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Wwise audio middleware is now free to use -- within limits
Wwise audio middleware is now free to use -- within limits
March 11, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

March 11, 2014 | By Alex Wawro
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Montreal-based audio middleware firm Audiokinetic is the latest company to makes its software freely available -- on a limited basis -- in a show of support for indie developers.

The company announced today via press release that it now offers a Limited Commercial License for its Wave Works Interactive Sound Engine (Wwise) audio software, which has been used in games like Dishonored, Remember Me and Zoo Tycoon.

The new license grants holders the right to use Wwise for free -- as long as their project uses less than fewer 200 sound files and is built for Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, iOS, Android or Windows Phone 8.

If you exceed those limits, you'll need to purchase a Wwise license for your game in accordance with Audiokinetic's complex pricing system.

"We’ve been discussing this program with hundreds of indie teams over the last few months, and the response has been overwhelmingly good," stated Audiokinetic representative Mike Drummelsmith in the press release. "After consulting with them, we opted to tie this free license to the project’s aural complexity, rather than a more static metric like budget."

Audiokinetic competitor Firelight Technologies announced yesterday that it was making its FMOD suite of audio tools completely free for use by indie developers, so the move to make Wwise free on a limited basis may be a (welcome) response to that announcement.

Previously, developers could use Wwise for free under the restraints of a Wwise for Non-Commercial Products license to create prototypes, academic projects, and any other non-commercial works.


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Comments


Grant Moore
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Basing the free license on an arbitrary number of audio sources seems like it introduces an unnecessary concern right from the start. The purpose of a free license is to attract people to the software such that they learn how it works and become comfortable with it as they move into larger scope projects. Personally, I wouldn't want to risk limiting the creativity of the project. FMOD's license makes more sense to me, by basing it on budget you have a clear distinction of when you must pay for a license and that decision is on the business side of things, not directly affecting the creative. Another free license and software to choose from is great, I just wish they had gone with the license based on budget.

Mike Drummelsmith
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Grant - you make great points. We actually bounced around between the two, but after talking with a lot of developers who are at the really small end of the mobile and PC space, we realized that there are a TON of developers out there who have reasonably simple audio needs (think that wide world of match-3 games, endless runners, etc.) that don't even realize that they can benefit from using a tool like Wwise. In fact, with the recognition we have at the higher-end PC and console space, it was pretty eye-opening to us to meet so many small developers who had no clue what Wwise even was!

Some of these games have decent budgets (teams of 4-5 people, with nice art, etc.) but only have 20-50 sound files. They'd naturally fall within our mid-tier licensing, which potentially makes it cost-restrictive for them. By making it free for this type of team, we open things up to learn the tool and really start to expand their audio designs for future games. Then, if they do go beyond that 200 sound 'ceiling', the tiered pricing (tied to production budget) kicks in to keep things affordable all along their development path from game to game. And, of course, we're also very approachable and friendly folk, so if a team is really developing something cool audio-wise, we encourage them to engage with us to find ways to make a full license fit within their means!

In a way, each approach has some faults, but we did have really good feedback from the mobile and PC devs that we've talked to over the last several months.


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