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More developers are making games for next-gen consoles than streaming services

More developers are making games for next-gen consoles than streaming services


PC still tops the stack with most new projects

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PlayStation controllers
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Sony and Microsoft’s next-gen consoles are both expected to launch later this year, and developers are gearing up with new games. According to GDC’s new annual survey, developers are more likely to be working on a game for the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, previously known as Project Scarlett, than game streaming services like Google Stadia and Project xCloud.

In the entertainment industry, streaming is bigger than it’s ever been; the streaming wars have divided consumer attention between platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. Each platform has its own offerings of unique or exclusive content to lure in dedicated subscribers. In the game industry, however, such a service has yet to land. When asked about which platform current projects were being developed on, 11 percent of respondents said they were developing their game for PS5. Answers for Xbox Series X were at 9 percent.

While Google Stadia is the most promising swing yet at a cloud-based contender, developer interest still can’t compare. Only 6 percent of survey respondents are working on projects for Stadia; that number is even lower for Project xCloud at 3 percent.

As for this year’s expected next-gen consoles, full details have yet to be announced. Sony hasn’t revealed much about its upcoming console, aside from the name, logo, and holiday 2020 release date. The company has teased a few details about its specs, such as 8K graphics, ray tracing, and backwards compatibility. Microsoft, meanwhile, showed off its design for the upcoming console last year. Xbox chief Phil Spencer has promised it will “deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X”; include custom-designed CPU based on AMD’s Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA architecture; and support 8K gaming, ray tracing, frame rates of up to 120 fps in games, and variable refresh rate support. More news on both consoles are expected in the coming months. Notably, Sony will once again be skipping E3 this year.

The majority of upcoming games, however, are still being developed for PC (56 percent of respondents) and / or mobile (39 percent).

Other findings from the survey touch on unionization and VR:

  • Support for unionization is rising from previous years, with 54 percent of respondents responding yes to the question of whether devs should unionize. Last year, affirmative responses were 47 percent.
  • Asked whether developers would unionize, however, 23 percent replied yes. The largest responses came from the “maybe” pile at 43 percent; 22 percent said no, while 12 percent said they just didn’t know.
  • Oculus Quest is the most popular platform AR / VR developers are interested in. Of respondents, 24 percent said Quest, while the Rift came in with 20 percent, and 17 percent said HTC Vive.