Game Developers’ Conference survey reveals half of all games delayed by COVID

GDC Summer will be a full-on digital event this August

Almost half of all game devs note that the pandemic delayed their game, according to the survey from the Game Developers’ Conference.

For 2021’s State of Play report by the Game Developers’ Conference, the association surveyed over 3000 industry professionals. Among the questions fielded was if the COVID-19 pandemic affected their dev cycle.

As many as 44% of all respondents noted that their cycle has some kind of setback. These numbers compare against 49% who don’t have issues, with the last 7% within their dev cycle.

Pandemic delay predicted last year

The pandemic has been bad for some areas of the games industry. While players are spending expansively and create record profits, devs in general had trouble last year. Social distancing rules pushed them to work from home, creating lasting consequences.

Offices abandoned and productivity slowed down. Even big dev teams had to adjust and many of gaming’s movers and shakers predicted a potential shift.

“Mocap is just something that’s basically stopped. We’re not going into mocap studios,” Phil Spencer told last year, predicting the current issue.

“If you had all your animation captured and you’re doing touch up in more individual art production and in areas like textures and other things, you’re in a better position. If you’re waiting for a lot of either large audio work — when it’s with symphonies and other things — or mocap, you’re held up right now and you’re making progress in areas that you are.”

COVID-19 disrupted “communications and work rhythm”

All the delay that Phil Spencer predicted seems to be true, as the Game Developers’ Conference survey reflected his sentiment. The pandemic was not even the primary reason per se, but rather its side effects.

“COVID basically disrupted our communications and work rhythm,” noted one of the devs in the survey. “We have lost months due to not being able to travel, work in person, and work together more collaboratively,” others said.

Many also note how their children interrupted their workflow. There were also issues with the provided hardware and dev kits they received. Some also had issues with their VPN and other security issues for their workstations.

Even then, more than half of the respondents noted that they didn’t lose creativity. Some 35% even note that their creative juices increased while at home. Another 32% noted that it stayed the same as before.

Many titles delayed to 2022 due to the pandemic, while others opted to go later this year. Events like the Game Developers’ Conference and gaming conventions also stayed either online-only or canceled until the end of the year.

Featured image courtesy of GDC/Flickr

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