Developers Unsure if Nintendo Switch's Hybrid Nature Will Be Appealing - Survey

Half of those surveyed believe Switch will outsell Wii U.


A new video game industry survey shines a light on some of key trends in the market as it relates to platform popularity and more. The fifth annual State of the Industry Survey from the Game Developers Conference polled more than 4,500 developers about things like the Nintendo Switch, mid-console console updates like the PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio, and virtual reality.

Beginning with Switch, surveyed developers said they are cautiously optimistic about Nintendo's new hybrid console. Half of those surveyed said they believe the Switch will outsell the Wii U, which underperformed, selling 13.36 million systems as of Nintendo's latest count. 14 percent of respondents said they thought the Switch would sell worse than the Wii U, while 37 percent said they were unsure.

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Some analysts have doubted the Switch's appeal, saying its hybrid nature is not very innovative. Developers are also unsure if the hybrid nature of the console will be appealing. 19 percent said they thought this feature would be appealing, while 48 percent said it could make an impact but isn't a "world-changing" feature. 11 percent said people won't be interested in the dual nature of the system, while 23 percent said they don't know how the public will react to the Switch.

Nintendo will announce more details about the Switch during a briefing tonight.

Moving on to the PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio, 41 percent said the mid-cycle hardware updates are "good for the industry," while 36 percent said they were neutral. 18 percent of those surveyed said the PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio are good for gaming, while 5 percent said they think the systems will have a negative impact on the video game industry.

As for popularity of systems overall, PC remains the most popular by far. 45 percent of respondents said they released their last game on PC and 35 percent said smartphone/tablet. In terms of consoles, PS4 led the way, with 19 percent saying they shipped their last game on that console, compared to 15 percent for Xbox One.

Switching to VR/AR, here are some key takeaways from the survey:

  • 61 percent of surveyed developers are not currently developing VR titles
  • Among those who are, 24 percent are currently making games on HTC and Valve's Vive headset
  • 23 percent are supporting Oculus Rift
  • 13 percent are supporting Sony's PlayStation VR.

"Support for each platform has grown significantly from last year's survey, when Oculus Rift received 19 percent support and HTC Vive and PlayStation VR garnered 6 percent each," the report stated. "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."

In terms of overall interest in VR/AR devices, HTC Vive came out on top. 45 percent of respondents said they were most interested in HTC Vive, while 30 percent marked down Oculus Rift; 29 percent said they are most interested in PlayStation VR and Microsoft's HoloLens brought up the rear, with 24 percent of respondents saying that system is most interesting to them.

Go to GDC's website to download and read the full State of the Industry 2017 report.

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