GDC: Developers judge 30% store cuts unfair, PS5 most interesting console

GDC: Developers judge 30% store cuts unfair, PS5 most interesting console
Ryan is an editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter: @Gadget_Ry

The latest report from the Game Developer Conference (GDC) provides various insights into how developers view the current gaming landscape.

GDC surveyed over 3,000 gaming industry professionals for its 2021 State of the Game Industry report.

Just three percent of developers felt it was fair for digital stores like Steam and GOG to take 30 percent of their revenue. However, perplexingly, three percent believe the platforms should take a larger cut.

62 percent of developers feel that a cut under 15 percent cut is justifiable, with most (43%) conveying that a 10-15 percent cut is fair. Only 17 percent believe a cut in excess of 20 percent is justifiable.

In last year’s survey, six percent of developers felt that a 30 percent cut is fair. The halving to three percent this year shows that developers are becoming less tolerant of digital stores taking a large cut of their revenues.

Apple has taken some steps in the right direction in recent months. The new Small Business Program reduces Apple’s cut of App Store sales from 30 percent to a 15 percent cut (for all iOS developers earning under $1 million in sales per year) which GDC’s research has found that most developers consider fair.

“One has to wonder how much longer Valve and Steam can hold onto this [30 percent] premium rate,” the report’s authors wrote.

Of all the consoles, the most (44%) game developers are interested in the PS5. This is followed by the Switch (38%) and the Xbox Series X/S (30%).

Developers are building their current games for both the PS5 and Series X/S almost equally, at 27 percent and 24 percent respectively. There is a slightly bigger gap for developers’ next projects at 30 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

“Perhaps what’s most intriguing is how, despite PlayStation and Xbox platforms having near-parity when it comes to past, current, and next projects, significantly more developers are showing interest in PS5,” the authors wrote.

However, PC remains the leading platform for developer interest at 58 percent. VR headsets are in fourth place at 27 percent.

Game streaming platforms are near the bottom of the list for interest at this point. This is likely due to their immaturity and technologies such as 5G and WiFi 6 – which will boost the performance of these platforms – are only just beginning to rollout.

Xbox’s Project xCloud is leading the pack (8%) for game streaming platform interest, followed by Stadia (6%) and PlayStation Now (4%).

30 percent of game developers aren’t concerned that paid subscription services like Xbox Game Pass – which are often hailed as helping to fund more adventurous new games and help gamers discover titles they wouldn’t have otherwise – will devalue individual game prices. 21 percent say yes, while 26 percent say maybe.

When it comes to the pandemic, 67 percent of respondents said their creativity/productivity had either stayed the same or somewhat/greatly increased while working from home. 91 percent of companies either expanded their workforce or stayed the same over the last year.

You can download a full copy of GDC’s report here (registration required)

(Image Credit: Gerd Altmann via Pixabay)

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