Study finds mobile gaming on the rise among developers, interest in consoles waning

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Mobile platforms running iOS and Android are increasingly popular among North American game developers, according to a new study, while traditional consoles and their portable counterparts are seeing less interest.

Games
Mobile OS games, such as the one on the left, are drawing interest from developers, even as traditional consoles, seen on the right, struggle.


For its GDC 2013 State of the Industry survey, the Game Developers Conference, polled more than 2,500 North American Developers who attended GDC 2012 or plan to attend GDC 2013. Respondents' answers painted a picture of game industry in flux.

Smartphones and tablets were the most popular development platform among respondents, with 55 percent of them saying they were developing their current games for such devices. Fifty-eight percent of developers said they plan to release their next games on mobile devices.

PCs and Macs were the next strongest platforms, with 34.6 percent of developers having just released a game for PC/Mac, 48 percent developing current games for the platform, and 49 percent planning their next games for the platform.

Traditional consoles fared relatively poorly in the survey, with Nintendo faring the worst. Among respondents, 13.2 percent were currently developing for Microsoft's Xbox 360, while 14 percent were targeting the platform for their next game. For Sony's PlayStation 3, 13 percent were releasing their current game on it, with 12.4 percent targeting it for their next game. Eleven percent of respondents said they were targeting both Xbox and PlayStation. Nintendo's Wii U had only 4.6 percent of developers currently working on a game, with 6.4 percent saying their next game would come to Nintendo's new console.

The portable handheld development picture was even less encouraging, according to GDC. Two percent of respondents had made their last game for Sony's struggling PS Vita portable, while 4.2 percent were currently working on a game for it, and just over five percent planned their next game for the platform. Nintendo's 3DS had only two percent of respondents working on games for it, with 2.8 percent planning to release their next games on the portable console.

Developers indicated strong interest in tablets and smartphones, as well as PC-based TV consoles. Next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft also drew interest, but developers have yet to warm to Nintendo's Wii U.

While they may be indicative of the state of the wider game development industry, it is difficult to extrapolate GDC's numbers to a broader statement on the game industry on the whole. Fifty-three percent of respondents identified themselves as "indie developers," with 46 percent of respondents working in companies of 10 people or fewer.

Those numbers may skew the results in favor or mobile devices, which typically require much less in the way of resources and funding to develop. Typical titles on consoles require much more in the way of funding and labor than do the casual gamer-oriented titles seen on smartphones and tablets. The small company/small screen skew was apparent also in the studies findings on funding, with 35 percent of respondents indicating they were financing their games from personal funds, while only 10 percent were primarily publisher-funded.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,743member


    Mobile games are just getting better and better!


     


    I download Real Racing 3 last night, it just came out for the US. It's the best one so far, and it's also freemium. 16 GB iPad owners beware, it's a huge game. On one of my iPads, it's taking up 1.8 GB of space. I only have one other app installed that's bigger than it.

  • Reply 2 of 29
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    Mobile gaming will never replace consoles for me.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,193member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by msantti View Post



    Mobile gaming will never replace consoles for me.


     


    Maybe not, but it is and it will for many others.


     


    Add bluetooth controler support for the iPad, and with the next generation of mobile chips, consoles are finished. The addressable market of iOS devices is far superior to that of consoles, and is more attractive. 

  • Reply 4 of 29
    I can't even remember the last time I turned on my PlayStation 3.
  • Reply 5 of 29
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by msantti View Post



    Mobile gaming will never replace consoles for me.


    they will easily replace that $60 per game price tag for me


     


    and don't talk about the game quality, most of the budget of a game is on marketing

  • Reply 6 of 29
    State of the industry, according to the developers who attend GDC, anyway. I bet if you asked these exact same question to E3 attendees, you'd get completely different results.
  • Reply 7 of 29

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Brian92610 View Post



    State of the industry, according to the developers who attend GDC, anyway. I bet if you asked these exact same question to E3 attendees, you'd get completely different results.


    You do realize that GDC is a developers conference? 15000 people who are involved with the creation of games attend. E3 has a different audience.

  • Reply 8 of 29

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bryanl View Post


    You do realize that GDC is a developers conference? 15000 people who are involved with the creation of games attend. E3 has a different audience.



    Yes, I do realize that. I'm just saying that this isn't necessarily indicative of the entire industry. Are more and more game developers in the entire industry "indie" or are more and more developers that attend GDC "indie"? That was my point. 

  • Reply 9 of 29
    What amazes me about this is that companies like Nintendo still refuse to port games to mobile devices on principle. If they would do it with the older 2d titles they might find that they could generate new audiences for their stuff. Even for their console only titles
  • Reply 10 of 29
    Fascinating article.
  • Reply 11 of 29
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,985member
    bryanl wrote: »
    You do realize that GDC is a developers conference? 15000 people who are involved with the creation of games attend. E3 has a different audience.

