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Are you OK with Purchasing WebGL Add-On?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jon_Malave, Mar 20, 2014.

?

Are you OK with Purchasing WebGL Add-On?

  1. YES, Sure No Problem I'll Pay Extra for WebGL

    12.5%
  2. NO, WebGL Should be Free Just like Unity Web Player

    87.5%
  1. Jon_Malave

    Jon_Malave

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    I want to take a Vote of how many of you Loyal Unity Developers here are OK with the idea of Unity slapping a price tag on WebGL.

    Even if you Purchase Unity PRO you still need to pay extra to gain access to WebGL.

    What are your thoughts? :confused: Please Vote!

    (edit by moderator: WebGL will be free of charge in 5.0, see blog post)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2014
    carmel399 likes this.
  2. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Yeah. They're not a charity.

    Perhaps if/once it's a standardised tech I might prefer if they dropped web player support in favor of bringing WebGL into the standard package. But until then - and that'll be quite a while away - it's a new platform that's fair enough to treat as such.

    Also, I really don't want to "kill the golden goose" so to speak. Unity gives us plenty of value as it is. Unity can't give us anything if they go broke as a result of doing too much R&D and not making enough of a return on it.
     
  3. Jon_Malave

    Jon_Malave

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    Yes, I see and understand your point... but since it is a new technology! it would make alot more sense to at least provide us with Development Preview Access to WebGL, similar to what they did with Flash... but that's not what their saying at all. I'm suppose to drop extra cash for an Add-On technology that I don't know I will be happy with or not?
     
  4. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Where are you inferring that from? All they've said so far is that they're working on it. I'm unaware of them saying anything to imply that we won't have our hands on it until the day it's released.

    Edit: Actually, to the contrary, they said that Early Access would be available for the plugin at some point. Have some patience - they announced work on a feature of Unity 5 and you're upset that they haven't given us access to prototype tech mid-4.x cycle? Have some patience. :p
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  5. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    It's too early to say. If its with the existing pricing model, then we won't bother picking it up unless we had a job in mind for it. If we have a job in mind for it, $1500 is trivial. As we don't, it's expensive.

    How expensive something is, directly boils down to how much business revenue you'll get from it.
     
  6. TrentSterling

    TrentSterling

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    First news of the web player dying by chrome's sword, and now this? As someone who likes to use Unity for Ludum Dare style competitions- this will end it. There's no way WebGL should cost extra.
     
  7. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    I understand that in the past web deployment has been a no-worries inclusion for us, but it's not Unity's fault that that's changing. The best solution they can provide is giving us an alternative build target that - hopefully - will grow to replace the market that the Web Player has been servicing until now. But that requires a bucketload of investment at their end, and that has to be funded from somewhere. If the people benefiting from it aren't willing to pay for it, then who will?

    So with this in mind... If they can't charge extra for stuff then how are they meant to be able to afford to make it?
     
  8. makeshiftwings

    makeshiftwings

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    Well first we should be clear: it sounds like WebGL Pro will cost money. I'd guess you could still use Unity Free with WebGL for free, just like you can currently use iOS and Android for free with Unity Free.
     
  9. Graham-Dunnett

    Graham-Dunnett

    Unity Technologies

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    This is my personal view, it's not representative of Unity:

    asm.js is a new platform. The demos we've shown are in Firefox. Other browser support webgl to a lesser degree. It's not clear to me today that asm.js is going to the be future 3d/games platform for browsers, although it would be super cool if that is the case. The technical expertise of our customer base is very very wide. If webgl was free, I would expect we'd get complaints that a webgl build didn't run in IE6. Charging for an add-on is a way of limiting access to those who really want it, and (presumably) have business reasons for purchasing it. I haven't seen anything public that provides a price for this add-on, and I haven't seen anything online that discusses the existence or not of a free webgl add-on in the future. Knowing how Unity wants to do the right thing, if webgl/asm.js was the dominant 3d solution for browsers towards the end of 2014, meaning all browsers had fantastic performance I *doubt* that it would be kept behind a paywall. Unity can lower or remove the price down the road, they cannot increase the price.

    This is a Unity view:

    The web player isn't going away. Chrome has decided to pull the plug on npapi but other browsers may continue to support npapi. We fully expect the web player to be part of 5.x throughout this cycle. WebGL isn't currently a replacement for the web player, it's a new platform which is still being developed. Previously we've spent a lot of engineering time on Flash and NaCl and that hasn't paid off - the platforms themselves haven't worked out as we hoped. WebGL has been way more complex and involved much more engineering time - and we want to be sure the platform evolves as we expect it to before we go wide. There was already massive amounts of internal discussion about the (future) webgl plugin, even before other engine companies decided to follow our direction and recognise the huge benefits indies have been bringing to the games industry.
     
