2023 GDC poll: Developers skeptical of metaverse, blockchain Projects

The 11th annual State of the Industry Survey has revealed trends ahead of the 2023 Game Developers Conference, including pessimism about metaverse and blockchain initiatives and a shift toward hybrid remote or in-office work.

Recently. GDC organizers conducted a poll in which around 2,300 game developers participated, with a +/- three percent margin of error and a 99 percent confidence level.

The results show that game development is growing and shrinking in the lead-up to GDC 2023, which will be held at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center from March 20 to 24 this year.

Developers believe Fortnite will dominate metaverse

When questioned about which company and project are most likely to deliver on the promise of the metaverse, Epic Games’ Fortnite received the most votes, accounting for 14 percent of all votes.

Horizon Worlds by Meta and Minecraft by Microsoft are next on the list, recording seven percent each. Roblox has five percent, Google and Apple each have three percent. About 45 percent of the respondents didn’t pick a company or a platform because they thought the metaverse would never fulfill its promise.

This pessimism is an increase from last year, which was 33 percent. Many of the respondents also pointed to the difficulty of defining the metaverse concept, the lack of significant interactivity and the high cost of equipment, especially VR headsets, as reasons why it had been hard to have sustainable metaverse experiences.

Studio interest in blockchain technology does not increase

Only 23 percent of developers said their studios were interested in using blockchain technology, such as cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), to power their games.

This number points to a tiny drop compared to last year, with 28 percent of respondents showing interest in NFTs and 27 percent expressing some interest in cryptocurrencies. Only two percent of those polled claimed that their studios had embraced blockchain technology.

When asked about the future use of blockchain technology in games, around 17 percent of developers said they were in favor, and 61 percent said they were against it. One-fourth of those polled said they didn’t know or didn’t have a view on the subject.

Two-thirds of survey respondents on both sides of the debate said their views on blockchain had stayed the same and that they had no plans to change their opinion.

Hybrid working becomes more popular

Due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have been considering how to address their employees’ needs best. While some still allow their workers to work from home, a global trend toward returning to the office is gaining traction in various industries.

The poll shows the percentage of game developers that regularly work from home with the option to work in the office occasionally dropped to 29 percent in 2022.

This year, the number of hybrid work schedules, in which employees divide their time between remote and in-office work, climbed by 17 percent.

Player toxicity a big problem

Most responders see player toxicity and harassment as a big problem. Those who identified as part of the LGBTQ+ group were more likely to report experiencing or witnessing harassment.

At the same time, men were less likely than women or non-binary people to report experiencing or witnessing harassment.

Studio officials of all sizes have spoken out against player harassment of staff members since the issue has grown severe enough in the past year to require such action.

The poll asked respondents who had experienced or seen harassment if their employers had taken any action to address the matter.

The results show that more than two-thirds of employers have taken action in response to harassment. Thirty percent said their employers deal with the harassment internally, four percent externally and 34 percent said both.

One-fifth of the respondents voted no action was taken, while the remaining 11 percent were unsure.