PC dominates, Switch rises, in-game loot boxes to continue – GDC 2018 survey

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The Nintendo Switch. Pixabay

This year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) has released its sixth State of the Industry Survey, revealing plenty of information about the status of the gaming market. Notable data include the constant dominance of the PC, the increasing interest in the Nintendo Switch among developers, and the prevailing presence of loot boxes.

The results were released before the official GDC 2018 kicks off on March 19 to 23 in San Francisco, California. Data shows the PC having a terrific year ahead as 60% of surveyed developers revealed that they are currently developing games for the said platform. This was a seven-percent increase compared to last year.

Mobile devices trail behind in second place, with 36% of developers saying they are currently making games for phones. The PS4/Pro and the Xbox One/X follow with 30% and 26%, respectively.

The past few months saw the rise of the Nintendo Switch, so there’s little surprise that interest is increasing among developers. Thirty-six percent surveyed said that they are indeed interested in the Switch. The Nintendo console trails behind the PC (59%) and the PS4/Pro (39%) but soars past mobile devices (30%) and the Xbox One/X (28%).

The report further says that developers are now more confident that the Switch will outsell the Wii U. Seventy-three percent surveyed agreed, compared to the 50% last year.

As for loot boxes, around 1 in 10 developers are still planning to work on a game that would involve “paid item crates.” This, despite the brouhaha caused by the recent controversy surrounding “Star Wars Battlefront II.”

The GDC report also includes a few comments from several respondents regarding in-game microtransactions. One wrote that such is acceptable if “vanity cosmetic items” are concerned. “When it vastly controls the outcome of the game when playing against other people it's a problem.”

Another wrote, “So long as A) the content is also accessible by playing the game; and B) this and all parts of the game are balanced for gameplay FIRST and monetization second; then I see no legitimate basis for complaints.”

The annual GDC report shares more information regarding certain aspects of the gaming industry. Other topics include staff numbers, use of social media, and the state of VR/AR entertainment. The free report can be downloaded from the official website of the Game Developers Conference.