Wii development in decline - Survey

Game Developer Research finds fewer developers working on Nintendo's console, surging iPhone support more than doubles DS, PSP.


Although Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said the Wii has recovered from the 2009 doldrums thanks to a lineup of higher-quality games, the system's future is cloudy when it comes to the quantity of games.

GDR's survey found a significant slide in the number of developers making Wii games this year.
GDR's survey found a significant slide in the number of developers making Wii games this year.

Snippets released today from a Game Developer Research survey indicate that development for the Wii has declined in the last year. The firm polled more than 800 members of the development community about which platforms they were working on, among other topics.

Roughly 41 percent of the respondents said they made games for consoles, with 30 percent of them working on the Wii. That's down from the 42 percent of console developers who said they made Wii games last year.

One possible warning sign of that decline came last month, when Ubisoft said it was refocusing resources on making games for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Some 69 percent of console developers reported making games for the Xbox 360, with 61 percent working on the PlayStation 3. Both of those figures were in line with console developers' responses from the previous year's survey.

As for platforms with improved support, the survey found substantial growth in development for mobile phones and the iPhone, specifically. One-quarter of all respondents said they were making games on mobile platforms, up from 12 percent the previous year. The iPhone was the most popular of those devices, accounting for three-quarters of the mobile support and doubling up developer support for either the DS or the PSP.

However, easily the most popular platform for game development was the computer. More than 70 percent of developers said they were working on at least one game for the PC or Mac. As for why the game makers chose the systems they did, ease of development and market penetration were the most often cited factors in their decisions. Also relevant to the developers were their team members' skill sets, the cost of development kits, and how easily code for one platform could be moved to another.

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