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What game developers think about mid-cycle console upgrades, the Switch and VR

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The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is the world’s largest professional game industry event, where thousands of industry professionals participating in press conferences, show off their latest creations, talk about games and much, much more. The GDC 2017 will kick off on 27 February and end on 3 March.

According to a Press Release, the GDC has released results ahead of this year’s event from a survey in which more than 4,500 game developers who attended the GDC in the past three years, participated in. The professional game developers’ thoughts about the industry is extremely valuable, because they are the ones that create the games we play and will play in the future.

The survey revealed some interesting information, including developer thoughts on hot topics such as the Nintendo Switch, mid-cycle console refreshes (PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio) and Virtual Reality (VR).

Optimism for the Nintendo Switch

“In the wake of Nintendo’s recent product announcement of its upcoming hybrid portable/home console the Switch, the responding developers indicated a cautious optimism for the platform’s viability in the marketplace. 50 percent of respondents believe that the Switch will outsell Nintendo’s most recent home console, Wii U, which has a worldwide install base of roughly 13 million. 14 percent thought that the platform would sell less, with the remaining 37 percent unsure.

As far as the product’s core selling point, its ability to switch between portable and docked console modes, survey respondents are a little more mixed with their predictions on whether or not the feature will resonate with the public. Only 19 percent offered an unequivocal yes (‘the right product for the right time’), while 48 percent believe that it might resonate but doesn’t seem to be ‘world-changing’. 11 percent figured people wouldn’t be interested in the core premise of the Switch, and 23 percent said they were unsure of how it would be received upon launch.”

Mixed feelings about mid-cycle console upgrades

“With both Sony and Microsoft releasing more powerful mid-cycle console refreshes like PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox’s ‘Project Scorpio’, developers revealed mixed feelings about whether or not these hardware updates are good for the industry. 41 percent of survey respondents were undecided, 36 percent said they were neutral on the subject, and 18 percent said they thought it was a good thing for the industry. Just 5 percent said it was a negative development.”

About VR and AR devices

“With mainstream console and PC Virtual Reality (VR) platforms entering their first holiday season at the time of the survey, developers had numerous insights to share about their support for the various headsets on the market. 61 percent of surveyed developers are not currently developing VR titles, but among those who are, 24 percent are currently making games on HTC and Valve’s Vive headset, 23 percent are supporting Oculus Rift, and 13 percent are supporting Sony’s PlayStation VR.

Support for each platform has grown significantly from last year’s survey, when Oculus Rift received 19 percent support and HTC Vive and PlayStation VR garnered 6 percent each. Projecting into the future, when asked which VR/AR platform they expected the game after the project they’re working on now would be released on, 40 percent of respondents said they were planning to support HTC Vive for their next title.

By comparison, 37 percent said their next game would release on Oculus Rift, and 26 percent said PlayStation VR. When surveyed about general interest level in each of the major VR/AR headsets, survey respondents once again gave HTC Vive the lead. When asked to mark down the VR/AR platforms of most interest to them as developers, 45 percent indicated HTC Vive, 30 percent indicated Oculus Rift, and 29 percent marked PlayStation VR. Microsoft’s upcoming HoloLens Augmented Reality (AR) platform came in fourth with 24 percent of respondents.”

Definitely some interesting statistics here, especially with regards to the switch which has seen mixed feedback since Nintendo’s presentation last week. Time will tell if the mid-cycle console refreshes are actually a good or a bad thing, with many of the developers left undecided. Further, it seems that more developers are interested in the HTC Vive than any other VR or Augmented Reality (AR) device, with Microsoft’sHoloLens coming in last.

What are your thoughts about the Nintendo Switch, the mid-gen console refreshes and Virtual Reality? Let us know in the comment section below.

Source: Press Release

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