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Is Unity heading in a more commercial direction?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by CaseyHofland, Jun 9, 2020.

  1. CaseyHofland

    CaseyHofland

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    Unity, I'm getting concerned. We now have another cool new extension (MARS), and just like ArtEngine your cool hype video says nothing about a paywall, nevermind that it is $50,-! Next time I see something cool from you, will I have to Google it before deciding it is worth watching?

    Of course AR is a niche market, but how many niches are there to receive paywalls to the point of inaccessibility? How long before you start charging for, I dunno, having Stable Stacking for your DOTS game? Oh wait...

    What I am concerned, and fearful, about is not knowing the long-term plan. Expecting paywalls is a different thing than coming to expect paywalls. If Unity is heading in a more commercial direction, I'd rather have this explained to me than become frustrated with it and leave with a bad taste.

    So what is the philosophy behind these products, why do they cost too much for individual creatives to use and what can we expect in the future to be separately payed for as well?
     
  2. GameDevCouple

    GameDevCouple

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    Seems we are heading to a place where you pay for the core, but that doesnt actually give you all the features. ANd then you pay again and again for the features you need.

    Pretty disgusting thing to see really when this is the engine that was supposed to democratise development, and did exactly that for so long.

    But absolutely no tier for a company not making $100,000 in revenue? "Oh but we have a 45 day trial" - Great, what about once you finish that? You still have to absorb a cost that you cant, stopping you from making a project that COULD net enough to push you over the $100k tier and help you to suceed. This is a stupid oversight as many VR/AR companies and clients I have worked with simply DO NOT have that revenue yet, as they often are doing a startup venture etc and will be having a max of $75,000 seed funding to start with.

    Anyway, its up to unity how much of the userbase they want to push towards competitors. Certainly siphoning off all the actual interesting features they have made into their own paid packages is a good way to do it, given that the competition for 2 years has done the opposite and made every major "hey look at how cool this feature is" type feature a free part of their engine and focused their marketing around that.

    More and more unreals motto seems to be : "We suceed when you suceed, and we want you to suceed"

    While unitys seems to be more and more: "We dont give a **** about whether you are successful, but we want as much cash as we can get out of you regardless. Oh you didnt end up being successful? Glad we got your monies while we could! Also, look at this new feature, its amazing and pretty vital and definately a USP. Oh did I not mention its another full subscription? Well it is, now give me your damn cashmoney! I promise if you buy all this extra crap we will eventually make the engine usable and not a bug fest again!"

    Obviously there is a degree of sarcasm and over-exageration above as I am british, but you get the idea.

    TLDR: This sucks and makes me unhappy. Also some due whining.
     
  3. Devastadus

    Devastadus

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    Also bolt cost money too and unity owns that. When they bought probuilder it instantly went for free on the asset store.
     
    Tanner555 likes this.
  4. hongwaixuexi

    hongwaixuexi

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    Chinese users with personal editon have to activate licence every day, and it's obviously Unity wants to sell more pro or profeesional copies to these users.
    And Unity deleted my thread about this complaint twice by the reason spam.
     
  5. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    They overstretch themselves and have to pay that cost, seems like they made a fews bad bet and are scrambling to recoup, but at the same time the concurrence had become fiercer, godot make headline with an innovative sdfGI solution and unreal is becoming the new democratization. All while unity is becoming less and less agile to adress a moving target. They might be on a decline. There is more and more switching from unity to godot on my yt feed for some reason, and they are mostly positive.

    A few people actually warned unity would go that direction but were laugh away by people.
     
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  6. banan1234

    banan1234

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    I think they know what they are doing with this move. AR isn't really that big market and It currently doesn't have big potentiall to become one. The most important question everyone should ask themselves, "Is there any tool made by concurency that can achieve as much as this one?" and If yes, "How much does It cost?".

    From what I know most of the companies that are doing anything with AR have to make most of the tools themselves because unreal and unity doesn't provide anything. At the same time there are very few companies making actual good profit out of AR. Unity probably has noticed that, will make some easy money out of that, concurrency is going to catch up, provide better and cheaper content soon.

