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Unity's mobile licenses are now free
May 21, 2013 | By Mike Rose

May 21, 2013 | By Mike Rose
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    40 comments
More: Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing, Video



Unity Technologies, the company behind the popular Unity game development engine, today announced that it has made its basic mobile tools completely free to independent developers and small studios.

From today, any indie developers can publish their games and apps on iOS and Android via Unity's build menu. Not only that, but additional mobile platforms like BlackBerry and Windows Phone 8 will also be free to publish for once Unity support is released.

The basic license originally cost $800 for both iOS and Android combined, but by making the licence free, Unity says that it is "looking to take steps towards creative and fiscal freedom." Those developers looking to make use of the Pro license, which introduces additional features, will still need to pay a subscription.

"We were able to make Unity free for the web and for desktop computers a while ago, but have been dreaming of doing the same for mobile for what seems like forever," explained David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies.

"Mobile games development is possibly the most dynamic and exciting industry in the world, and its an honor to be able to help so many developers be so successful in fulfilling their visions and in building their businesses."

Update: Unity CEO David Helgason has given more information on the Unity blog, explaining that the free mobile version is an extension of Unity Free, which was originally launched in 2009.

"As before, companies and other 'incorporated entities' (you know who you are) with a turnover in excess of $100,000 in their previous fiscal year are required to use our paid version," he explains. "That way, we can keep the lights on and continue to make Unity better for everyone."

He also noted that Unity will soon be reaching out to those developers who purchased basic add-ons in the 30 days before they went free, to offer discounts on future purchases. Read more in the official blog post.


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Comments


James Coote
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I hope this includes OUYA as well (since it's based on Android)

Alex Rose
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OUYA just takes generic APK files, so it will.

Alex Rose
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This is fantastic news!

Phil Maxey
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And here's me thinking the biggest news today would be a new console.

Ole Berg Leren
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$400 to build to Android or iOS each was a bit of a large barrier of entry for a student like myself, so this is great news!

Albertus Agung
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I Agree that it is such a BIG news for us, game developer in education. We'd like to appreciate for those who make this happen. :)

Adam Dera
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This will lift Unity to next level again. Great move expanding the market, expanding the community and the knowledge base in the long term. For really small indie devs, like us at cameleon-labs, this will mean switching from the 3.5.7 mobile licenses to 4.1 immediately :)

Chris Estevez
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Fantastic news! I think they should consider Project Anarchy a real menace, its a big coincidence they set it free when the mobile port of a well known game engine is about to be released for free.

Caleb Garner
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Unity is more than likely benefiting from the Unity Asset Store and the more mobile developers in there the more people will find tools and resources to purchase.

It is likely that their same reason for making the initial version of unity free.. their sales were coming from pro licenses.. they were not making much money in the indie version anyway.. and the more indie users there are, the more likely those developers will upgrade to pro.

I've never heard of PA.. i don't imagine that's really that big a factor.. if anything Unreal's liberal licensing was a bigger drive.. because that's an engine being used on a large scale.. well known and had $0 to make mobile games as i understand it (up to a sizable revenue point)

Kirill Yarovoy
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Not that i dont like its free now. But it feels frustrating, because i paid year ago for 5 Android and iOs licenses... and now its free.
Companies at least should compensate looses to people who paid before that something became free, i dont mean they should give me my money back, but at least as gesture of appeciation they should give me equal number of full advanced licenses for Unity, or 50% discount or get 50% less of royalties from me.
Otherwise it feels like i wasted money for nothing :-(

Thomas Grove
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It is commonplace to buy a new tv model only to have the new price (let alone used price) slashed a year later.

What feels like paying money for nothing is having someone walk into your living room while you were upstairs and walk away with 2 ipads and a macbook pro. Happened to us yesterday.

Brett M
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They have previously given them away free in March 2012 for a month.

http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/126304-Unity-iOS-and-Android-Bas
ic-licenses-FREE-until-April-8th

Joe E
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Honestly, I never understand this posture. You wasted "money for nothing"? How about *a full year* to make games? *That* is what you paid for, before it became free! Ever heard of opportunity cost?
And they are doing something like you said, to people that bought it in the last 30 days (and from experience, if you bought it 40 days ago, just drop them a note and they'll honor it.)

Elisabeth Beinke-Schwartz
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Did you buy the indie or pro version though? They're only offering the indie version for free. Nevertheless, you did get a whole year with the paid version.

Bernardo Del Castillo
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Well I understand Kirill, I mean, I'm not going up in arms about it but I upgraded to unity iOS and Android 4 only two months ago.. sure, some people can scoff at the investment but its not minor in my current situation.

