The lights are on
Over half – 58 percent – of developers responding to a
survey performed by the Game Developers Conference organizers said they're
planning on releasing their next titles on mobile devices, compared to the 38
percent of respondents whose last game was on a smartphone or tablet.
(pictured: Infinity Blade from Epic Games and Chair Entertainment, which has made big waves on iOS)
PC/Mac development was lumped together in the survey, and
had nearly half of the developers surveyed planning on hitting those platforms
as opposed to the 34.6 percent who put their previous title out on them.
For their next games, Xbox 360 (14%) beat out PlayStation 3
(12.4%) while next-gen Microsoft and Sony hardware trailed both (11%). The Wii
U came in with just 6 percent of developers planning to support the platform
with their next games.
The enthusiastic support of mobile devices shouldn't come as
a surprise – it's been the dominant storyline of the last few years in video
games. This survey favors the phone/tablet market even more, built as it is
around absolute numbers of games in development; budgets are much smaller and mobile
teams can range all the way down to one person working on a game when they're
not at their day job. The PC/Mac support comes as a slightly larger surprise,
though again the openness of the platforms allows for a much greater breadth of
projects to be undertaken.
Though mobile games are cheaper to make, the rewards can be
huge. Pete Dille, CMO of Tapjoy (a company that develops mobile games and runs
a service that rewards users for installing apps and engaging with advertising
with virtual currency and items), told Game Informer that the average Tapjoy
user spends $18 per month split between games and virtual goods. Whether a
developer seeks fame and fortune through a service like Tapjoy, a small but
loyal fanbase buying in-game purchases, or big sales numbers at a low price
point, it's an attractive gamble for many.
Now, if only more than a tiny fraction of this huge amount
of mobile development resulted in decent games...then we'd really be living in
the future. In the current climate where I still average out keeping one game
out of ten installed on my phone because the other nine aren't worth the
storage space, though, I can't help but think we have a long way to go.
[Source: USA Today]