Unity Tech. unveils a complex new pricing scheme, more subscriptions

Basically, the highlights include

  • The cost of Unity Pro is rising and is largely going to be subscription-only now
  • However, you can ‘own’ Unity Pro by purchasing a 24-36 month pre-paid subscription package (costing up to 4500 USD, that is until support ends of course).
  • People who don’t want to pay that much can go down to the subscription-only Unity Plus tier, you get the dark skin and some of the analytic features, but you will still have to make due with Unity’s splashscreen whenever your game starts (though the rumor is that Unity Tech. is mulling a semi-customizable splashscreen for that version, whatever they mean by ‘semi’ anyway).
  • The Plus and Pro tiers also give you mobile support at no additional cost, but technically you’re paying more anyway
  • The free version remains unchanged with the sharply reduced services and no professional-looking skin for the UI.
  • Supposedly, Unity Tech. has added another a new limitation for the Free and Plus versions in the form of how many players can be supported at once in a multiplayer game (not sure if this only impacts those using Unity’s official services or not). Considering that some developers would already be over it with their games, they may either have to downscale their multiplayer ambitions or upgrade to a paid tier.

If the comments are any indication, a lot of people are already announcing that they plan to leave Unity behind and so this could be good news for Unreal, Cryengine, Lumberyard, Godot, and just about any other high quality engine currently out there (yes, it could benefit everyone in the case of a exodus from Unity simply because of their massive userbase).

That’s 3000$ price increase,

If I remember correctly, UE4 will support complete level fbx import on 4.13 or 4.14.
That was the biggest downside compared to Unity.

And it seems Unity acts just how I predicted in the past, making all the mistakes I told.

Not really, it’s the same as the perpetual licenses for Desktop, iOS and Android combined (1500$ each). You just don’t have the option of individual purchasing anymore.

Also, it’s 4500$ over a commitment span of 36 months at 125$ each, whereas with current rental there’s a 12 month commitment at 75$ per platform without ownership.

Therefore, if you publish to both mobile platforms, you benefit from the changes in every scenario. If you publish to only one mobile platform, you still benefit if you have a subscription or maybe if you would’ve updated within the 36 months.

The real losers here are those publishing only to the Desktop.

But still though

I am not a game developer but why wouldn’t you go for UE4?

Having read some of the comments, they’re mostly the usual ramblings about engine sore points, “wrong focus” and the splash screen.

Unity knows its customer base and they know what they’re doing. No stable business (likely having already invested multiple manyears into Unity) is going to jump ship just because a seat now costs 125$ instead of an amortized 40$ or so. Compared to the cost of labor (and other licenses), that increase is modest.

If you’ve already invested in Unity, the cost of switching is much higher than the price increase (if you suffer it at all). If you’re just starting out, Unity is just as free as before. If you want to then get rid of the splash screen, that’ll be 12*125$, please.

There’s pros and cons to every engine, it does to some degree boil down to taste, but they’re all terrible in their own unique ways. UE4 in particular is still a hog, building just takes forever, iteration is slower, there’s no proper scripting language (actual programmers tend to dislike visual scripting), you need to use C++ and the live code reloading is just shabby compared to Unity (another consequence of C++).

Of course, a big bonus for UE4 is the source code availability, but then who wants to edit such an ungodly pile of C++?

What did they change in free and personal version? Don’t you have the acces to the same content but as you start making money then you have to pay the fee ?

The free version is unchanged, it’s just that the price for Pro is going up by a significant amount if you only needed one or two of the three major platform groups they support (and as a result, it’s squeezing out a number of the small indie developers who now have to downgrade to Plus or even the Free version and contend with a “Made with Unity” splash. The same developers that helped build Unity into the monolithic engine it is today in terms of developer numbers and marketshare).

Actually that is in 4.12 which is coming in a few days (!).


That’s another thing that seems to be concerning, most of the employee comments to people in the blog article are so generic one wonders if they’re really listening.

Half the complaints would largely disappear if they did the rather simple thing of enabling custom splashscreens for the Plus version (or no splash at all). Most of the rest would disappear if Plus and Pro had a perpetual license option. Simple changes that could be made to encourage thousands of developers to jump from the free version to a paid license, but will they take that opportunity?

Then once they made the perfect pricing model, they can further defend their current position by massively streamlining the alleged bureaucracy that is their bugfixing department (user makes report, manager checks it, dev. is informed, patch is made, patch is tested, patch spends a week or two winding through the QA department, repeat steps 4 through 6 a few times if needed, patch either gets eaten by the system or it makes it into Unity a few weeks later. Blender user reports bug, bug sometimes gets fixed within a few hours, what gives).

Of course that would be all be useless if the Unity developers have not been paying attention to the state of the source code (ie. refactoring areas when needed). I did see a comment in the Godot forums once from Reduz mentioning how Unity features get stacked on top of each other, and as such the development is unsustainable. Considering what Unity users are reporting already, their future is in big trouble if they continue with that and the engine’s foundation caves in.

Is it possible to make a game with free version and upgrade to pro later?

@brus > Yes. you can. Going to pro you make one year of commitment. so 125 * 12.

The thing is I like Unity for start ups, you can work on your game half-time or with a very small group (2-3) without the pro version. Then switch to pro at the end of beta. However once your team is around 10 people I might need to access the source for some extended development ? You have to pay extra for that (and I’m not sure how much - does anybody have info on this ?).
Also there is the issue of currency exchange rates for developers outside of US / Europe. A one year of subscription ($1500) costs x3 in my currency. A team of 10 people would bring unnecessary extra cost per year. The old perpetual license option solved this issue of currency exchange.

It’s basically a paycheck, for a company, for the pro version.

From a business point of view, a good reason is royalties.


Once you ship your game or application, you pay Epic 5% of gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product per calendar quarter.

With Unity, there are no royalties at all.

Still, with royalties you only pay when you’re actually making money. With Unity there’s no such guarantee.

Eeh, big bonus is not source code. It’s the tools, the docs, the community and support level that are quite better than what Unity has to offer.

Not to mention you don’t pay anything to Epic if you earn less than certain amount quarterly, which is super awesome for small/mobile devs.

In that case, you can use the free version during the development and then switch to Pro if you wish.

Really? I doubt that is Unity’s official position. And how does that work in teams? For an outsider that licensing system looks like a mess.

If you are at an office with 10 people strong team, each can use free version of Unity. However, if you need to use any team (collaboration) features, you’d have to upgrade to a Pro version and pay 12 x $125 x 10 (that in 1 year only).

Unity free is ok for lone developers making less than 100k per year and not using any advanced analytics or collaboration tools, or expansive MP functionality.