This year Unity polled the leads of 1,445 independent game studios, including some that don't use the Unity game engine, to try and capture a snapshot of the state of indie game dev by exploring things like studio size, project type, favored marketing platforms, monetization plans, and more.
While the survey sample included teams of many sizes (from 2-50 people), respondents tended to be on the smaller side: 78 percent of the studios polled employ less than 10 developers, with 59 percent only employing 2-5 people, including freelancers and contractors.
Overall, 46 percent of teams rent or own an office space but 45 percent offer employees the option to work remotely. Unity notes that younger studios and those with smaller teams tend to favor remote work, with 84 percent of companies on board with remote work employing only two to five employees.
Meanwhile, only 25 percent of studios under 6 months old own or rent an office space. The majority, 64 percent, instead opt to work remotely while 61 percent of studios over 2 years old own or rent an office.
Looking at projects being developed, 72 percent of devs list PC as the target platform of their primary project, ahead of 57 percent for mobile, 29 percent for console, 24 percent for VR, and 16 percent for AR. Unity goes on to note that there was naturally some overlap between PC- and console-targeting devs; of those that chose PC for their platform of choice, nearly 38 percent said they were also going for a console release.
67 percent of surveyed teams plan to self-publish their primary project, with 81 percent of those self-publishing devs having 10 or fewer employees and 63 percent employing 5 or less. The majority of devs, 53 percent, plan to monetize their games through a ‘premium’ one-time-payment model, while 36 percent instead plan to adopt a freemium model.
The full report offers a deeper look into many of these topics, including breakdowns of the different disciplines that make up indie studios and how those teams approach budgeting and keeping the lights on.