Plasma- and ion-assisted methods of surface modification have been studied for over three decades in the field of metals, semiconductors, ceramics, polymers, etc. A large number of different methods and approaches exist. A typical factor is the exploitation of the beneficial effects of ion bombardment on material surfaces. The methods have been developed into industrial processes for the manufacture of electronic materials and of protective coatings and surface treatments for metals. New methods, such as plasma-based ion implantation, have recently been developed, indicating the speed at which techniques are currently advancing. A survey has been carried out of plasma- and ion-assisted methods of surface modification. A total of 44 people working in industry or research answered a series of questions on the present situation and future prospects in the field. For example, comments were requested on the following aspects relating to the particular methods used. (1) An evaluation of the current state of the art and the future of the method. (2) The major force driving the development process. (3) The major difficulties in commercialization. (4) The major theoretical challenges associated with the method. The answers received and comments given were analysed to form a picture of the current situation in the field of plasma- and ion-assisted methods of surface modification, and a view of the future for the community. This paper provides a summary of the results.