    Remember, unity has almost never really made themselves a product that is worth buying because of the quality (exception is Unity cloud, which can be worth the money in very few cases). They always have to make sure that you pay because you make too much money, because otherwise you can't finish your product or because you are stuck with the engine and want one basic functionality every single other engine does have. This MARS thingy isn't any different. It's just a bunch of super basic, and really not worth 600$/y for a 1 user (maybe 600$ per project) basic tool. It does have a lot of super nice features but also remember Unity made It which can always potentially mean It is unusable in the long-term and support for It will be a joke.
     
  7. GarbageCat

    GarbageCat

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    "I have my own theory about why the decline happens at companies like IBM or Microsoft. The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The product starts valuing the great salesmen, because they're the ones who can move the needle on revenues, not the product engineers and designers. So the salespeople end up running the company."

    saw this quote by Steve Jobs from an interview long ago..
    not a fan of his but it did jump in my head after reading this thread

    god forbid instead of wasting money on dead acquisitions and crazy endeavors
    they can start improving the engine like adding simple grass on HDRP terrain

    now its getting more worrisome with nickel and diming
     
  8. unit_dev123

    unit_dev123

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    u cannot expect unity to give everything for free, epic is fortunate to do that because their games make more so their business plan is different.
     
  9. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    Unity has 80% Gross Margin. They could be giving away things for free (or, you know, at really affordable prices) and it would barely make a dent.
     
  10. GameDevCouple

    GameDevCouple

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    Where did you read what their gross margin is? Is there an article or something I can read about that?
     
  11. GameDevCouple

    GameDevCouple

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    Its alright mate, no harm done. I get the intentions just a bit weird way to start a thread thats pretty clearly going to get firey and then like 10 mins later say your going to report people with certain views and stuff like that. Just seemed a bit of a weird approach to starting a discussion on a public forum about this specific topic given your original posts content.
     
  12. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    I believe it is my fault, I admit I used a tad bit more strong language than it was right. Mea culpa. My post was deleted by the moderators and they were absolutely right. And I intended it sarcastically, but it does not make it right.
     
  13. JohnnyA

    JohnnyA

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    There has always been a gap between the software and services offered to those who pay and those who don't. This gap has reduced significantly over the years, and now Unity offers a surprisingly large amount of their software and services up via some kind of free tier.

    Since the very early days there have also been separate modules or services available for an additional cost. From teams to enterprise support to source code access.

    Remember Unity is a business, any decision they make is driven by the eventual goal of making money. Free software and services are provided to get people in to the ecosystem with the hope they will eventually become paying customers, or at the very least will promote Unity to other paying customers.

    So they made a business decision that this new software was best launched with an associated cost. A decision similar to other decisions they have made in the past. Despite this I'd say its very unlikely that a significant amount of Unity software and services will not be available for free in the short to medium term, the recent trend, both for Unity, and for the wider industry, is the opposite.

    How all this that affects your own personal choice about using Unity and its future direction, well that's not for me to say.
     
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  14. unit_dev123

    unit_dev123

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    where can i read?
     
  15. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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  16. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Exactly. People have this weird belief that Unity must be hurting if they're resorting to these business practices but the truth is they're maintaining these practices because they're very effective. Getting them to shift away from them will first require people stop buying into them.

    Unity's Personal tier came into existence because of Unreal but since then the company hasn't actually been threatened by anything Epic Games have done. If anything Epic Games is the one that has had to constantly give away incentives to attract new developers. Epic Games gave away Quixel but Unity can keep selling Bolt because people keep buying it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
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  17. unit_dev123

    unit_dev123

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    it is likely they continue to keep 'selling bolt' because it is not immediately evident unity shouldn't do it, what people do not know = more money.

    I only know of situation by reading on here.
     
  18. spryx

    spryx

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    This.

    Unity used to be much more 'piecemeal' than it is today. Back in the 3.x/4.x days it was a small fortune if you wanted to do any sort of mobile development on top of pc.

    That said, I don't necessarily want them to include everything for free... think about it. If they include every single engine feature for free, that means they have to raise the subscription costs to cover acquisition/r&d. At their current rate of acquisition, that gets expensive fast. I don't want to pay for engine features I will never use. This is how/why subscription prices become outrageously expensive, you have to constantly pay for ALL features, even if you don't use them. I'd much rather pay a small subscription fee per each of the parts of the engine I use. If it is too expensive/not needed, let everyone decide that with their wallets. Eventually this kills off features that no one uses and wants, and the company doesn't have to maintain them (Remember BlackBerry support anyone?).

