GDC Survey: Virtual Reality Up, Nintendo Down

Published: January 30, 2016 11:18 AM /



Only 5% of developers are working on Wii U games and 2% are working on 3DS games according to a 2016 Game Developer's Conference survey.

The 2016 State of the Industry report is a survey of over 2,000 developers worldwide. The report is being conducted in advance of the upcoming Game Developers Conference in March 2016. Here are some interesting highlights from the survey:

  • 52% of developers are working on PC games. This is down from 56% from last year's survey, but PC remains the dominant platform for game developers.
  • Mobile gaming comes in second place at 44% of developers (down from 50% from last year's survey).
  • 27% of developers are working on Playstation 4 games (up from 26% last year) and 23% of developers are working on Xbox One games (up from 22% last year).
  • Wii U sits at 5% of developers (down from 6% last year) and 3DS at 2% of developers (down from 3% last year).
  • Less than 1% of respondents stated that they were working on a game for Nintendo's upcoming console codenamed NX, but 2% of developers surveyed stated that they expected their next game would release for the NX.

The decrease in Nintendo's share of developer attention might be worrying if it weren't for the fact that Nintendo can operate at a loss for a few decades at least. Nintendo's upcoming NX console may be a factor in developer's pulling away from the Wii U, although only 10% expressed an interest in Nintendo's upcoming mysterious console. When it comes to handheld gaming outside of mobile, the 12-page survey shows that, interestingly, there are more developers working on games for the Vita compared to the 3DS at 4% and 2% respectively.

75% of developers believe that Virtual & Augmented Reality is a "long-term sustainable business to be in". However, 27% of survey respondents do not expect VR/AR adoption rates to match the adoption rates of consoles. The concerns about adoption rate of these 27% of developers surveyed are understandable considering that the Oculus Rift has a $600 price tag. However, the Oculus isn't the only game in town, and competitors are coming to the market in the coming year such as the HTC Vive and Playstation VR with more to come in the future.

Although most developers have a belief that VR/AR is going to be a part of the gaming ecosystem there is a degree of disagreement on how quickly that will occur. Only 1% of developers believe that the VR adoption rate to hit 40% adoption rate by 2018 (the earliest available option in the survey). 44% of developers surveyed think it will happen by 2026, and 56% believe it will happen by 2030. A significant portion of developers believe that VR/AR will be big; it's just a matter of when.

Do you feel the low development numbers in the GDC survey spell doom for Nintendo's prospects as a console manufacturer or do you think that developers are spending their time focusing on Nintendo's upcoming console? Do you think that VR is going to stick around for the long term or is it just a fad? Let us know in the comments below!


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