Nearly half of game developers are skeptical about the metaverse, future of VR/AR gaming is uncertain, GDC reports

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In Brief

The GDC’s State of the Game Industry survey shows that game developers are becoming more interested in VR gaming, but it hasn’t led to the belief that metaverse will become mainstream.

14% of respondents named Epic’s Fortnite as the top choice for a metaverse platform, while Meta’s Horizon Worlds and Microsoft’s Minecraft received 7% each.

61% of game developers surveyed oppose blockchain for gaming.

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Game Developers Conference (GDC) has surveyed 2,300 game developers to release its 11th report on the “State of the Game Industry.” The paper was published ahead of GDC 2023, a large industry event coming up in March.

Out of all respondents, only 12% are developing projects for VR headsets, 4% for AR hardware, and 1% for UGC platforms (Roblox, Minecraft, and similar). Unsurprisingly, at the top of the list were PC developers (65%), PlayStation 5 (33%), and Xbox (30%), followed by developers of mobile applications.

Nevertheless, 23% of respondents were most interested in developing VR headsets, and 12% in AR hardware. This means that interest in developing VR and AR games is growing.

Developers have reported that premium tier subscriptions (such as the one used in Fallout 76) and blockchain-based monetization are among the least popular business models for their games.

Meta Quest is at the forefront of the VR/AR market, but developers look forward to the upcoming PSVR2 release

The virtual and augmented reality game industry has been receiving more attention over the past year as developers and studios prepare for the release of Meta Quest Pro and the PSVR2. However, the future of the VR/AR industry is uncertain. As of 2021, 38% of respondents are currently or have been involved in VR/AR game development, after a slight increase to 42% in 2022.

The Meta Quest continues as the leading VR/AR platform for developers, with 35% of respondents currently developing games on the platform (an increase from 27%) and 39% expressing the most interest in Quest. Additionally, 10% of respondents reported that their upcoming games would be released on Meta’s premium headset, Meta Quest Pro, while 19% expressed interest in the as-yet-unreleased headset.

Nearly half game developers are skeptical about the metaverse, future of VR/AR gaming is uncertain, GDC reports
Source: GDC 2023 State Of The Game Industry

As the launch of the PSVR2 approaches, its presence in the market is growing. Nearly two in five developers plan to release their next games on the platform, an increase from 10% in 2022. About 35% of developers also reported that the PSVR2 is the most interesting to them among the different platforms. 

Other platforms that developers are planning to release their next games on include the HTC VIVE (15%), iOS phone/tablet using ARKit (12%), and Windows Mixed Reality Headsets (7%). Nearly half (46%) of respondents selected “Other,” and most mentioned that they were not working on any VR or AR games. Meanwhile, a few stated that they were developing games for Pico Immersive, a VR platform not included in the survey list.

Nearly half game developers are skeptical about the metaverse
Source: GDC 2023 State Of The Game Industry

Developers name Fortnite, not Meta’s Horizon Worlds, as the metaverse winner

According to the survey, 14% of respondents voted that Epic Games/Fortnite is the best company to deliver on the promise of the metaverse, followed by Meta/Horizon Worlds and Microsoft/Minecraft (both 7%), Roblox (5%), and Google and Apple (both 3%). 

However, many developers were skeptical, with 45% of respondents believing that the metaverse would not live up to its promise, an increase from last year’s 33%. Some cited a lack of clarity, lack of interactivity, and the high cost of hardware (expensive VR headsets) as reasons for this doubt.

Nearly half game developers are skeptical about the metaverse, future of VR/AR gaming is uncertain
Source: GDC 2023 State Of The Game Industry

“The metaverse must be built by its own users in a platform that is meant for public use; a creative shared space. Any version of it that exists solely in the hands of one corporation as an ad platform, virtual work station, or virtual real estate market is doomed to fail eventually. In short: It needs to be built of things users actually care about,”

one developer shared his opinion on the metaverse.

Blockchain gaming is complicated for game developers

According to the GDC survey, 14% of developers expressed support for incorporating blockchain technology in games, while as many as 61% were against it. 25% of respondents were uncertain or had no opinion on the matter. Additionally, the majority of survey participants on both sides of the issue reported that their views on blockchain technology have remained unchanged over the past year.

Nearly half game developers are skeptical about the metaverse, future of VR/AR gaming
Source: GDC 2023 State Of The Game Industry

When providing more insight into their views, some developers believed that blockchain could be beneficial in the future but criticized some current applications as unsustainable. Others argued that the risks outweighed the benefits and that similar goals could be achieved through existing technologies, making blockchain unnecessary.

On a similar note, a survey by VC firm a16z suggested that U.S.-based gamers rarely play VR games. Additionally, research by Web3 company Coda Labs concluded that earning crypto is the top reason gamers choose blockchain games. Another report predicts the VR gaming market will reach $37 billion by 2028. Ultimately, blockchain gaming saw growth in adoption in 2022 and is likely to grow even more in the upcoming years.


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Agne Cimermanaite

Agne is a journalist and writer with a background in literature, culture, and arts. She entered the Web3 space in 2021 and began writing about cryptocurrency and NFTs. Agne is passionate about technology and storytelling and is always on the lookout for exciting stories.

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