Gaming

Eight major trends that will shape the games industry in 2023

GDC’s annual survey highlights the latest in game development trends.

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Every year, the Game Developers Conference captures developers’ perspectives on trends that shaped the last year in gaming. This year’s State of the Game Industry survey highlights unionization, accessibility, and metaverse skepticism.

Here are 8 insights from the State of the Game Industry survey 2023

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8. Console wars

As in years past, most developers (65 percent) say they’re currently working on games for PC. That’s compared to 33 percent developing for PlayStation 5 and 28 percent developing for Xbox Series X/S.

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7. Not sold on blockchain

Survey respondents whose studios are interested in exploring the blockchain through NFTs, cryptocurrency, or Web3 dropped from around 27 percent last year to 23 percent this year. Only 2 percent say their studios are actually using the blockchain.

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Sky Mavis

Numbers are even lower when it comes to who actually wants to use the blockchain. About 14 percent of developers are interested, and 61 percent are actively opposed, with the rest remaining unsure.

6. Indie vs. AAA

When asked if they work for indie or AAA studios, developers’ responses show the distinction isn’t all that matters. Indie studios account for 39 percent of votes, and AAA studios got 23 percent. Others wrote in descriptions ranging from charity work to AA studios.

Tunic Team

5. Who runs the Metaverse?

Developers see Fortnite as most likely to bring the metaverse to life, with 14 percent of votes. Horizon Worlds and Minecraft got 7 percent of the vote, Roblox earned 5 percent.

Epic Games
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45%

say the Metaverse won't become a reality at all

4. Working from home

Remote work has become much more common since 2020, but some game studios have sought to bring staff back to the office in the last year.

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Slightly fewer developers say they work mainly remotely this year (25 percent) than last year (29 percent). Hybrid work, where developers work partly from home and partly in an office, increased from 11 percent to 17 percent.

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3. Toxic players

The vast majority of respondents say harassment and threats from players are a major concern, with women and LGBTQ+ devs being the most likely to have experienced or witnessed harassment.

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91%

of respondents overall say harassment is an issue

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While 68 percent of respondents say their company responded to reports of harassment, 20 percent say there was no response, and the rest were unsure if anything was done.

2. Union support

Unionization efforts at studios owned by Activision Blizzard have made headlines recently, but interest in unions stretches much further in the game industry.

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Game Workers Unite

This year’s survey shows 53 percent of developers support unionization, a slight drop from 55 percent in 2022, while 22 percent have actively discussed forming unions with their colleagues.

1. Increasing accessibility

Studios continue to focus more on accessibility, though fewer than half are making it a priority. This year, 38 percent say their studios are implementing accessibility features in games, the same number as last year.

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Microsoft

But those who say accessibility measures definitely aren’t being implemented dropped from 36 percent last year to 32 percent this year.