Each year, ahead of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, the organisation releases its State of the Game Industry Report. It surveys around 2700 developers that have been to the event or signed up to share their views, and through the results gives some interesting insights into current trends and major topics.
An interesting statistic from a Nintendo point of view always relates to active development projects and future plans. In past generations of this report the Wii U and 3DS would often record single digit percentages of developers working on or interesting in making a game for the company's hardware. The situation is far healthier for Switch.
In the category 'which platforms are you developing your current project for?', below is a sample of the results.
- PC - 63%
- PlayStation 5 - 31%
- Android - 30%
- iOS - 30%
- Xbox Series X|S - 29%
- Xbox One (or One X) - 22%
- PlayStation 4 (or Pro) - 21%
- Nintendo Switch - 20%
While a reaction may be to worry at Switch being down in 8th, it's in the same ballpark as last-gen consoles (which is unsurprising in terms of its capabilities), and at this stage in its lifecycle is unlikely to match PS5 / Xbox Series X|S. Switch is also up in 6th place for a category focused on platforms for future projects, with 19% naming the system. When asked more vaguely 'which platforms interest you as a developer right now' the result is even better, with Switch in 3rd (behind PC and PS5) on 39%.
The dominant platform remains PC, of course, while mobile is still a major focus due to the size of its market. As the Switch advances towards its 5th Anniversary, though, it remains relatively high in terms of active development, planned development and the interest it generates among developers. It's a far cry from much lower interest in the last generation.
If you wish to review the report yourself you can access it for free on this page, with the only requirement being sharing some basic personal details. As you'd expect from a State of the Game Industry Report it tackles a broad range of topics, including accessibility, diversity, social activism, cryptocurrencies and NFTs. It gives a good feel for opinions among those working in the industry, including areas where viewpoints and approaches may be shifting.