Study: 4.6 percent of developers making Wii U games

Game Developers Conference "State of the Industry" research shows North American indie game scene rising, Nintendo development hurting.


Game Developers Conference organizers today released the results of their first annual "State of the Industry" study, revealing a burgeoning independent scene and a hurting Nintendo.

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The group polled more than 2,500 North American game developers who attended GDC 2012 or plan to attend GDC 2013. It found that just 4.6 percent of developers are currently making a Wii U game, while 6.4 percent of respondents said their next game would be for Nintendo's latest.

Microsoft topped the interest list of the Big Three, with 13.2 percent of surveyed developers currently making games for the Xbox 360 and nearly 14 percent planning their next title for the platform. Sony came up just behind, with 13 percent releasing their current game for the system and 12.4 percent planning to ship their next title on the platform.

An identical 11 percent of developers surveyed said they are making their next game for the PlayStation 4 and the still unannounced but highly rumored Xbox 720.

The independent development is on the up and up, according to the GDC study. It found that 53 percent of respondents identified themselves as "indie developers." And of those, 51 percent have been independent for under two years, the study said.

Other notable indie statistics include 46 percent of respondents saying they work within companies of 10 people or fewer. Further highlighting the growing indie scene, the majority of developers said they were not working with a publisher--and don't plan to. The study found that just 24 percent worked with a publisher on their last game, while 20 percent are doing so at present.

The GDC poll also highlighted the trend of developers creating games outside of the console space. Thirty-eight percent of surveyed developers released their last game for smartphones and tablets, while a larger 55 percent are currently developing for those platforms; 58 percent said they plan to ship their next game for smartphones and tablets.

PC and Mac are the next most sought after platforms, according to the study--34.6 percent of respondents said they released their last title for these platforms, while 49 percent are planning to release their next title on the PC and Mac.

Developers showed little interest in the dedicated gaming market, according to the study. It found that 2 percent of developers made their last title for the PlayStation Vita, 4.2 percent are making their current game for the system, and 5 percent said they plan to release their next game on the platform. As for Nintendo's 3DS, it did not fare any better. Two percent are currently making a 3DS game, and 2.8 percent of polled developers plan to release their next game on the platform.

Concerning funding, the GDC poll of North American developers found that 37 percent are financing their current projects through existing company cash flow and 35 percent through personal funds. Nine percent of respondents said their projects were primarily funded by venture capital, while 10 percent are publisher-funded, and 4 percent are primarily crowd-funded.

Of the surveyed developers, 8 percent said they had worked on a crowd-funded project in the past, and a substantial 44 percent said they plan to do so in the future.

The 2013 Game Developers Conference takes place in San Francisco, California, March 25-29. GameSpot will be in attendance.

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