“PC and PS5 Games Top Developer’s Interest, According To GDC 2020 Survey”
According to a GDC 2020 survey, developers are more interested in bringing their games to PC and the upcoming PlayStation 5 than any other platform. Per usual, PC development is preferred by a wide margin, but studios’ apparent inclination toward producing games for the PS5 over the Xbox Series X could have wider implications when the next console war kicks off this holiday season.
Looking at things from this end of the current generation, the gap between Xbox One and PS4 sales is vaster than analysts could have reasonably predicted in 2013. By October 2015, things evidently were going so unilaterally in Sony’s favor that Microsoft opted to keep sales figures secret, though it’s estimated around 46 million Xbox Ones have been sold as of December 2019. Sony, meanwhile, was touting having crossed a milestone of 100 million PS4s sold earlier the same year. Although it’s been an uphill battle for Microsoft ever since throwing in its hat as a gaming market latecomer in 2001, ending the generation with the Xbox One sitting at less than half of the lifetime sales of the Xbox 360 is an especially unfavorable position to start the decade, and being developers’ third priority likely won’t help things.
In the GDC’s annual survey, developers were asked which platforms they’re currently most interested in. 50 percent answered PC, while another 38 percent reported PS5. Meanwhile, a significantly lower 25 percent said that they’re most interested in Xbox Project Scarlett, now known officially as the Xbox Series X. Obviously, many developers must look to publishers for the final say on which platforms their games will launch, but this general preference for PC and PS5 over the Xbox Series X may more strongly reflect how smaller publishers and indie developers will plan out their release schedules. Almost as popular as the PS5 was the current-gen Nintendo Switch, which 37 percent of developers identified as a platform that most interests them.
It should be noted that the results of these self-reporting surveys put out prior to every year’s GDC aren’t oracular, being innately subject to the biases and sometimes misplaced hopes of the responding developers. Another big winner in the 2020 GDC poll was VR, but it’s worth remembering the industry got a bit ahead of itself the last time the VR hype train left the station. The only number to truly be trusted in this year’s report is the PC’s lion’s share of continued interest and ongoing development, as its unmatched flexibility and under-the-hood performance isn’t changing anytime soon. Additionally, if rumors of Sony’s intense commitment to backwards compatibility hold merit, then the PS5’s hardware could prove to have some yet-unseen development oddities programmers might not enjoy untangling.
The next console generation is still months away, and things could go any number of ways come this holiday season. While PCs are constantly being upgraded and replaced, neither the Xbox One X nor the PS5 have solid launch dates as of yet, and it remains to be seen if developers’ higher opinion of the latter will factor into the tough decisions players will face when it’s finally time to upgrade.
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