  10. Jon_Malave

    Jon_Malave

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    Where am I getting this info from here:
    http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/234931-Unity-5-is-coming-and-more!/page14?p=1560696#post1560696

    It's already been stated by a Unity Developer (staff) that it will be a Paid for Add-On and also here:

    http://unity3d.com/unity/faq#section-1834
     
  11. jonas-echterhoff

    jonas-echterhoff

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    While the exact terms of the WebGL add-on pricing have not been announced or even decided on yet, let me throw in some food for thought (on top of what Graham said), before this turns into a flame fest :)

    When comparing WebGL and the Web Player, consider the following:
    -From an engineering POV, the WebGL port is an order of magnitude more complex then the web player. We basically wrote the complete scripting runtime from scratch. While the engineering effort should not always dictate pricing, it is a point to have in mind.
    -For the Unity Web Player to be any success as a platform, it is critical to drive plug-in installs (so we wanted there to be as much content as possible). This situation is somewhat different with WebGL, where we are not the distributors or owners of the platform.

    Furthermore, WebGL has a lot of potential to go to a lot of places. While we currently see WebGL as a deployment target for web browsers on desktop OSs only, if you look at recent developments in this space, this may not always be the case. If this deployment target eventually covers a wide range of platforms, it might make people consider twice before buying any other platform add-ons for Unity. At that point we might have a problem getting enough revenue. So please understand that we need to approach this with some caution.
     
  12. Jon_Malave

    Jon_Malave

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    No Makeshiftwings there will be no WebGL for free version of Unity.
     
  13. Jon_Malave

    Jon_Malave

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    Thanks jonas echterhoff and Graham Dunnett for your input, much appreciated...

    I don't plan to start a flame war, but I'm just being honest to say that i'm disappointed about the news and i'm sure many are as well judging by the votes already...

    I understand Unity needs to be take caution, and also needs to cover their investments... but I think at the very least, what would be nice is that Unity 5 offers us a Development Preview of WebGL just like you guys did with Flash. So that at least we can all test it out, you'll get tons of feedback that you otherwise would not get if it's only available to the handful who do purchase it. Finally maybe upon the next Update say in Unity 5.1, you guys could flip the switch and make it a Purchased Add-On even if it's is still in Development Preview. If eveyone who tried the first Release are happy with it, you'll get 10x more people purchasing WebGL Add-on than you would now in my opinion.

    I mean really, the Unity 5 Pre-Order Page gives us all the impression that Early Access means it's going to be Free to Try in Unity 5 at the very least you guys could get away with that. But looking at the Pre-Order page, and having to ask and find out it's a Paid for Add-On really Sucks! It's kind of like False Advertisement, get us excited one minute, then disappoint us all the next...

    I Vote Unity 5 should give us WebGL Development Preview for Free, Next Update 5.1 sure Make it Paid for Add-On if you need too... at least give us that much...
     
  14. Partel-Lang

    Partel-Lang

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    How much slower does the WebGL perform compared to the Web Player?
     
  15. jonas-echterhoff

    jonas-echterhoff

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    How much slower it is depends on the situation. Different JavaScript engines perform differently. We are currently seeing best results in Firefox with asm.js.

    JavaScript has neither SIMD nor Multithreading capabilities yet. So code which benefits heavily from these features (such as the mesh skinning code in Unity) will be particularly slow in WebGL.

    Still, for real-life content we have tested, we have seen overall frame rates in WebGL running in Firefox already being at least 50% of what they are in the Web Player.

    You can use the profiler to optimize performance for WebGL just as in any other Unity platform.
     
  16. Partel-Lang

    Partel-Lang

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    Thanks for the quick and very helpful answer, Jonas! :)

    It seems like it will probably have a very slow, limited and buggy start, much like the Flash export had, so I do hope it will also have a proper developer preview period before it becomes a paid add-on, which it should eventually be considering the undeniable amount of effort going into it.
     
  17. Jon_Malave

    Jon_Malave

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    + 1

    I'm perfectly fine with paying for it if I really have to, as long as I get to try it out first...

