A survey of GDC 2017 attendees shows that just 3% of developers are working on titles for the Nintendo Switch. Each year GDC attendees are polled as to what platforms they’re currently working on. The poll gives a vague idea of what kind of support modern platforms hold among developers, as well as provide a comparison of developer support versus platform install base. Unfortunately, the survey doesn’t appear positive for the Nintendo Switch.
10 different platforms were included on the survey list, with mobile platforms like iOS and Android being lumped into one Smartphone/Tablet category and VR headsets being lumped together similarly. Out of those 10 platforms or categories, the Nintendo Switch was ranked very last. It sits at just 3% of developers indicating current support, just below the Apple TV’s 4%. Alternate Reality Headsets sits just higher at 5% support.
For a more significant comparison, all of the Nintendo Switch’s major competitors have garnered much larger groupings. While PC may not be Nintendo’s most direct competitor, it sits at the top of the chart at 53%, dwarfing all other platforms.
That should also provide a sense of the GDC platform survey bias. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have similar support bases at 27% and 22% respectively, despite Sony’s install base being significantly larger than Microsoft’s. Yet that shouldn’t be surprising, considering how often games developed for consoles are shared between the two.
Obviously 3% support is a concerning statistic for the Nintendo Switch, and shows that Nintendo has a long road of persuading third-party developers to support the platform. That challenge is equaled by the one to persuade the larger gaming community that third-parties are on board. Do either of those issues imply the Nintendo Switch won’t be successful? Not at all, but there’s no having less support than the Apple TV at GDC is not a positive.
There are good reasons not to take the percentage too seriously, however. For one, GDC 2017 happened prior to the Nintendo Switch’s launch. Since then the Switch’s success has been undeniable, with Nintendo even doubling hardware production to a level that could potentially compete with the Wii — as unlikely as that may seem.
Moreover, 2017’s holiday season will effectively be a second console launch for the Nintendo Switch, meaning there’s a large opportunity for third-party developers to capitalize on titles players pick up along with their console purchase. Needless to say, the 3% at GDC is likely higher now.
The Nintendo Switch is currently available for purchase at retailers, though stock remains extremely limited.