Independent studios may show a preference for PC development for a variety of reasons, but highly successful studios are leaning toward mobile and freemium revenue models, according to a Unity report.
The Unity 2018 Game Studios Report surveyed 1,445 leads of creative, independent studios worldwide. The survey consisted both of studios using Unity and using other engines, and the teams ranged in size from 2 to 50 employees.
Over half of those surveyed (57%) said they were working in mobile, and the top-ranking studios (based on DAUs and revenue) were more frequently working in mobile than on on other platforms. 72% of those polled were working on PC, and a surprising 40% were working in VR or AR, indicating a growing rise in independent studios interested in the medium.
Though some studios had contracts with other companies to develop games and others were working with publishers, 67% are self-publishing their games. Over half will publish and sell their games using premium paid models, and 36% will use a freemium model. Freemium models, like mobile, were more common among those studios that had already seen what Unity referred to as "top-ranked" success.
Across the board, budgets were small. 61% of those surveyed said heir budgets came from freelancing or self-funding, and over three-fourths operated on a budget under $200,000. Only 9% had a budget over $500,000.
As for promoting their games, when asked which channels had the most positive impact on their game's promotion, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube ranked at the top (in that order). In-app advertising, community forums, and digital advertising all received the fewest votes.