GDC 2017 just came to an end. The event featured 500 sessions, talks, and tutorials, gathering more than 26,000 professionals from the industry, compared to around 27,000 totaled last year. Over 570 companies worldwide attended the event.
Even though the number of professional attendees reduced, I have to say that GDC 2017 is a great event, better than the one in 2016. Here I am mainly referring to the quality of the sessions I attended. I might share what I learn from those sessions later.
According to the GDC report, PC and mobile are still the top two platforms for the developers to release their games on. 53% of the GDC survey respondents choose PC/Mac as the platform for their game being developed, and 38% choose smartphones and tablets (1).
Source: GDC 2017 State of the Industry Report
Looking back to GDC 2016, some people consider it as a “VDC” since the concept of VR just swept the industry by that time. Players and developers set high expectations on VR with several pioneer products released, including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, etc. Now, after one year, the storm of VR cooled down and stayed silent in the market.
For this year, it is true that there are still a lot of content related to VR in this GDC, and that VR games attract large audience globally. According to the GDC survey report, 13% of the respondents said their last game was released on VR headsets, compared to only 6% last year. On the other hand,, it is difficult for VR to become the mainstream due to the limitation of hardware and the compatibility of different platforms. Take PlayStation VR as an example, the number units sold is 915,000 globally by February 2017 (2). Despite the fact that PlayStation VR breaks the sales record of high-end VR sets, the number of units is far too low for a new platform to thrive and become sustainable.
Here is my point of view of VR. I believe VR has a future, but just not ready for game yet (3). Now, it’s still a good solution for other areas such as medical training, but for game, VR manufacturers have to work with game developers in order to make VR more widely accepted by more players who are sticking with existing platforms including PC, mobile, and console. There is an ecosystem needed to be built for VR and game developers to have content and platform grow organically. My belief is that it will still take at least 3 years to get there. I also chatted with some industry professionals, and they believed it would take 3 to 5 years which agreed on my opinion.
So at this moment, we are still looking at PC and mobile markets which not only have larger global audience but also would be the foundation of VR in the future. As China became the biggest game market in the world, studying PC and mobile game players in China is also very important for the developers. As I mentioned in a previous articles, pay-to-win is very common in China (4), which makes 37.37% of the Chinese players whales (5). On the other hand, different from US market, distribution channel manipulates the China game industry (6). Whether a game can be successful in China is highly dependent on the distribution channel it works with. So for the industry players who just came back from GDC and are considering China market, networking is the key for them to expand their territory in the industry.
Undoubtedly, GDC is one of the best opportunities for game developers to connect each other with new ideas, and business opportunity will spawn itself. It had been announced that next GDC to be held from Mar 19 to Mar 23 in 2018 in San Francisco, but there is no reason for us to wait for an entire year to network and get ourselves update of the industry. In order for you to approach to the potential partner right after learning some industry trend in GDC, I recommend you to attend the upcoming GMGC held at China National Convention Center in Beijing from March 16th to 17th.
Other than the larger-than-ever B2B exhibition area, the Developer-Publisher matchmaking session in GMGC Beijing is tailored for publishers and developers worldwide to establish long term partnerships. Everyone in the industry who is looking for new business opportunity should check out the matchmaking session and other speeches, to learn more about the key trends and share insights, and eventually get connected with the partner who will help you succeed in China game market.
Seasun is a leading Chinese online games publisher focused on creating high quality games/game engines that push the boundaries of player experience in action entertainment. The company is also involved in small-medium sized investments for game studios worldwide. We have recently started up our U.S. studio in Redwood City, CA to create top quality content for the western market.
Seasun has shipped many successful titles, including the popular MMORPG series JX (http://jx3.xoyo.com/), the MMOARPG titles First Myth (http://fs.xoyo.com/index1) and CQ (http://cq.xoyo.com/), along with our FPS MAT (http://xd.xoyo.com/). The “JX” series has grossed more than $250 million and has achieved a daily active user count of 3.3 million. We are currently building a special team of highly talented people to create the technology for our next-generation MMOARPG at this studio.
Founded in 2015 and based in San Francisco’s East Bay, Magic Fuel Games is focusing on developing games that capture the imagination of players. With a core team of industry veterans, bringing decades of development and AAA experience from games that have captivated gamers around the world. The company’s Series A was funded by Seasun Inc in February 2016 and has been growing its team and developing its 1st product since then.
Kingsoft, Seasun’s parent company, is publicly traded in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (SEHK: 3888) with market value of 3.8 billion USD. Kingsoft has created 3 other subsidiaries alongside Seasun: Cheetah Mobile (NYSE: CMCM), WPS Office, and Kingsoft Cloud Service. Kingsoft has over 4,000 employees worldwide.