The Wii U has a few obstacles it needs to overcome, but the biggest is definitely its lack of software. A recent poll of developers shows that the Wii U’s software drought may not be ending anytime soon.
A new survey out of the Game Developers Conference polled a number of developers asking which platforms they’re developing for. Surprisingly, the Wii U came in dead last with only 4.6 percent of developers saying they were working on a title for Nintendo’s console. Other consoles didn’t fare too well either as only 13.2 percent of developers are making a game for the Xbox 360, whereas 13 percent are working on the PlayStation 3.
Drops in console development leave plenty of room for PC and mobile development to pick up the slack. An astonishing 55 percent of developers said that they’re making their next game for smartphones or tablets. Another 48 percent said that their next game would be on the PC and/or Mac.
Now, before everybody starts freaking out, these numbers need a little context. For starters, GDC is no longer attended exclusively by people working at a major publisher. In fact, most of the attendees at GDC these past few years have been indie developers. The latest numbers only reinforce that fact as over 53 percent of respondents to the GDC survey identified themselves as an indie developer.
So, how does tie into the low console numbers, and high mobile numbers? It shows that indie developers are flocking to the PC and mobile markets because they’re easier and cheaper to develop for. It doesn’t hurt that PC and mobile platforms are far more open than consoles, despite Sony’s and Nintendo’s best efforts to fix that.
In short, the high number of indie developers attending GDC ensures that the numbers for indie platforms, like mobile and PC, are going to be higher. Now this doesn’t mean that Nintendo gets away without any criticism. It needs to do a better job of courting third-party developers and indies. The Wii U launched with a great selection of indie titles, and the hardware maker needs to continue that trend going into the future.
As big AAA games start to cost more and take more time to develop, the smaller indie titles will become increasingly more important to the livelihood of any platform. Sony seems to embracing the indie developer with the PS4 saying the console will support any kind of game. Nintendo is reportedly doing much the same with the Wii U. Now these hardware makers just have to prove it by securing quality indie content while supporting these developers with the help they need to realize their vision.[h/t: Gamasutra]