It was the same back in 3.. when I first putchased both iOS and Android Licenses, and 3 months later, both of them went free, not even a thanks for my purchase... and I had to pay again for 4... so yeah.. Tried to contact them and never heard back...

It is different when you purchase a tv that you know will devaluate with time, this is nullification: purchasing something and realizing that the money you spent could have fully gone into something else, having the same result. As Thomas Grove says, this is more akin to getting ripped off. Too bad, but it's true. I upgraded to unity 4 just a few months ago, but I don't qualify for discounts?

Yeah I'm a bit burnt by this move too... its great for everyone who didn't have the option before.. but being that ive spent almost 1000 bux for licenses I could have gotten for free almost instantly... I cant help but feel slightly cheated...
I guess, like everything it's tough luck.. tough luck but we're moving away from unity when we get the chance.

Brett M
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It's not so useful because there's no Static Batching or Occlusion Culling. Almost any small game will have a high number of draw calls, tris, and be unable to run on older phones.

You'll need to find a custom batching script (http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/113508-Batching-Tools) on the asset store, and see if there's a custom occlusion script too.

Also, no pathfinding or light probes.

It was never worth the $400.

Phil Maxey
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I haven't really had time to get into Unity yet, but I think this is more aimed at 2D games done with Unity?

Joe E
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"It's not so useful because there's no Static Batching or Occlusion Culling. Almost any small game will have a high number of draw calls, tris, and be unable to run on older phones."

They didn't have these features in Unity iPhone 1.0, so we had to write our own. *gasp*!

"It was never worth the $400."

My ROI would like to disagree.

Toby Grierson
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Pathfinding is overwhelmingly easier to write yourself than a graphics engine thoroughly tested on a plethora of GPUs and devices. And frankly the static batching is neither critical nor hard to conjure up yourself too.

You're either pro and $400 is a pittance compared to the labor to reproduce these things, or you're not and you might as well let things batch dynamically.

David Klingler
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This is wonderful news for those of us that don't have much money to spend on tools, although, as Kirill Yaravoy said in his above comment, it's not a great gesture towards those that recently paid for their licenses. I remember id software had some solution to that issue back when they would license their engines and then make them free later. Perhaps they can offer free pro upgrades to those that purchased the licenses recently.

Mike Murray
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This is really good news. I didn't upgrade to Unity 4 because my Android license only covered 3.x.

Mike Weldon
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My thoughts exactly.

Krishna Teja
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Great news for new developers who want to get into 3D game development (and 2D too).

Ashkan Saeedi Mazdeh
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They are really doing a great move. I can understand you will not feel happy when you bought something and it becomes free but it happens to anything but it doesn't become free, it becomes available with a lower price.

It's good for unity as well. They've seen the effect when they gave away free basic mobile licenses last march.

Phil Maxey
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Anyone know where you download the basic iOS/Android license? can't see it anywhere on the site.

Phil Maxey
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Ok found it, you just need to do check for updates within the Unity GUI.

Mark Troyer
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Well done David Helgason. I think you've just converted a lot more devs away from Air + Starling.

Caleb Garner
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David, 1984 called. They want their collar back.

John Purdy
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As awesome as this is, I can just imagine how much more shovelware is going to be on the Android Marketplace now that any joe blow can develop for it

Kevin Nolan
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Excellent! I was just hitting the dilemma of whether to come up with the goods for a Pro License and Pro smartphone license, or go with free Unity and 260 pounds smartphone. Now I can go for the Free license without having to worry if I'll lose that 260 quid should I find it's not sufficient for my needs.

Jonnathan Hilliard
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Awesome news, and great to see them holding true to their values. Well done Mr. Helgason

Ryan Christensen
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Storm the front! Unity is doing good here, also it hooks people as you really need Pro to launch a game with plugins/network etc.

John Trauger
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...and there was much rejoicing.

Eric Salmon
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Hah! I was just talking about the licensing fees today. Great news!

Tom Hughes
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I spend the last 6 months learning OpenGL ES, beating my head against my keyboard writing 3D model loaders and parsers, shaders and render queues and then they go and do this?! GAH!

Brian Tsukerman
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Wonderful! Now it's a great tool for anyone to start working with.

I promise to pay for the full version if I earn $100,000+. In fact, I'll even buy several copies.

John-Mark Ferguson
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Well done UNITY!

Dan Saundberg
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I have to say UNITY is a company that did everything right. Kudos for a great company, great people and above all an excellent product.

Dominique Da Costa
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Such a great news ! I've worked a lot to be able to use only free features in my game, so I'm very happy with this news. Hope I will have to pay the pro price once I will reach the 100000 limit ! Thanks a lot Unity.

Robert Locher
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Check out my indiegogo.com campaign to learn how to use these licenses! http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/game-production-education/x/369
1578


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