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Aimed at the professionals who are there in the industry, what is the game development market shifting towards? Web-based or Mobile or Consoles/PCs. I have developed a decent knowledge of JavaScript and html5 so i want to know if this is entirely useful(on a game development perspective) or maybe i should learn some other language from scratch?

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-1; this is an overly broad discussion oriented question (as well as being kind of time-sensitive). See the FAQ. – Josh Petrie Nov 8 '11 at 16:09
up vote 11 down vote accepted

From what I've read, the PC market continues to grow, while next-gen consoles have had their releases delayed for some time in major part due to the recession. The ability to improve your PC hardware bit-by-bit, on the other hand, means an easier buy for those with limited funds, aside from the age old argument that PCs have better overall value than consoles anyway, since they are usable for work -- which counts in hard times ;)

C/C++ remain the industry standard, preceded (chronologically) only by assembly language, which is still used for performance-critical code -- albeit far less so now that GPUs pack so much heat. If you can use the former two effectively, you can use just about language you set your heart on, including the GPU shader languages which are C-based.

JS/HTML5 is certainly growing, but the limitations on fully-implemented HTML5 features across browsers, and the fact that JS will always be an interpreted, managed language means that as fast as it may get, it will never pull maximal performance from a machine the way that native code can. I recently ported some Flash code to C++ for a 15x performance increase, for instance, meaning that much more AI and dynamic environment logic I can fit in on the side -- and across multiple cores. Gameplay is king (regardless of tech used), but getting the most bang for your performance buck is a huge part of what game development is about, for this reason.

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I do have a fundamental knowledge of C++ but, its what i do at work. Nothing related to gaming or even designing as a matter of fact. – Ashwin Krishnamurthy Nov 8 '11 at 13:25
It might be a good idea to leverage that, given your "hidden agenda" ;) ... you are in a better position than most, to get a solid grasp on the most popular tool(s) in the "serious" games industry. – Arcane Engineer Nov 8 '11 at 13:43
The first paragraph is very insightful. +1. – Jonathan Dickinson Nov 8 '11 at 22:17
@NickWiggill Thanks for that. +1 for the last para. – Ashwin Krishnamurthy Nov 9 '11 at 1:39
Note that some other really growing languages are GLSL/Cg/HLSL and OpenCL/CUDA. – sam hocevar Dec 14 '11 at 14:02

It's not helpful to think of it as one market. There are different markets for different sectors and different companies work within each, some across several. Generally speaking web-based games are rapidly rising but that doesn't mean your Javascript and HTML knowledge will help you at a typical game development company.

maybe i should learn some other language from scratch?

This implies that you have a hidden agenda that you didn't actually state in the question, eg. to get into the game development industry. If that is the case then you need to decide which part of the industry you want to be in, because the Farmville end is very different from the Modern Warfare end, which is very different from the Braid end, and so on.

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True. That was my "hidden agenda" as you say. So you are telling me its no good to compare any of these sectors? Google claims to have ported&played quake3 using html5 in a browser (i dunno about its authenticity, but i read it somewhere)under the assumption that it is entirely js/HTML5, this is the kind of JS/HTML5 development i'm talking about. – Ashwin Krishnamurthy Nov 8 '11 at 13:37
It really depends on what you want. If you want to work for a traditional AAA studio then they're not going to be using HTML5 for Battlefield 4. But if your main interest is just to be coding games then there are more and more places using web tech to do that. They just don't tend to have much to do with the traditional games industry. The people porting Quake 3 are, as you say, the likes of Google who are trying to promote the web, not the likes of ID Software, who are interested in developing new game tech. – Kylotan Nov 8 '11 at 13:46
+1 for naming 3 very different, but very high quality examples of 3 of the different sub-industries: facebook, AAA, indie. – DampeS8N Nov 8 '11 at 14:12

The game industry is not shifting, exactly; it's just that different sides of it are doing different things. Most individual teams in the industry haven't changed what they're doing; just that some teams are growing, and others are shrinking.

What is happening right now is a combination of four simultaneous movements happening in three different parts of the industry:

  1. Increasing costs to develop top-tier games is reducing the number of top-tier games which can be produced, and this in turn limits the amount of experimentation which companies can afford to perform on these games. The mainstream game industry is currently in the process of shrinking, with designs that are contracting around FPS games. This has been a slow process which has been going on for the past decade or so (although consoles are relatively new to that party; they had been contracting around God-of-War-style brawlers until only perhaps five years ago).
  2. Middle-tier games (mostly) stopped being financially viable with the crash of the US dollar during the GFC. Studios which produced these middle-tier games have now mostly vanished, or else moved into contracting work to support the top-tier games being made by other studios.
  3. Increasing (and frighteningly high) revenues from pairing addictive (in the gambling sense) game mechanics with micro payments is leading to a lot of smaller and/or simpler games in web browsers and mobile devices. This part of the industry is currently (rapidly) growing, despite ethical concerns raised by some observers.
  4. Decreasing costs and expanding market for games for mobile devices, combined with a lot of talent being suddenly unemployed (see #2, above), is leading to a huge increase in the number of small one-or-two-man development studios.
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+1 very comprehensive. – Ashwin Krishnamurthy Nov 9 '11 at 1:43

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