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UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017

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The survey results offer insight on how game professionals and organizations are spending their budgets. The
2017 UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey polled game developers on their plans for spending, the platforms
and services that get top priority and the primary drivers behind their spending.

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UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017

  1. 1. UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY UBMGameNetwork.com
  2. 2. Table of Contents Planned Spending. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Most Popular Platforms • PC/Macs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 • Smartphone/Tablet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 • Console . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Middleware & Tools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Virtual and Augmented Reality. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 UBM Game Network Audience. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 2UBMGameNetwork.com
  3. 3. The video game industry continues to grow, nearly 5% annually through 2020* With more people making games than ever before, game developers need ways to make, market, and distribute their work. Accessible game tools and middleware, developer-friendly distribution platforms, new game consoles, and continued growth in virtual and augmented reality not only mean there are many more games to be made, but more game developers who need your products and services. These are some of the conclusions drawn by 4,100 respondents to the 2017 UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey, a poll of game developers who have attended the Game Developer Conference (GDC) or Virtual Reality Conference (VRDC), and/or subscribed to Gamasutra.com. The UBM Game Network delivers market-defining content to the professional game and VR/AR industries, building community and driving business partnerships. The survey results offer insight on how game professionals and organizations are spending their budgets. The 2017 UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey polled game developers on their plans for spending, the platforms and services that get top priority and the primary drivers behind their spending. MAJOR AREAS OF FOCUS FOR GAME DEVELOPERS: 72% PC Downloadable 60% Mobile 56% Console Downloadable 51% Console Retail 49% VR / AR 34% Game tools/ Middleware 33% Web Browser 31% Console Handheld 30% Mac Downloadable UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3UBMGameNetwork.com *Source: PwC Global entertainment and media outlook 2017-2021 (Figure 1)
  4. 4. SOURCE FOR PURCHASING DEVELOPMENT TOOLS AT WHAT POINT IN THE GAME DEVELOPMENT CYCLE DO THEY DECIDE THEY NEED TO BUY? That depends. Game developers evaluate and specify the tools and technologies they use in a game at all points in a game’s development. For half of our respondents, these decisions are made throughout the course of a project, though a large chunk says they make these decisions in pre-production. It seems that if your content reaches them at the start of a project, the higher the chances they are to consider purchasing your offerings. But of course, countless game projects are starting all the time, meaning there’s not necessarily a “bad time” to get your products, technologies, and services in front of game developers. THERE’S NOT NECESSARILY A “BAD TIME” TO GET YOUR PRODUCTS, TECHNOLOGIES, AND SERVICES IN FRONT OF GAME DEVELOPERS. 45% 39%BUY TOOLS ONLINE BUY TOOLS DIRECTLY FROM VENDORS By what means do they purchase or obtain development tools? An organization’s ability to produce more games depends on the resources that are available. We found that on average, game developers planned to spend $115,000 on hardware, $119,000 on software, and $184,000 on services this year. Five percent expect to spend over $1 million in hardware and software each; 7% expect to spend over $1 million in services. UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 4UBMGameNetwork.com
  5. 5. Most Popular Platforms Game developers have more platforms than ever to choose from. Some companies choose to bring their game to as many platforms as possible to reach as many consumers as possible. Others – sometimes due to business, resource, or design constraints – choose to focus on a single platform. 59% of respondents said their current or most recent game will appear on PC/Mac, making it the most popular platform. The platform’s prevalence is due to its openness and accessibility in terms of development and distribution. Game submission is unencumbered by a Technical Requirements Checklist (TRC) that is typical of console development; and proprietary, expensive console dev kits aren’t necessary. FOR WHICH PLATFORMS ARE YOU DEVELOPING YOUR CURRENT OR MOST RECENT GAME? PC/Mac (retail/downloadable) 50% Smartphone/Tablet 38% Console 27% AR/VR 21% Web Browser 14% Handheld Console 6% UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 5UBMGameNetwork.com (Figure 2)