    Cash$ for Early Access = :sad:
     
  18. cynic

    cynic

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    The question really is now, whether those paid add ons make sense at all in the light of Unreal and Cry licensing options. Well, at least at the prices we're used to.
     
  19. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Okay.

    So, just curious, since everything else is logged, but what percentage of web player uses come from Chrome right now? Because estimates have Chrome hovering around 17% of the total browser market share, and that's a sizeable amount of people lost.
     
  20. Dabeh

    Dabeh

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    Not any more with recent news, we'll see how Unity 5 is.
     
  21. jonas-echterhoff

    jonas-echterhoff

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    I don't think that the early access should be free to let people "try it out first". That would create a situation where people will make their decision based on trying an unfinished product, as well as generate a lot of extra support load for us, as a lot of people would use an unfinished version - and stick with that even when we have released the finished product. That happened with Flash, and it did not turn out to be a good idea in retrospect.

    That said, I do think that people should be able to try it out, of course. We have always been open to giving out time-limited trial licenses for our products, and I don't see why this should be any different.
     
  22. Nanity

    Nanity

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    I vote for Kuroato paying out 100€ each one who votes with me.

    This is an example of gathering many votes for a never happening scenario. The reason for it not happening is because I didn't consider your interests.
     
  23. PolishRenegade

    PolishRenegade

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    Jonas,

    Considering Chrome's drop of NPAPI support, I'm wondering what's your recommendation for people who invested heavily into the Web Player and have to support all browsers?

    Should we look at WebGL as being the only solution once they pull the plug? If so, as a customer, aren't we essentially forced to switch from a "Free" (Plugin) solution for a "Paid" (WebGL) solution?

    I do understand that it's not Unity's fault that Chrome drops support, but I would really appreciate your input on this, personal or official.

    Thank you.
     
  24. Jon_Malave

    Jon_Malave

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    Hmmm well why can't you guys just simply put a disclaimer stating "it's free to try in this version of Unity but we are not supporting it after we release the next version"

    but OK, if you guys can manage to get us a time-limited trail license that will at least give us a taste for WebGL...
     
  25. Jon_Malave

    Jon_Malave

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    Actually according to StatsCounter for 2014, Chrome is at 43% Market Share!
     
  26. TheDMan

    TheDMan

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    No, why in the world would anyone pay anything for that when they can automatically get the same thing elsewhere for almost free.

    All deployment add-ons/licenses for pay have been made obsolete yesterday.
     
  27. jonas-echterhoff

    jonas-echterhoff

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    We have no other plans to enable Web support (Nor do I see any reasonable other solutions to get there). So, yes, if browsers drop support for the web player, and supporting those browsers is critical for you, then you will need to look into the cost of a WebGL license. I understand that this sucks from your P.O.V, and we will keep looking at this space to see if our propositions feel reasonable. But, for now, these are the terms we came up with, I explained the reasoning behind them before.
     
  28. PolishRenegade

    PolishRenegade

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    Understood, thank you.

    I guess we'll have to visit WebGL and hope for the best in the future. I'll end by saying that I'm appreciating Unity giving us early access to an unfinished WebGL, a good time ahead of Chrome's End Of Support Dec'14. It was a big concern.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  29. Partel-Lang

    Partel-Lang

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    So the plan is to start selling the WebGL add-on right away after it has only gone through in-house and small circle beta testing? If that's the case I (and most likely others who went through the Flash fiasco) wouldn't even consider buying WebGL for years. The risk of getting stuck on some unforeseen technical issue is very high and even when the add-on is finally solid and trustworthy by Unity 6 or something, we'd just have to buy it again. If it ever will be solid and trustworthy that is, you never know with WebGL and all the browsers..
     
  30. amigo

    amigo

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    Thank-you, exactly my thinking as well.

    With native in-browser support (and we have seen 90% of performance demos already) things will run on millions of computers, mobiles, refrigerators, toaster ovens, TVs, and anything else in the future that has a web browser.

    These are also the first glimpses of the end of the console gaming as we know it, too, in favour of a full web based experience. Coupled with the impending advent of VR, dedicated gaming consoles such as PS4 or XBoxOne and a big screen TV will most likely become obsolete in a few years.
     
  31. PolishRenegade

    PolishRenegade

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    I think Unity has a valid point that, until WebGL has established itself as a concrete standard, it will cost them more to support amateur developers (if free, as what happened with Flash) then potential loses of selling it off as an add-on now. I'm just hoping it will be with a price-tag around 500$ instead of a full 1500$.

