Intel Developer Blog: Softtalkblog analyses the changing shape of the industry

Platform preference in game development: There and back again…

Video games… I like them, you probably like them given you’re reading this blog on game development, and let’s face it, many more people play games in 2013 than they have done previously.

Why? Is it because life has become so unbearable for people over the last 10 years that they increasingly wish to escape into a digital chasm of fantasy and non-reality? Hopefully not!

The reason is the rise of the mobile game industry: cheaper games, greater accessibility, less involved more superficial gameplay. Even as a console gamer myself I’ve spent more time chomping on scuba divers and chasing turtles playing the latest Hungry Shark than I have bashing out 10-hit combos and scoring free kicks (easily by the way) on the PS3.

Results from a recent survey at the Game Developers Conference 2013 showed that 57 per cent of developers surveyed are interested in developing games for tablets and smartphones. In comparison, 14 per cent of game developers plan to develop their next game on Microsoft’s Xbox 360, 12.4 per cent on the Sony Playstation 3, and a mere 6.4 per cent on the Nintendo Wii U.

11 per cent of those surveyed are developing for the next-generation game consoles which are due to be released either later this year or early 2014. This indicates a very real shift away from where the traditional interest of game developers stood in the era before the mobile gaming revolution.

Why the move away from coding for consoles towards tablets, smartphones and app-based games (such as those designed for mobile PC devices like Ultrabooks)? Commercial reach is an obvious factor. There are considerably more mobile devices than there are games consoles, and the ratio is growing in favour of the former as the mobile device market flourishes.

A recent report by IDC for example expects the tablet market to reach “a new high” of 190 million shipment units this year, with year-on-year growth of 48.7 per cent, and the smartphone market is expected to grow 27.2 per cent to 918.5 million units.

Analysis of the video games industry on the other hand shows that sales of video-game hardware, software and accessories have declined 28 per cent in 2012. Developers are making rational decisions about where to invest their resources based on market trends and sticking with economics 101 – supply and demand.

As a consumer I am far more likely to get bored on the train and buy a new game from the Appup Centre or the Google Play store then I am to pro-actively seek out a console game that’s likely to cost far more.

Mobile games are affordable, usually reasonably easy and often very re-playable when compared to console and PC games which tend to be more involved. Sub £10 games also put less of dent in your mood if they turn out to be rubbish. I’ve spent £40 odd on a console game before which despite having good reviews I’ve hated from the word go and only played a couple of times.

Are you a developer? If so I’d be interested to know what your intentions are, both long and short term, and if you have the time the reasons why. What’s your next project likely to be? Whether you’re new to developing or an old hand Intel has all sorts of useful tools available, feel free to use have a browse and pick and choose at your leisure.

• This blog post is written by Softtalkblog, and is sponsored by the Intel Developer Zone, which helps you to develop, market and sell software and apps for prominent platforms and emerging technologies powered by Intel Architecture.

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