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Game devs flock to VR as Steam Box interest wanes, says GDC Europe survey
Game devs flock to VR as Steam Box interest wanes, says GDC Europe survey
July 9, 2014 | By GDC Staff

In order to get a better understanding of the European sector of game development right before GDC Europe, the Game Developers Conference has surveyed over 400 European games industry professionals who have attended GDC shows, read, or plan to attend GDC Europe 2014 in August.

The resulting GDC Europe State of the Industry report offers some interesting insight into which European country is perceived to be premier development hub, as well as how European developers are adapting to emerging trends like crowdfunding and regional tax incentives for game development.

Now, a deeper dive into the data reveals several fascinating trends about the hardware that European developers are making games for, as well as their fervor for emerging platforms like VR, Steam Boxes and Android microconsoles.

VR is a major emerging market, as interest in Steam Boxes and Android consoles falls away

28 percent of respondents expressed interest in developing for VR as the technology gains credibility. 26 percent of respondents are interested in making games for the Steam Box market, down from 37 percent last year. Just 7 percent of respondents are interested in Android consoles like the Ouya and Gamestick, plummeting down from 32 percent last year.

European developer interest in new consoles ramps up, as mobile loses some luster

European developer interest in making tablet/smartphones games seems to have dropped a bit. Roughly 43 percent of respondents were interested in developing for either tablets or smartphones, down from 61 percent interested in tablets and 53 percent interested in smartphones last year.

Based on the survey, interest in the PlayStation 4 is up a bit to 43 percent from 39 percent, as interest in Xbox One rose to 27 percent of respondents from 20 percent last year. The PC continues to be an important platform for European developers, as 56 percent of respondents expressed interested in making PC/Mac games.

More European developers are working on VR games than Wii U games

Just over 6 percent of respondents are currently working on a Wii U game, while nearly 7 percent of respondents are developing a game for VR headsets.

PlayStation 4 remains the preferred platform as European developers ramp up work on new hardware

Slightly more respondents are working on PlayStation 4 titles compared to Xbox One titles (18 percent to 13 percent, respectively), but looking ahead, the gap is expected to widen -- 33 percent of respondents expect their next game to come to PlayStation 4, vs. 23 percent for Xbox One.

[Organized by UBM Tech Game Network, GDC Europe 2014 -- now in its sixth year in Cologne -- will run Monday through Wednesday, August 11-13 at the Congress-Centrum Ost in Cologne, Germany, co-located with Europe's biggest video game trade and public show gamescom.]

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Freek Hoekstra
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I find this conclusion:
"Game devs flock to VR as Steam Box interest wanes, says GDC Europe survey"
to be rather premature,

I can see the interest for the steambox is almost equal to the Xbox one platform, which to me is quite considerable. it is well above any handheld (aside from tablets and phones) and even ahead of browser based tech.

also unfortunate is that there is no stats on developers developing for Steambox/linux in the second and third charts. but to say they are abandoning the steambox platform seems like a leap to me especially considering how few people were interested in Linux platforms before the Steamplatform was announced

Benjy Davo
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Never really got who it was supposed to be for to be honest. It seems really odd that they would do this now when PC is at an all time premium as this survey kind of supports. Thanks to the drop off in the hardware arms race lots of people have a PC who can run just about anything at some level or another.

Mike Griffin
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Any PC is also a Steambox. Just sayin'.
Your current PC could be a Steambox, without even losing your existing Windows and files.
The 'Steambox' is SteamOS.
This is an OS with a Windows installer.
This is an OS that allows dual-booting and custom partitioning.
If you bought a snazzy compact HTPC now, it could still be a "Steambox" later.

Anyway, it's the hardware partners that jumped on board with Valve early, planning for Steambox units this year, that feel the burn of the extended SteamOS beta and delayed Steam Controller. But, lucky for them, this year more than ever we see compact living room PCs (with powerful/compact chipsets) are becoming en vogue again, and there's Steam and Big Picture Mode to help support that.

With the shift to 2015, it gives Valve time to fortify the SteamOS software line-up, because it's going to take some exclusives and some hot Linux 'ports' (along with a fantastic experience in the interface) to convince people to buy Steamboxes in the sense of buying into an all new hardware platform (which it isn't).

It's good to see some of the SteamOS (or, Steambox) features already introduced for Steam this year, like In-Home Streaming.

David Lejeune
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It seems odd to say that 'interest in Steambox is way down' while at the same time interest in PC is much higher than for any other platform. Are they including Linux in the PC/Mac column? Because if so, guess what? Steambox is included in that.

The Steam Machines as a platform that devs would specifically target wasn't exactly what Valve's plans for it were, as far as I could tell (which may also be part of why some of the hardware partners are backing away from it now).

Nuttachai Tipprasert
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Lets face it. Steam Box is DOA. They are hardwares that aiming for target audiences that never existed. Playing PC game on sofa with controller? AFAIK, not many games on PC are optimized for controller. And if you want to play your games on sofa in your living room just turn on big picture mode on Steam and stream the games over to your TV and.. Voila! You got a Steam Box!

Michael Thornberg
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That is not how I understood why Steam Box was created. I understood it as a lifeline to a future where Microsoft walled in publishing. In which Steam cannot live (and frankly any other store like environment, like Origin etc..) A device to ensure that you the customer have control. They (Valve, Intel, nVIdia, AMD etc.. as far as I understand it) go to great lengths to make sure PC games work on it. Which then essentially means, if it can run on PC, it can run on Steam Box. Or that is the goal at least. Developing *for* Steam Box is therefor kind of moot. What you develop for is in fact 'big picture mode', if you want the game to have a console feel. Otherwise, develop as usual and it will probably work anyway. ... but I could be mistaken.

comparin christophe
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Steam Boxes are available, they are called PC's. I am using one right now. Whatever marketing guy says.