    And there's nothing stopping you from contacting sales and getting a time-limited free license to test it out.

    End of the day, it's all doom gloom on the web front (the golden age of all browser-support of Unity has ended with Chrome being an ass and Mozilla following intention-wise), there is no other choice then following Unity in its development / search for a valid alternative. Right now that's the hugely unproven and costly to develop WebGL.

    That WebGL license is essentially using consumers to pay for R&D for a technology that can very well end up going no-where. Welcome to the reality of business...
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  32. MarkrosoftGames

    MarkrosoftGames

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    this is probably the best post in this thread so far explaining it. to be honest i dont even have any idea what was really said by unity in the first place about this, but it sounds like theres still no real official word on it yet.

    anyways, the most important point was how webgl could/will be something that ends up being supported in phone/tablet browsers. if people could do that totally free with comparative results, then why would they pay to make the real apps?

    hopefully everyone can calm down and just wait to see how this plays out. i wouldn't be surprised if there ended up being a free and pro version of webgl eventually.
     
  33. imaginaryhuman

    imaginaryhuman

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    My first reaction was that since WebGL is free so should support for it be ... and given the move from the unity webplayer (which is free), I would lazily classify the webplayer plugin in the same light as making it run on wegbl... to me it's just a different set of technologies in the browser that I have no idea how they work... it also feels a little bit wrong that since firefox etc is the open-source darling in browserland it sort of has a communal/free air around it so it seems a bit odd that support for it requires a payment. But I suppose, that said, the flash support required a fee... it's understandable that there is value there and unity has to put a lot of work into supporting it, so it seems reasonable it would cost something.. just not sure it should cost several hundred dollars.
     
  34. charmandermon

    charmandermon

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    WebGL needs to be paid, but not as an add-on it Needs to be included in Unity Pro. It will be the platform of the future, not just for desktops but for mobile as well.
     
  35. shaderbytes

    shaderbytes

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    This is why I #$%! hate this html5 no plugin S***e.. dam browser vendors.. When webGL/html5 can offer all the features and perform at the same speed as all known plugins .. then and only then should they dare drop support for the plugins.

    It's freaking crazy actually! A case of : "Dear users , please go forward with this half working solution while we remove this fully functional solution. kthanksbye"
     
  36. Aabel

    Aabel

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    No I am not ok with paying for webGL. I will just use Unreal 4 if I have a project that NEEDS webGL.
     
  37. Yukichu

    Yukichu

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    I love how crazy people get over the littlest things.

    It isn't even released yet. It doesn't even work right now.

    I don't remember the post, where it was, but the actual Unity dev dude summed it up perfectly. It was like, "we'll have to spend a lot of resources on this, and we want to make sure people who actually need to use it will use it, else some kid is gonna complain how it doesn't with IE6 or some crap."

    If I need it, I'll pay for it.
     
  38. bluescrn

    bluescrn

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    As a mobile developer, I personally wouldn't want to be subsidising WebGL support by buying a Unity Pro licence (required for iOS/Android Pro). Mobile developers are already effectively paying for plenty of features which simply aren't viable on mobile for performance reasons, and still won't be for quite a while yet.

    Personally, I'm not a huge fan of HTML5/WebGL. Using Javascript as an 'assembly language of the web' seems crazy, and it's unlikely to be a viable platform on mobile devices for many years, if ever (Apple may never allow it on iOS, as it would allow people to bypass the App Store and play higher-end games on the web)

    I'll be very interested to see how well Unity's HTML5/WebGL player works though, and to see how viable the platform actually is for real games, rather than just tech demos.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  39. amigo

    amigo

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    Last time I checked, all the websites using JavaScript libraries like jQuery were running just fine on all iOS devices. Matter a fact jQuery Mobile targets mobile platforms to provide a smooth flowing experience, all written, you guessed it, in JavaScript. :)
     
  40. makeshiftwings

    makeshiftwings

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    Ah, well then yeah in that case I agree with you. There's no way I would purchase a WebGL license right now... especially since Unity is saying up front in this thread that their implementation sucks and doesn't perform well. I'd wait until Chrome actually goes through with its NPAPI removal and see how the internet responds. There's no current compelling reason to choose WebGL over web player or mobile app build. If WebGL does become the new standard, Unity will probably make it free if they want to stay relevant.
     
  41. Partel-Lang

    Partel-Lang

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    I applaud the initiative to push for WebGL, but if Unity wants to sell a product for 1500 bucks, they better make sure it works. Otherwise they won't have to be dealing with the extra support load, but the extra angry disappointed customer load.