  6. 6. Leading PC/Mac-based digital platform Steam, which as of 2015 had over 125 million registered users, provides access to a game-centric audience and recently began lowering submission barriers for game developers. Other digital outlets like itch.io and GOG.com also provide an attractive venue for game developers. And if developers want to circumvent any of these digital marketplaces (which do take a cut of revenue), they can release a game on their own. For similar reasons, smartphone/tablet is the second-most popular platform (38%) among game developers thanks to the relative ease of submitting and releasing a game. While developers do have to meet Apple’s App Store technical, content, and design criteria, those requirements are loose. Google Play is even looser with developer requirements, and more open. Combine this accessibility with the potential to reach an enormous audience via mobile devices, smartphone/tablet becomes highly attractive for a lot of game developers. Ease of distribution and accessible development tools are resulting in further democratization of game development and distribution, particularly in mobile and desktop game markets. MOST POPULAR PLATFORMS FOR WHICH SMARTPHONE/MOBILE DEVICE OR OS ARE YOU DEVELOPING YOUR CURRENT OR MOST RECENT GAME? 85% 89% IOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod) ANDROID Android has slightly overtaken iOS in popularity among our audience UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 6UBMGameNetwork.com
  7. 7. Game consoles such as Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, and Nintendo Switch have attracted the third-largest (27%) share of our game industry audience. Interest in Switch will presumably grow, following a highly successful launch. While it’s easier for game developers to get on a console compared to 15 years ago, dedicated consoles are still essentially “walled gardens.” Console games must meet strict technical requirements, require specialized, expensive hardware for development, and are subject to various costs such as localization and ratings board submission fees. Factor in narrower reach – there are a lot more PCs and mobile phones out there than PlayStation 4s – and game developers turn to non-console options. MOST POPULAR PLATFORMS PLAYSTATION 4 LEADS XBOX ONE AND SWITCH IN TERMS OF CONSOLE POPULARITY FOR WHICH CONSOLE/S ARE YOU DEVELOPING YOUR CURRENT OR MOST RECENT GAME? 8% 2% 87% 5% 26% PlayStation 3 Nintendo Wii PlayStation 4/Pro Nintendo Wii U 73% Xbox One/Scorpio Nintendo Switch 8% Xbox 360 (Figure 3) UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 7UBMGameNetwork.com
  8. 8. An Audience That Values Middleware and Tools RESPONDENTS UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF GAME DEVELOPMENT MIDDLEWARE AND TOOLS. Teams both large and small are opting to license third-party tools to save the time (and in effect, money) it would take to develop their own tools and engines. In fact, our survey shows a notable year-on-year decline in respondents who use in-house game engines (i.e. game engines created within their company). This year, just 5% said they use in-house game engines, down from the prior year’s 18%. Unity from Unity Technology dominates in engine usage with 61% adoption among people surveyed. Unreal Engine from Epic Games was the second-most used engine at a rate of 32%. All other engines included in the survey (including in- house engines) were each used by 6% or less of respondents. Some game engine companies, including Epic and Unity, offer free versions of their engines, making game development accessible for anyone willing to give it a shot. OUR SURVEY SHOWS A NOTABLE YEAR- ON-YEAR DECLINE IN RESPONDENTS WHO USE IN-HOUSE GAME ENGINES UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 8UBMGameNetwork.com
  9. 9. While two engines are dominating the market, there are still opportunities to attract buyers looking for an engine that is a better fit for their team and project, as well as non-engine tools and middleware that facilitate game development, marketing and distribution. There is significant opportunity for middleware and tool providers to convey to buyers how their solutions can deliver in these areas – and there will continue to be a need in this area for the foreseeable future. MIDDLEWARE AND TOOLS  TOP THREE REASONS DEVELOPERS CHOOSE TO ADOPT SPECIFIC MIDDLEWARE: EASE OF DEVELOPMENT (57%) COST (36%) TEAM SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE OF MIDDLEWARE (28%) 1 2 3 UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 9UBMGameNetwork.com
  10. 10. Growing Interest in Virtual and Augmented Reality COMMERCIAL VERSIONS OF VIRTUAL, AUGMENTED, AND MIXED REALITY PLATFORMS ARE NOW ON THE MARKET, AND THIS NEW GENERATION OF IMMERSIVE COMPUTING – STILL IN ITS EARLY STAGES – IS ATTRACTING A SIGNIFICANT GAME DEVELOPMENT AUDIENCE. Twenty-one percent of respondents said they’re developing for augmented and/or virtual reality in their current or most recent game. That’s a notable jump from the previous year’s 7%. Why are game developers flocking to this new tech? Part of the reason is simply because they are enthusiastic about the design possibilities that VR and AR provide. For many, this is the first time that immersive computing feels like the “real deal,” and game makers are happy to ride the resulting enthusiasm. Major companies are also legitimizing the space, throwing huge amounts of resources into AR and VR. Facebook acquired startup Oculus VR in 2014 for $2 billion, and beyond that major game industry companies like Valve Software, Unity, Epic Games, and more have committed time and money to support game developers in this new space. GAME DEVELOPERS ARE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THE DESIGN POSSIBILITIES THAT VR AND AR PROVIDE. UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 10UBMGameNetwork.com
