With this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) now behind us, what were some of the key takeaways?
One of the most interesting occurred before the exhibit halls opened -- the first GDC State of the Industry survey that polled more than 2,500 attendees. The results revealed some intriguing trends in funding, platform preference and publishing models.
For starters, how are developers funding their projects? A few survey numbers:
• 72% are being funded by a company’s existing war chest or an individual’s personal funds
• 9% are from VCs
• 10% are publisher-funded
• 4% are crowdfunded – and 8% of the developers have worked on crowdfunded projects, with another 44% planning to go this route in the future
The survey also found that 53% of respondents consider themselves ‘indie developers’; 46% are employed at companies of 10 people or less – and only 24% reported they worked with a publisher on their last game.
According to survey results, more respondents are developing for smartphones and tablets than for any other platform – 38% released their last game for smartphones and tablets; 55% are making their current games there; 58% will release their next games on these platforms.
Survey results aside, there were some cool products to play with and even some significant Windows 8 stats rolled out by Microsoft as part of its full-court press to draw more games and developers to the platform.
Hands down, the most popular was Irvine, CA-based Oculus VR’s Rift, a virtual reality headset with stereoscopic 3-D, a 110-degree field of view and low-latency head tracking. Woe to anyone who strayed along the footpath leading up to their booth once the morning doors swung wide – they would have been trampled by the hordes who ran pell mell to line up and play ‘Hawken’, a first-person shooter game that situates players inside a levitating war machine.
Beyond, the hype, equally impressive was that the company raised $2.4 million from crowdfunding.
As reported by John Gaudiosi, editor of Gamerhub.tv, a video syndication network, Zombie Studios demonstrated Daylight, slated for release sometime this fall. It’s the first horror game for Sony’s new PlayStation 4. A team of six people, noted Gaudiosi, created the game and are self-publishing on PlayStation 4.
Daylight, said Gaudiosi, “traps players inside a haunted insane asylum. Armed only with the light and apps from your in-game smartphone, you must try to get out alive. There are no weapons other than your feet – which are best used to run.”
Gaudiosi added that the developer has written “a lot of back story about centuries of souls who were mistreated within the asylum’s walls.”
Lastly, Develop said that Microsoft is attracting a slew of developers to Windows 8, some of which include Disney, GameHouse and Glu. The publication added that “as for revenue share on the Windows Store and what benefits successful developers can receive on the platform, should an app pass $25,000 in sales, developers will start receiving an 80% share of all subsequent sales, instead of the usual 70/30 split.”
Look forward to seeing what will unfold during GDC 2014!