    Sure we can ask sales for a limited time license to play around with it a bit, but that doesn't mean we are safe from hitting a brick wall somewhere down the road or from the whole thing being discontinued at some point.

    So there is a great deal of risk involved in this. If Unity decides to ask for full price for this, that risk is pushed entirely on the community. If they make it a free preview for the duration of Unity 5, the risk will be entirely on the shoulders of Unity. So maybe the fair solution indeed would be to share the risk 50:50 and have WebGL for half the price of the other add-ons.
     
  42. jonas-echterhoff

    jonas-echterhoff

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    While I agree that Google's announcement to drop plugin support this year (whether they will follow through with that is another question) is very premature, I think it is also easy to underestimate what WebGL can already offer today. No, it does not have the same performance and features as native plugins (but that gap is becoming narrower very quickly), but it offers one promise we could never offer with a plugin: Run everywhere without losing any users to tedious plugin installs. That can easily result in your content becoming available to an audience several times larger then it could be with the plugin (depending on content and audience). That kind of reach brings a lot of extra value over the Unity Web Player.
     
  43. Zeblote

    Zeblote

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    Am I actually the only one who doesn't find plugin installs "tedious" at all? You gotta click on "get unity", it automatically downloads the file, start it, click ok, click ok, reload page, done! What's the problem?
     
  44. Setmaster

    Setmaster

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    While I think WebGL should be free in the pro version, making an early-access deal would be the best paid approach imo.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  45. Jon_Malave

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    So by the looks of things, not many people will buy WebGL Add-On Early Access, I guess this is exactly what Unity Wants to Lower their Overhead on Support, but will they get the results they are looking for by selling WebGL Early Access Now? If only %15 (according to the poll results) of Unity Developers Purchase WebGL Add-On will Unity really cover their Investment Cost for WebGL? and if WebGL becomes Free Later, what about all those who Paid for it... is that really fair to them paying for Early Access when they could have gotten it for free a year later... I'm just speculating here... but there needs to be a middle ground, I know we don't know what the price is yet for WebGL, but before you announce the Price I hope you guys think long hard about it... there needs to be a middle ground...

    WebGL is definitely the Future... NPAPI Browser Plugins were not... and i'm sure you guys knew that already as you were already working on WebGL for 2 years behind the scenes. So I don't really agree that what happened with Flash will happen again with WebGL if you follow the same steps to release it. We are talking about two totally different Technologies here... there is no comparison... WebGL is not owned by a single company that you will depend on for future support and development. With that I still don't agree paying for it now or later... WebGL will eventually replace Unity WebPlayer probably as early as next year... Once Chrome drops NPAPI the world will begin to really feel what it's like to be without Plugins, and the Demand for WebGL will skyrocket!

    No matter how you look at it your not going lower your support overhead no matter what... don't you think people paying for WebGL will demand much higher level of support because they paid for it? and when things break they will be even more angry than if they didn't pay for it... so good luck with that. If WebGL is Free, sure support overhead will still be there... but as long as it's stated that you are providing limited support for a Development Preview, I don't see what Unity is afraid of here by going Free with it.

    Don't shoot yourself in the foot...
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  46. makeshiftwings

    makeshiftwings

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    Well polls like this are pretty pointless. Of course if you ask someone if they would prefer to pay for something or get it for free they'll choose free. That has almost no bearing on whether they'll actually pay for something when it's the only option. I'd prefer free cupcakes all the time, but luckily for the cupcake store, that's not an option, so I buy them.
     
  47. TheDMan

    TheDMan

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    Not true. People will pay if there are no other options that dont require them to do so. Unfortunately for Unity, that has become the case now.
     
  48. Jon_Malave

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  49. makeshiftwings

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    But the poll question is basically "Would you rather pay or get it free" so of course most people will choose free; it's not a reliable indicator of whether or not those people would actually pay. If it was phrased more like "Would you rather pay or not be able to use WebGL at all" the results would look different, but they still wouldn't be reliable, since a lot of people would bluff and pretend they wouldn't pay in the hopes that they'd get something for nothing.
     
  50. angrypenguin

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    The thing is that if you're looking to support the widest audience possible you can't pick one or the other, you need to do both. There are still loads of users on old browsers, WebGL doesn't work on old browsers, and NPAPI/WebPlayer will stop working on new browsers. There's no single tech that covers everyone.