targeting it, followed by 61 percent for
While those figures stayed within a few percent of last year's
results, the change in Wii adoption was much more significant: reported
developer support for the system dropped from 42 percent to 30 percent
of console developers, suggesting a recent softening of the Wii market.
When it comes to choosing the target platforms, more developers
cited ease of development and market penetration as incentives, more
than any other factors. Other important considerations included team
members' existing skill sets, portability of code to a given platform,
and the acquisition costs of development kits and materials.
"Like any other medium of entertainment, video game development is
subject to change with the ebb and flow of the economy and any hot new
trends, and this year's survey continues to reflect this evolution,"
says Simon Carless, Global Brand
Director, Think Services Game Group. "The full, detailed survey
document, with its plethora of raw data and wealth of insight, is an
important resource for any industry-watchers looking to navigate the
changing seas of the games industry."
The full State of Game Development 2009-2010 Survey includes dozens
more data points about the preferred software, hardware, and tools of
game developers across game engines, AI tools, production machines and
beyond -- as well as game genre and sector statistics, geographical
breakdowns, budgetary information for the past year, and upcoming
product purchase intent.
The survey was conducted with a sample size of 814 users of Game
Developer magazine, Gamasutra, and attendees of the Game Developers
Conference, and can be projected to the overall game development
community with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent at a 95
percent confidence level.
Those complete results are available as a 100-page report from Game Developer Research (www.gamedevresearch.com),
alongside numerous other reports delving into the key facts and trends
that define the modern game development industry. More information from
the survey is also available in the February 2010 issue of Game Developer magazine (www.gdmag.com).
The 100 page report is a result of a
survey of more than 800 video game professionals from North America
and beyond who read Gamasutra, subscribe to Game Developer magazine, or
attend Game Developers Conference. Those complete results are available
as a 100-page report from Game Developer Research (www.gamedevresearch.com), and more information from the survey is also available in the February 2010 issue of Game Developer magazine (www.gdmag.com).