The Game Developer Conference is an annual gathering of professional devs as they share their various work-in-progress projects, attend networking functions, speak on and observe in-depth panel discussions, and absorb a wealth of knowledge and inspiration across the multi-day event. 2016 was the true birth of the virtual reality industry, so outlook was all over the place depending on who you spoke with and it makes sense that the perspective of GDC attendees would be valued. Each year, attendees take part in a lengthy survey that serves as the foundation for the conference’s State of the Industry document — this year’s results proved very interesting.
One key thing that’s notable is that the most popular platform has shifted in a big way. In the 2016 State of the Industry report, Oculus Rift dominated conversations over all other headsets largely in part because a significant amount had tried the device (77% for Rift) over Google Cardboard (46%), Gear VR (31%), PlayStation VR (21%), and well over the HTC Vive (19%). In addition, 19% of developers said they were working on an Oculus Rift game while all the others were under 10%. 44% of those surveyed said they weren’t interested in developing for the VR or AR platforms at all.
Source: GDC 2017 State of the Industry Report
Considering there were so few VR experiences for the majority of 2016, this year’s State of the Industry report has much more VR data in general. As far as which platform developers were currently developing for in 2017, there was only a one point difference among the top two with Vive at 24%, Rift at 23%, and Gear VR and PS VR tied at 13%.
The most telling shift, though, is found in the answers for which platform the game developers will be working on next: 40% of the respondents are choosing HTC Vive next with 37% on Rift and 25% on PS VR. New entries like castAR, HoloLens, and Google Daydream were added to the survey as well but Vive, PS VR, Gear VR, and Oculus Rift were ahead of the pack most of the time.
A large part of HTC Vive’s boost could be the release of the Oculus Touch controllers much later into 2016, causing developers to embrace the more robust experience the Vive offered early in the year. Devs have many more experiences to pull from on the Vive when it comes to the VR controller integration, but Touch availability will potentially shift the conversation again. It’s not unreasonable to say that 2018’s survey will be a better indicator of which platform is preferred given the added time and experience.
GDC 2017 takes place in San Francisco February 27th – March 3rd (Expo takes placed March 1st -3rd) and you can register for the event right here.