    Just about anyone can get the iOS SDK and become a 'game developer'. Do you know that there are already more games on iOS then games on ALL (and I do mean all, starting with Atari) consoles combined? Any games made now will just be another needle in the haystack.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    ifailifail Posts: 463member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post



    What amazes me about this is that companies like Nintendo still refuse to port games to mobile devices on principle. If they would do it with the older 2d titles they might find that they could generate new audiences for their stuff. Even for their console only titles


     


    Why do they need to port titles to a terrible gaming platform when game releases still generates hundreds of millions in revenue??? Just one 3DS title like Pokemon brings in more revenue than EA does ALL YEAR from its entire mobile division (they also own Angry Birds in case you dont remember). No single developer on iOS makes more money on mobile gaming than Nintendo does. 


     


    With that said the Nintendo experience is just like the Apple experience, its software is married to the hardware and its not going to change...ever. 


     


    As for this story i find it to be humorous, you mean to tell me a bunch of indie devs are publishing on the cheapest platforms they can?!!! I wonder if people developing a AAA console game can just drop what their doing and go to GDC when they have deadlines and an actual game to make?

  • Reply 13 of 29
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    PCs and Macs were the next strongest platforms, with 34.6 percent of developers having just released a game for PC/Mac,


     


    I thought that PC gaming was dead? image

  • Reply 14 of 29

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Psych_guy View Post



    I can't even remember the last time I turned on my PlayStation 3.


    I can't even remember the last time I played "games" on my phone.

  • Reply 15 of 29
    nikon133nikon133 Posts: 2,600member
    slurpy wrote: »
    Maybe not, but it is and it will for many others.

    Add bluetooth controler support for the iPad, and with the next generation of mobile chips, consoles are finished. The addressable market of iOS devices is far superior to that of consoles, and is more attractive. 

    I don't think so. People who do play only mobile games are/were not target audience for console/PC games in a first place.

    IMHO, mobile games are providing some gaming experience for people not interested in complex games. THey are not replacing gaming for people who do like complex console/PC games. I know number of individuals playing only mobile games on occasion, but none of them was PC/console gamer. Likewise, I don't know a person who moved from PC/console to mobile. I know people who lost interest in gaming and gave up on games, but that is natural process - nothing to do with mobiles; it was happening since '80, when I got into games - well before smartphones and tablets emerged.

    What do you mean by " The addressable market of iOS devices is far superior to that of consoles, and is more attractive"? That developers would rather develop quick and cheap $5 games for mobiles than complex multi-million-budget $60 games for PC and consoles? Only those who are not good enough to strive in that market. How many premium developers do you know that have dropped PC/console and refocused on mobiles, anyway?
  • Reply 16 of 29

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ricardo Dawkins View Post


    I can't even remember the last time I played "games" on my phone.



    Exactly.  I bet it has been at least six months for me.  

  • Reply 17 of 29
    nikon133nikon133 Posts: 2,600member
    richl wrote: »
    I thought that PC gaming was dead? <img alt="1tongue.gif" id="user_yui_3_7_3_1_1362095522306_1280" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies/1tongue.gif" style="line-height:1.231;" name="user_yui_3_7_3_1_1362095522306_1280">

    It is quite strong opinion among gaming "society" that PC gaming is going through nice renaissance. I'm not completely sold (though I hope they are right) - I think this effect is more due to current console gen getting really old and console gamers holding back for next gen, while PCs improve every year, and performance gap is moving some people back from consoles to PC. But release of next-gen consoles will spike interest in consoles again... for a few years... and as next gen starts showing age, tide will move again toward PCs.

    Not related to your post but related to topic - I had a giggle about how author of this article smartly merged PC and Mac for a solid total standing. Reminds me of old Serbian saying a friend from Serbia told me once: "Us and Russians, 300 millions!" Serbia itself, btw, has less than 10 millions, much as I know. ;)
  • Reply 18 of 29
    nikon133nikon133 Posts: 2,600member
    al_bundy wrote: »
    they will easily replace that $60 per game price tag for me

    and don't talk about the game quality, most of the budget of a game is on marketing

    Because games like Halo and Gran Turismo are so much nicer when you can get them for $0.99, right? /s

    And do talk about game quality. Have you really played any big PC or console games in the last 5 years or so? Your statement tells me you didn't, not really.
  • Reply 19 of 29
    jkgmjkgm Posts: 22member
    Where's the source for this "study?" I don't see it attributed anywhere, but I though AI was better than that. Am I missing something?
  • Reply 20 of 29
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post


     


    Maybe not, but it is and it will for many others.


     


    Add bluetooth controler support for the iPad, and with the next generation of mobile chips, consoles are finished. The addressable market of iOS devices is far superior to that of consoles, and is more attractive. 



    No, playing in your living room on a console or pc will never die, just like watching a movie on a great HDTV is not going to be replaced by watching a movie on an iPad.

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