Although it is increasingly common to see big and bold speculations about a futuristic metaverse in the debates of the video game industry, the developers themselves don’t seem very enthusiastic about the concept.
The 2023 State of the Game Industry survey has just been released, in which more than 2,300 game developers are polled to find out about your situation and your opinions on topics such as platform development, working conditions and interest in technology. One of the most interesting questions this year concerned the metaverse specifically:
“Which of these companies/platforms do you think is best placed to deliver on the promise of the metaverse concept?”
The platform that finally obtained the most votes was Fornite, from Epic Games, with 14%, followed by Meta (Horizon Worlds) with 7% and Microsoft (Minecraft) also with 7%. 5% of developers said Roblox, with an even smaller number mentioning options like Google, Apple, Second Life, Sony, Tencent, Amazon, and VR Chat.
But nothing got anywhere near as many votes as an answer that is not a platform at all: “None – The metaverse concept will never keep its promise,” which got 45% of the vote, up from 33% last year. So almost half of the game developers surveyed don’t think the promise of the metaverse is worth much.
Although IGN does not have access to all of the survey responses, GDC and Game Developer posted a handful of comments submitted by respondents which may help shed some light. Specifically, the question “What does the metaverse need to be sustainable?” it included a lengthy response from a respondent who, according to GDC, “appeared to represent the voices of a significant majority of respondents.” The response focused on the metaverse as a VR experience, noting that VR environments currently lacked the necessary levels of interactivity, affordability, control standardization, and hardware quality to make the metaverse come true.
The respondent also noted that, even with all that, there was still no clear definition of what was supposed to be the metaverse.
“The promise of the metaverse, as it stands, is nothing,” they wrote. “The people trying to sell it have no idea what it is, and neither do consumers. Remember what happened, and is still happening, with cloud gaming a decade ago?”
Other comments pointed out that the metaverse already existed in factand that companies kept renaming it, and one comment suggested that it simply shouldn’t exist.
There is no doubt that much has been said about the metaverse, and in recent years a lot of money has been invested in making it a reality. But companies like Meta have also lost much of that money as their bets have failed, leading even industry leaders to question whether or not the cost is worth it.
Along with the question about the metaverse, the survey also asked developers about your interests in other technologies, such as blockchain. 75% of those surveyed responded that they were not interested at all, and 56% were strongly opposed to its use.
Working hours have also always been an important issue in these surveys. In this year’s survey, 29% of respondents claimed to work an average of 36-40 hours per week. 33% worked less on average, while 38% worked more. But when asked for the most weekly hours they had worked in a single week, 46% said they had worked more than 50, and 16% more than 70 hours in a single week.
Reasons cited included self-pressure (74%), management pressure (14%) and peer pressure (11%), while 36% said they did not feel overworked (54%). % of respondents did not declare having ever worked more than 50 hours in a single week).
The full report can be downloaded here and includes responses on other topics such as platform interest and industry views on syndication and consolidation.