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Game Developers Conference Survey Reveals Possible Changes in Games Industry

GDC 2018 attendees - image courtesy of Official_GDC

Game Developers Conference Survey

The Game Developers Conference released its 2019 State of the Industry Survey on Thursday, which showed a potential shift in the games industry. It covered over 4,000 games professionals, and revealed that two big topics were on their mind: Steam and unionization. 

Unions!…Maybe

Game Developers Conference GDC logo med
Game Developers Conference (GDC)

According to the survey, about half (47%) of video game professionals support unions in the industry. This topic was especially popular last year on Twitter, when #AsAGamesWorker was trending. Workers were calling for improved conditions. Then they were hit with studio closures, layoffs, and other issues like workplace harassment, so unionizing seemed to be the best solution. Overtime was also a major issue, since as many as 44% of respondents said they work over 40 hours a week.

Of course, not all developers are on board with this. Twenty-six percent said “maybe” to unions, while 16% said workers should definitely not unionize. Their reasons for opposition are simple job loss for unionized workers. They said that companies will instead hire people with fewer demands, as so many people are coming into the industry. 

All that being said, few respondents actually saw unions happening. Just 21% said they affirmatively saw unionization in the future. Thirty-nine percent said “maybe” unions could happen. So, they want unions, but don’t see them as a realistic goal.

The Steam Issue

Steam is a game distribution platform created by Valve Corporation, where users can purchase and play video games. While 47% of respondents on the GDC Survey said they sell their games on Steam, many are second-guessing the platform. Valve’s revenue share from the games is 30%, and many developers feel that is completely unjustified. 

A new platform has arrived, Epic Games Store, which only takes a 12% revenue cut, but it has its issues. Earlier this year, the Better Business Bureau gave Epic Games an “F” rating. Yikes.

One respondent wrote that Steam could do better if they “Take less revenue from sales and curate their store better for visibility for real games.” 

Two percent of respondents said they are currently developing games for platforms that don’t even exist yet. Sixteen percent said they were developing games for platforms that are available or will be available soon. No matter where you get your games, someone is working on something new, and that’s exciting.

For more WotN video game news and features, click here.


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