Some 35% of game development studios have been affected by layoffs in the past year, and more than half are concerned about future cuts at their place of employment. That's according to the annual report commissioned by the Game Developers Conference (GDC), organisers of the world's largest industry professional event.
The report highlights what is plain to see. Thousands of jobs have been lost, and more go every day as companies reckon with ridiculous calls made during what was a digital boom-time for the industry, when the COVID-19 pandemic held audiences captive, beginning in March of 2020. Quality assurance testers appear to have been the role hit hardest, with 22% of them saying they were laid off this year (compared to 7% of all developers). Business and finance roles reported the slightest losses, at 2%.
Regarding ongoing unionisation efforts, 5% of developers say they're currently part of a union, and 57% think that game industry workers should unionise, up from 53% last year. In terms of demographics, the majority of developers surveyed identify as men (69%), of white/Caucasian origin (65%) and as Millenials aged 25-34 years old (35%).
The report also points to the issues concerning AI we've been covering in recent months, like the growing legitimisation of generative AI in the development of video games and the resulting uncertainty that follows its use. Almost half of those surveyed (49%) said they are either currently using or know colleagues using generative AI tools like ChatGPT, DALL-E, GitHub Copilot, and Adobe Generative Fill. Paradoxically, 84% of respondents said they were either Very Concerned or Somewhat Concerned about the ethics of using these generative AI tools during development.
That all-blockchain future we used to hear about is looking increasingly unlikely, with a hilarious 77% of respondents reporting their studios or companies were Not Interested in technology like cryptocurrency, NFTs, or Web3. Personal preference may differ, but we'll chalk that last one up as a win.
What do you make of this small snapshot of the industry and the thoughts and fears of the developers who make the games we enjoy? Report your feelings and any necessary background data in the comments section below.