  11. 11. Additionally, VR game developers see the space as a “blue ocean” – a less-crowded market with fewer competitors, albeit a smaller audience for the time being. Some studios also want to get into VR and AR on the ground floor, so they’re ready for when current platforms (the best of which are expensive and limited in practicality) become more mass market-friendly. VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY Samsung Gear VR Google Cardboard Google Daydream Microsoft HoloLens HTC Vive Oculus Rift PlayStation VR AUGMENTED REALITY / VIRTUAL REALITY (AR/VR) PLATFORMS CURRENT OR MOST RECENT GAMES ARE BEING DEVELOPED FOR (Figure 4) UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 11UBMGameNetwork.com 59.8% 68.6% 2017 2016 29.0% 27.0% 2017 2016 2017 2016 31.4% 36.2% 2017 2016 62.1% 37.0% 2017 2016 18.2% 28.1% 2017 2016 N/A 19.1% 2017 2016 13.4% 11.1%
  12. 12. This young market has already seen dramatic shifts in platform popularity among game creators when it comes to the top two VR/AR platforms (See: Figure 4). Last year, 37% of respondents working in VR/AR said they were developing their current or most recent game for the high-end HTC Vive – now that share is at 62%, thanks to the platform’s full-scale launch. That (perhaps superficially) edges out Oculus Rift’s 60% share. PlayStation VR is currently the only VR system that is console-based. Twenty-seven percent of respondents creating VR/AR games are making their current or have made their most recent game for that platform. Notably, VR developers are trying to maximize their reach by bringing games to as many platforms as possible (or they are able to). It’s not uncommon to see an Oculus Rift game also appear on Vive and PlayStation VR. Certainly, cross-platform development is important to developers here, as they attempt to extend reach across each VR platform’s consumer base to leverage a broader audience. And while it’s not the highest-end VR platform, Samsung’s Gear VR still captures nearly a third of VR-centric respondents. A mobile phone combined with a relatively inexpensive head-mounted unit, Gear VR trades technical prowess for mass market friendliness. It’s this burgeoning hands-free, untethered mobile VR space that many believe is the first step to wider VR adoption. VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY VR DEVELOPERS ARE TRYING TO MAXIMIZE THEIR REACH BY BRINGING GAMES TO AS MANY PLATFORMS AS POSSIBLE (OR THEY ARE ABLE TO) UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 12UBMGameNetwork.com
  13. 13. UBM Game Network Audience UBM Game Network is the channel to reach game developers. Our audience shows they are highly engaged and loyal to our products, they come from all corners of the game industry, they’re developing on the cutting-edge of both hardware and business models, and they have the power to buy products and services. We’ve fostered a dedicated community of game developers through venues such as our Game Developers Conference (GDC), which attracts over 25,000 game industry professionals to San Francisco every year, and Gamasutra, the leading online game development knowledge-sharing destination. A MAJORITY OF OUR AUDIENCE MAKES ATTENDING GDC PART OF THEIR YEARLY PLAN 69% of game developers surveyed attended GDC in 2017 GDC’S SIBLING SITE GAMASUTRA IS BY FAR THE MOST-READ WEBSITE FOR GAME DEVELOPMENT AND INDUSTRY NEWS 78% of our game industry audience said they go to Gamasutra to obtain information and knowledge about their profession; twice the mindshare of the next-most-read video game website GAMASUTRA’S JOB BOARD IS THE MOST POPULAR GAME INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC DESTINATION FOR INDUSTRY JOB HUNTERS 31% of people surveyed use Gamasutra’s job boards to seek employment UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 13UBMGameNetwork.com
  14. 14. Most of our audience is involved in the buying process. That means when we feature content online or at events, that content is reaching people with some degree of purchasing power. Sixty-seven percent of our audience is involved in defining the need, evaluating alternatives, making recommendations and/or approving the purchase of hardware, software, or services that will be used on a game development project. Our audience includes some of the most experienced veterans of the game industry, as well as young and talented up-and-comers. GDC and Gamasutra work to connect these people, acting as venues for networking and knowledge-sharing. Here are some additional quick facts about our audience: 63% are full-time paid employees working at least 35 hours a week 21% of people surveyed work in California, making it the state with the largest share of the game dev work force. Washington and New York tied for a distant second with 4% while Texas claimed 3% of the workforce; 44% surveyed said they work outside of the U.S. 48% said their companies employ at least 20 people; 16% said their companies employ over 1,000 Most respondents (85%) have worked directly on at least one game title, while a small experienced group (5%) has worked on over 50 titles Most respondents are “the boss” — 56% of respondents manage anywhere from two people to over 100; 12% manage teams greater than 10 people UBM GAME NETWORK AUDIENCE UBM Game Network Purchasing Survey 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 14UBMGameNetwork.com
  15. 15. UBMGameNetwork.com The UBM Game Network delivers market-defining content to the professional game and VR/AR industries, building community and driving business partnerships. Its award-winning lineup of events and digital products services include the Game Developers Conference (GDC), the Virtual Reality Developers Conference (VRDC), Gamasutra.com, GameCareerGuide.com, GDC Play, the Independent Games Festival and Summit, and the Game Developers Choice Awards. To learn how to partner with our network and get your brand in front of a dedicated audience, please contact: GameSalesInfo@ubm.com.

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