GDC State of the Industry 2019: Steamed Unions

GDC State of the Industry 2019: Steamed Unions

GDC, the annual Game Developers Conference, recently released the 7th State of the Industry survey results. Nearly 4,000 game developers participated and gave their opinions on topics like unions, Steam, and the time they spend working.

Union debates

Talks about unionizing the video game industry have been frequent this year. Whether it’s a company having sudden, massive layoffs or 100+ hour work weeks, there have been plenty of anecdotes about poor business practices. When polled, nearly half (47%) of those surveyed think the industry should unionize. However, only 21% think workers will actually unionize, with the majority saying “maybe” at 39%. One of the anonymously surveyed developers gave a reason why there might be no unionization:

There is too much supply: too many people want into the industry, Those who unionize will be shoved out of the way as companies hire those with fewer demands.

Labor of love (or loathe)

Speaking of long work weeks, State of the Industry asked about average work weeks to get an idea of the current labor conditions of the game industry. The results were fairly balanced, with only 44% saying they worked more than 40 hours a week, with 56% saying they worked 40 or less. The most common work week (with 24% saying this is their average) was 36-40 hours.

Feeling steamed

2018 saw Discord and Epic Games throw their hats into the ring as digital game storefronts. Because of this, it’s not surprising that digital storefronts were another major poll topic in the State of the Industry. When asked what platform they sell their games on, 47% said they use Steam. 54% of those that use Steam said they get 75-100% of their sales revenue from there.

But does Steam, as it is right now, deserve the 30% cut they get? 32% said no. If you add those who said “probably not,” the percentage increases to 59%. When asked how Steam could improve, the suggestions included better store curation, taking a smaller cut, and helping foster support for smaller creators.

Uncharted territory

With the current console generation several years old now, State of the Industry asked developers if they’re making their game for next-gen consoles. Since none have been announced, the answer is a general “no”. Only 2% (less than a hundred) said they’re game is exclusively for a next-gen console. 46% are focused on current platforms, while 16% are shooting for current and next-gen platforms.

You can download the latest State of the Industry report for free here. GDC 2019 will be held at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California from March 18-22.

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