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As I mentioned previously, in preparation for the Game Developers Conference 2010 Atlassian decided to survey our game development customers to find out a little more about their teams and how they use our tools. The survey was sent to almost 600 customers at over 150 different game development companies and we got responses from over 35 different companies.
Some of the results where not surprising, like most people using our tools for bug tracking, project tracking and agile project management; however, we did discover a few unexpected trends about our game development customers.

Game development teams

As expected, over 80% of respondents have more than 50 users working with our tools with most teams or projects having more than 25 users. A handful of teams are small enough to take advantage of Atlassian’s starter licensing ($10 for 10-users).

Game Development Companies      Game Development Teams

Tool and process usage

With most of our game development customers using JIRA, it’s no surprise that bug tracking, testing and project tracking were amongst the leading use cases. I was a bit surprised to see well over half of the respondents using our tools for agile planning (62.8%), specifically Scrum and/or Scrum hybrids, like Scrumban. We typically see a lot of waterfall development processes in game development, especially for the bigger console-based titles that have a large number of upfront requirements and inflexible milestone dates. Agile methodologies are making significant in-roads with the growth of social games (e.g. Mafia Wars for Facebook) which tend to release at high frequency (multiple times a week or even daily).

Game Development Usage      Game Development Practices

Gaming platforms and development languages

It appears that most Atlassian customers build games for the Windows-based PCs and the major consoles: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii. Other large markets for game developers using Atlassian tools includes mobile platforms like the iPhone, and social networks such as FaceBook and Myspace. Over half of the respondents develop in C++, C# and Python programming languages. There were also several write-ins with PHP, Flash and scripting languages (Javascript) getting more than one mention.

Game Development Platforms      Game Development Languages

Tools of the trade

I was not surprised at all to see Perforce (over 70%) leading the way as far as version control systems were concerned, but it was very interesting that no respondents used VSS or TFS given that Microsoft Visual Studio is used by over 80% of respondents. At least most of our customers will be happy with our recent beta releases of the Atlassian Connector for Visual Studio (v1.0) and Eclipse (v2.0).

Game Development Source Control      Game Development IDE

It was also not too surprising that the plugins of choice for most respondents were related to agile planning (GreenHopper) and source code integration (FishEye).
Game Development Plugins

What do you think?

Do any of these results surprise you? Do you think this represents game development as you know it? Please share your thoughts below.

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