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European devs heavily favoring mobile, PC over consoles, GDC survey says
European devs heavily favoring mobile, PC over consoles, GDC survey says
July 16, 2013 | By Staff

European game developers are jumping into the mobile and PC bandwagon more quickly than their North American counterparts, says an industry survey conducted by the Game Developers Conference.

In order to paint a picture of the European sector of game development right before GDC Europe, the Game Developers Conference has surveyed over 300 European games industry professionals who have attended GDC shows, read, or plan to attend GDC Europe 2013 in August. The survey was focused in part on determining which platforms game developers intended to target in their current and upcoming projects.

Organized by the UBM Tech Game Network, GDC Europe will take place August 19-21, 2013, at the Congress-Centrum Ost Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.

Mobile, PC development booming -- even compared to North American devs

European devs are embracing mobile and PC/Mac game development at rates outstripping even their North American counterparts: 40% recently released a game for PC/Mac and 39% for mobile; 49% were currently working on a PC game and 59% on mobile; 53% planned to work next on a PC game and 66% on mobile.

For comparison's sake, GDC's earlier survey of North American devs indicated that 34% of devs had recently shipped a game on PC and 38% on mobile; 48% were currently working on a PC title and 55% on mobile; and 49% planned to work next on a PC title and 58% on mobile. In short, while both dev groups are planning to ramp up their dev efforts on PC and mobile games, this trend is significantly more pronounced in Europe.

When asked which smartphone platforms their companies were targeting, 65% said they were targeting iOS, followed by 58% for Android, 16% for Windows Phone, and 7% for BlackBerry.

New Microsoft, Sony consoles receive lukewarm reception

Compared to mobile and PC, next-generation consoles don't figure nearly as highly into European devs' plans. 13% of survey respondents were working on PlayStation 4 games, compared to 9% working on Xbox One games and 5% on Wii U games; meanwhile, 23% of respondents were planning on working on a PS4 game next, compared to 14% for Xbox One and 7% for Wii U. (It's worth noting that the survey results closed before Microsoft changed its DRM policy.)

PlayStation Vita slowly gaining momentum among European devs

Sony's PlayStation Vita is actually gaining ground among European developers; only 2% recently released a game for the Vita, but 6% are currently working on a Vita title and 9% anticipate releasing an upcoming Vita game. By comparison, only 1.5% of European devs recently released a 3DS game, 1.5% are currently working on one, and 2% anticipate releasing a 3DS game next.

Android home consoles and Steam Boxes among most interesting emerging markets

Survey respondents considered mobile games and the PS4 to be the most interesting new games markets (61% for tablets, 53% for smartphones, and 39% for PS4), followed by 37% for Steam Boxes (dedicated set-top PCs meant to run PC games through Valve's Steam platform), 32% for Android home consoles, and 20% for the Xbox One.

(GDC organizers intend to field a similar survey next year in the spring before the show, and additional graphs related to these results are available on the GDC Europe website. For this year's survey, 31% of survey respondents were from Germany, 21% from the UK, 11% from the Netherlands, 6% from Finland, and 6% from France.)

Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech.

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Kyle Boyko
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I find these stats really insightful. PC's market share is relatively low when compared to consoles. Interesting to see devs studios having a larger focus on PC. Mobile is no surprise. One stat I read stated that the mobile market is going to be larger next year than the entire game industry in the 90's.

Good post.

Bob Johnson
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Numbers are misleading. Obviously if you just go on the number of developers regardless of size developing for a platform they will be greater on the platforms that cost the least to develop for and the least to distribute their games on and those platforms are the pc and mobile.

It is kind of like asking what are the best games on mobile and then using the ten high grossing games.

Dave Long
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These numbers, without further context, are pretty meaningless. What was the composition of the 300 or so sampled? Unless they were unbiased (highly unlikely at a trade show), any further inferences drawn from the statistics don't hold water (ie, don't mean anything). All it tells us is that the 300 people surveyed were more likely to develop for PC and mobile. Of course, if the EU development scene was made up of 300-600 people, then it'd be reasonable to start drawing conclusions, but it's just a wee bit larger than that ;). There was a similar survey after the US show, and the results were similarly meaningless beyond the sample population.