Game Developers Bullish on VR, eSports: Survey

Gear VR
Courtesy of Samsung

The growing number of virtual-reality devices about to hit the market is driving increased interest in developing game content for this space, according to the  Game Developers Conference fourth annual State of the Industry survey.

With the Samsung Gear out and the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR just over the horizon, game developers have found the devices an alluring prospect for new games. The report shows that VR title development has more than doubled — from 7 percent last year to 16 percent this year — among developers. PC and mobile gaming are still leading the charge in terms of developers working on a game for any platform, with 52 percent for PC and 44 percent for mobile.

While game makers think VR can be sustainable, they don’t see the new tech exceeding the adoption rate of game consoles in the U.S. This aligns with a report done by Frank N Magid Associates on actual gamer excitement in VR. The content that drew the most desire from VR hardware was movies and TV with console and PC gaming coming in behind it.

The survey also gave high marks to eSports. Nearly 90 percent of developers believe eSports is a sustainable, long-term business. Another survey by Frank N Magid Associates found that of the nearly 70 percent of Americans (between ages 8 and 64) that play games, 18 percent have watched or attended an eSports event.

The confidence in eSports is evident in more than just the game industry itself. Activision hired Steve Bornstein, former CEO of ESPN and NFL Network, to be the chairman of their new eSports division while ESPN launched a new vertical that is dedicated entirely to the coverage of competitive gaming.

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