I know. It’s been a while. I’m sorry. But – I’ve now compiled numbers from 2013 and 2014 and added them to the stats. “But, Y U NO 2015?!” I hear you ask — because 2015 isn’t done yet, and since I’ve only dealt with full year data sets earlier, I see no reason to change that now. In other words, you’ll have to wait for the 2015-numbers until 2015 is over.
Anyhoo, without further whatever, here are the updated charts, with some accompanying observations..
Demoparties / events
One way to take the pulse of the scene is to look at the amount of demoscene events happening each year. This chart shows the number of registered parties (with releases!) from 1984 to 2014 – 30 years of demo parties! TL;DR: after hitting the lowest point ever in 2010 (63 parties), it seems to have stabilized around roughly 72-75 parties. There appears to be an ever so slight correlation between the amount of parties and amount of releases, but it’s impossible to say for sure (or even which way it would correlate).
Active demo groups
Another way to look at the activity level is to see how many groups are associated with productions / releases in any given year. Here is a graph showingthe amount of active groups from 1978 to 2014. TL;DR: the number of groups is on a slow but steady decline, which has been going on more or less uninterrupted since the high point in 1996 (1071 groups), in 2014 there were 549.
Total demoscene production output, all platforms
Alright, now we get to the meat of it. This is the go-to chart for people interested in the overall state of the creative output of the scene. TL;DR: the scene is still alive, chugging along at the same pulse as it’s had for the last four years or so. Building on my hypothesis of the previous few years, I can now with high certainty conclude that it has plateaued (with a slight increase in the last two years). Both 2013 and 2014 had the exact same amount of prods: 909.
Let’s break these down into the individual platforms used to compile the overall number. TL;DR: for the last few years there seems to be an amusing correlation between C64 and Windows prods. When the one goes up, the other goes down, and vice versa. Could it be that the most active C64 people are closet Windows demo makers or the other way around? :) Also: from 2012 to 2013 we can observe good growth in the popularity of the web platform (jumping from 23 in 2012 up to 112 in 2013), which then took a bit of a dive in 2014 (down to 85). It’s interesting to see that the web briefly overtook Amiga as a demo platform in 2013.
Let’s remove Windows, the dominant platform, and see what’s going on underneath the surface of the other platforms. I’ve limited this graph to the last decade (2004 – 2014) for clarity. TL;DR: Amiga is back, in a big way! If this trend continues, the Amiga might, for the first time in history, overtake the C64 as the second most popular demoscene platform (after Windows). Note: this data is from Pouet.net – it does not include other sources which might have more detailed C64 release data, so don’t go all flameparty on me, okay?
Alright, so let’s dive further down into what kind of productions are being made and not just on which platforms they are released. TL;DR: 4k intros still in decline (24% down over the last four years), 64k intros (10% up and down over the same period) have stabilized, and demos are seeing a slow but steady increase (25% up from 2011 to 2014).
Overall, demoscene output has indeed stabilized, which is nice. The large decline we’ve seen starting at the beginning of this decade has stopped. Differentiation seems to flourish in the platforms, but not in the type of productions (as in: there’s a consistent creative output, mostly of demos, but people appear to be moving between platforms). There does not appear to be any significant increase in overall activity (as in: not a lot of new people are joining the scene and making things though there are some exceptions), and if the demoscene is to survive / thrive once more, this needs to change.
My hope is that the new possibilites in the web platforms will serve as a new jumping-on point for fresh talent. We see it already, with sites like Shadertoy being really popular, so the question is: should those types of things be included in the scene rather than the scene expecting people to “graduate” to stand-alone demos? I leave that question with you, the reader.
If you are looking for some cool prods to watch, I would recommend you visit curio.scene.org. Special thanks to Gargaj for helping me with extracting data from Pouet.net, of which these statistics are based.
If you’d like to have a chat about this or anything else you think I’ll find interesting, then by all means, hit me up on Twitter: @gloom303