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GDC Survey Shows 35% of Developers Were Impacted by Layoffs in the Last Year

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
32% of developers say platform that most interests them right now is Switch successor

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) released the results of its 12th annual "State of the Game Industry Survey" on Thursday, which revealed that 35% of game developers surveyed were impacted by layoffs in the last 12 months (meaning either they were laid off, their colleagues were, or other teams or departments were). Layoffs were most prominent in quality assurance (22%), and least prominent in business and finance (2%). The survey was conducted in October 2023. 56% said they are concerned their company could see layoffs in the next 12 months.

The survey revealed that the most popular game engines are Unreal Engine and Unity: 33% of developers said they use them as their main toolset.

Relatedly, the survey revealed that 35% of developers either changed engines or are considering changing engines.

In September, Unity announced that it would implement a "Runtime Fee" based on the number of game installs. This caused widespread backlash among developers that led to Unity backtracking on the decision. Many developers in the survey who said they were considering switching game engines cited Unity's policies as the main reason.

The survey also revealed opinions and details about the use of AI. 84% of developers stated they were "somewhat or very concerned" about the ethics of using Generative AI. Those working in narrative, visual arts, and quality assurance were more likely to say generative AI would negatively impact the industry. To contrast that, 49% of developers said they or their colleagues currently use generative AI tools.

51% of developers stated their companies have instituted a policy regarding the use of generative AI. 12% of developers said their companies do not allow use generative AI, and 2% said it is mandated in their workplace.

When asked what platform developers are making games for, PC was the top platform at 66% followed by PlayStation 5 at 35%, and Xbox Series S at 34%. 8% of developers stated they are developing for the successor to the Nintendo Switch (18% said they were developing for the current Switch), but 32% said the successor is the platform that mosts interests them right now.

48% of developers stated their companies have implemented accessibility issues into their current games, with the most popular measures being closed captioning, a colorblind mode, and control remapping.

The survey asked more than 3,000 game developers about their work and about the industry. Of the developers who answered the survey, 35% were between 25-34 and 33% were between 35-44. 65% were white and 69% were male. Most respondents were from North America.

This year's Game Developers Conference will be held in San Francisco on March 18-22.

Source: GDC's 2024 State of the Game Industry report and survey

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