The PC is the favored platform among game devs in the US and Europe

Character sits at computer
(Image credit: Obsidian)

The PC is still the most popular gaming platform, at least among North American and European game developers.

Each year, the Game Developers Conference conducts a poll of several thousand developers for a "State of the Game Industry" report. That report, which the GDC has conducted for the past 8 years, helps reveal current trends and shifts in interest among game developers around the world. The poll data for 2021, sourced from more than 3,000 game developers, shows some good news for the state of PC gaming, both now and in the future.

According to the GDC's poll, 58% of game developers asked "which platform(s) most interest you as a developer right now?" picked the PC. Note that this doesn't exclude interest in other platforms: respondents to the poll could choose more than one option, so devs could select as many platforms as they wanted. But it shows the PC leads all other platforms when it comes to developer interest.

The same percentage (58%) responded that their last project was released on PC and that their current project was planned for PC. Meanwhile, 53% said their next project is being developed for PC, too. I don't think we've worried much about the PC as a platform for at least a decade or so (though the absurd idea that 'PC gaming is dying' still circulates from time to time), but it's always nice to have a little data to reinforce our belief that the PC is the best platform for games.

Compare 2021 to last year's poll results, and it's a bit of an increase, with 50% of responding developers saying the PC interested them most as a platform in 2020.

Second place in the 2021 poll, leading the consoles in terms of developer interest, is the PlayStation 5, with 44% of developers selecting it, followed by the Nintendo Switch (38%), and the Xbox Series X/S (30%). Not great news for Stadia: only 6% showed interest in developing for Google's streaming platform.

The poll also shows that when it comes to VR and AR, there was a bit of a decline: the percentage of devs working on a VR or AR game was 46% in 2020, while in 2021 it's dropped to 38%. The Oculus Quest, however, was picked as the VR platform with the most interest by 52% of the developers polled.

It's definitely worth noting the demographics of the developers polled: Most were based in North America (57%) and Europe (26%), with only 8% in Asia, 5% in South America, 2% in Australia and New Zealand, and %1 in Africa. As GDC is US-based, it's a very Western-centric poll, and the results might be considerably different if more devs from other regions were surveyed.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.