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More Games Have Been Delayed Than You Realized

Games have been delayed left and right since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. A significant number of highly anticipated titles have been just out of reach, with some of them no longer having a clear release date. However, though consumers might have noticed their favorite games developers pushing back launches, they might not have realized exactly how many games were delayed.

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) surveyed 3,000 game developers for its 2021 state of the industry report on a number of topics, including game delays. About 44% of those respondents said their game suffered a delay because of the pandemic. The number of developers who reported delays has risen from the 33% the GDC surveyed last summer. "Outriders," "Returnal," and "Death Loop" are just a few examples of highly anticipated games that were delayed for pandemic-related reasons. 

Some of the delays had to do with transitioning to remote work. When the GDC surveyed developers last year, 41% of them reported that their work suffered because of the pandemic. But in the most recent report, 66% said that they worked at the same pace or actually experienced greater creativity and productivity while working from home. More developers also reported working standard 40-hour work weeks, which might mean an improved work-life balance. This stands in stark contrast to the reputation of crunch and overtime that the industry has.

During the pandemic, many companies have cut costs with layoffs, but that wasn't the case with many of the gaming studios surveyed by the GDC. Most developers reported that their studios either grew or stayed the same. Staff increased for 47% and stayed the same for 34%. That means that the delays continued despite having even more hands on deck than before. 

In addition to game delays and adjustments to work-from-home experiences, the survey also touched upon industry trends like what developers thought about digital storefronts, interest in new consoles, and more. Apparently, more developers disapproved of the popular 30% revenue share models that many digital storefronts use and favored newer models used by companies like Apple, Google, and Epic. More developers also expressed interest in developing games for the PlayStation 5, although PC still largely beat consoles out as the platform of choice.

The GDC offers its industry reports for free for anyone who wants to see for themselves. Curious consumers can also find the GDC's reports for earlier years on its website. Unfortunately, because of health and safety concerns, the GDC will remain a virtual event for this year. GDC 2021 takes place from July 19 to 23.