Wii U Death Watch: Only 5 Percent Of Developers Making Games For Nintendo

By Jordan Mammo , Feb 28, 2013 04:05 PM EST

The Nintendo Wii U is in a (very) rough patch right now, and if recent news is any indication, its struggles are going to continue for a while.

A new survey conducted by the organizers behind the Game Developers Conference finds that only 4.6 percent of North American video game creators are currently working on Wii U titles. The number doesn't look much better when you zoom out, as only 6.4 percent of those said their next game would be available on Nintendo's new system.

Needless to say, those numbers aren't very good. They're about 50 percent lower than the numbers current-gen systems are pulling in, and highlight the tough time Nintendo has had in fielding a diverse game line-up.

The survey consisted of more than 2,500 North American game developers that either participated in GDC 2012 or are planning to attend GDC 2013 next month. The conference isn't set to start until March 25, but organizers are already preparing for the get-together and trying to patch together an image of the industry's current state.

For context, the survey finds that most of the interest in consoles is still directed at Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. About 13.2 percent of developers said they were working on 360, while Sony's PS3 also accounted for 13 percent of the workload. What's more, new consoles on the horizon didn't seem to affect the targeted platforms too much, since 14 percent and 12.4 percent of those surveyed said Xbox 360 and PS3 would be home to their next game, too.

As for the PS4 and oft-rumored Xbox 720, 11 percent of developers said they were already working on games for those systems.

Even if you add all these numbers up, you've got quite a way to go before reaching 100 percent. So what are all the other developers working on?

In what's surely a sign of the times, 58 percent of GDC-attending developers are working toward releasing their games on tablets and smartphones. More than 50 percent of them considered themselves indie, and 46 percent said they work with less than 10 people.

For all the talk of game budgets blowing up and of the massive teams required to make games these days, it seems like those resources are increasingly used only by projects backed by major publishers. GDC tends to skew toward smaller developers, but it looks like there hasn't been a better time to try your hand at indie development.

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