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The future of the metaverse is either nothing or Fortnite, this year’s GDC survey reckons

The survey sought responses on issues such as harassment and new tech

Devs seem to think that Epic Games' whirlwind of pop cultural cross-pollination Fortnite is the game best positioned to deliver the vision of the metaverse to us, the Game Developers Conference have revealed. The results of the GDC’s 11th annual State Of The Industry survey were released this week. The survey checked in with more than 2,300 developers to pick their brains on contentious issues facing gaming, ranging from unionisation and harassment to, erm, blockchain.

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Epic Games and Fortnite landed 14% of the vote when devs were asked which company and game are best placed to bring the concept of the metaverse to life. For those who are still a little fuzzy on what the metaverse actually is, it’s essentially a big interconnected, snazzily presented virtual world that we can all pretend we live in. Y'know, rather than the increasingly awkward and polluted real one. It's like Love Island, but for nerds. Fortnite won out against Minecraft (7%), Meta’s Horizon Worlds (7%), Roblox (aww bless, 5%), and Google and Apple tied at 3% each. VRChat and Nvidia also got a few nods.

The Fortnite 14% were rather dramatically outvoted by another 45% of respondents though, who just thought the metaverse would never really go anywhere. That’s up from 33% last year. This year’s sassy batch of sceptical developers reckoned that there's still a few potential problems for the metaverse to overcome, see. Among these were the unclear concept – Nerd Island, natch – and technical concerns such as the lack of real interactivity, and expensive hardware.

A huge 91% of devs who filled in the survey felt that player harassment and threatening behaviour towards them was a major issue for the industry. Confirming a horrible trend that's been bubbling away for years, 40% of developers who answered the GDC survey said they'd either been subjected to abuse from players or had witnessed it happening to other devs. Women and non-binary devs were more likely than men to have been harassed or seen it taking place, as were people who identified as LGBTQ+. All in all, it doesn't paint a very pleasant image of the treatment that devs working in the industry can expect from those outside it.

Other outcomes from the GDC 2023 survey noted a trend towards hybrid work schedules, and the continued power of work from home seen during 2020 and 2021. You can request a copy of the full survey results yourself here, if you provide your email and details.

This year’s GDC takes place from March 20th to 23rd at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.

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CJ Wheeler avatar

CJ Wheeler

Former News Reporter

CJ used to write about steam locomotives but now covers Steam instead. Likes visual novels, most things with dungeons and/or crawling, and any shooter with a suitably chunky shotgun. He’s from Yorkshire, which means he’s legally obliged to enjoy a cup of tea and a nice sit down.