    Is MARS too expensive? probably. But only time and dev interest will tell. Would I like ArtEngine for free? Yeah.. definitely, but its something I will probably use very rarely. Pricing based on use makes more sense to me in the long run. Why should an artist have to pay a full subscription fee if they never touch DOTS?

    My 2c. I don't get involved in these threads much because people on here can be rather dramatic.
     
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  19. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    No they don't have to raise the subscription costs, they have 80% Gross Margin. They recently DID raise the subscriptions by the way, was it because they were giving us more features, or was it just because they thought they could get away with it? I am not getting more features I am actually using, are you? They just made their value proposition worse because... they could.

    They don't have to raise anything. If they thought it would gain them marketshare they could be giving more stuff away with the current prices and raise the perceived value of their current monetization methods, but I guess they don't feel threatened by the competition yet, and "democratizing development" has stopped being their motto (even as surface level as it was) for a while, so...
     
  20. hongwaixuexi

    hongwaixuexi

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    I really doubt it. How many people will buy it? 10 times more or one tenth?

    The reviews rate are dropping quickly.
    无标题.png
     
  21. banan1234

    banan1234

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    Gross margin doesn't say that much about the amount of cash company does have saved or how much profit (net income) company does make each year. The next thing to remember is that unity is a huge corporation made of several subsidiaries. They never specified that their engine made this much.

    And this is important to understand while thinking about what unity has bought out lately. Unreal engine has bought out a really huge company, quixel. They are very well known for having quality products. Even AAA companies were using their stuff. Now, what has unity done with that? Bought out some company that no one ever heard of with a product that holds barely any quality. It is nice, but there are other tools that offer similar technology for the most of the users. I think It is obvious which one costed more.


    Another problem is that users are getting gradually more and more pissed off with how the corporation handles everything and the biggest problem is that they are getting bad PR almost everywhere now. It's not like years ago when average causal thought of unity as a bad engine because of some crappy asset flips on steam. This was easy to defend and to prove false.

    These days, almost everyone talks badly about this engine, users, developers, and big succesfull studios, all of this publically. The worst thing is that unity has already proven they don't care about that problem and won't even try to properly acknowledge It to satisfy their consumers.

    And the next thing is, unity isn't way to go for an average person without any experience like It was years ago thanks to the brackeys videos. Also, because of the actual work of their marketers, Unreal has managed to popularize really well in the mind of the casual user. This will mean that one of the main strengths, community is going to shrink.
     
  22. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    I mean, at Epic, the Unreal engine probably doesn't make a lot, (compared to fortnite) but Unreal engine users are reaping benefits.

    Unity had 500$ million revenue in 2019, 300m in 2018 and they have Gross Margin of 80%. Sure all this doesn't quite translate quite as "tons of available cash", but it doesn't point to the opposite being true either though.

    If they somehow don't have cash on hand, they should become a smaller company. They have tons of departments and people doing... what exactly? Working on Collaborate? Working on stability? Working on figuring platform requirements so devs don't have to work around them? Because they are working on none of that.

    Am... I... Am I paying them to support their other ventures while they're putting little back in the engine?
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
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  23. banan1234

    banan1234

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    I believe their main form of income is from their cloud service. Unity cloud and vivox are really popular technologies for games. At the same time I believe they are loosing heavily in their engine market, and It is easily visible once you try to remember all the cuts they have done and look how every single team making new features is understaffed.
     
  24. DauntlessVerbosity

    DauntlessVerbosity

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    At over 2,000 employees, how can they be understaffed?
     
  25. banan1234

    banan1234

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    We are talking here about the team making the engine. No one knows what these 2000 people do, but for sure most of them don't do anything important with the engine. Simply look at the state and the development progress of any package. Also, one of the most basic things you can learn about management, more people =/= faster workflow, there is a point after which team gets less productive with each new person in the team.
     
  26. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    They probably have a bad case of bureaucratic latency traded over bandwidth size, look at the standard asset third person controller:
    - they announced it, actively communicate
    - it became obvious they were no longer working on it, but huge lull period
    - surprise announcement where they downgrade the asset, and confirmed the current one is abandon, and it's another employee communicating

    Basically they need to shift the corporate stacks to a DOTS style management ;)
     
  27. DauntlessVerbosity

    DauntlessVerbosity

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    I have been assuming that their development issues (and their Unity Learn issues) were due to corporate culture problems and not a lack of money or staff. Money and staff they have in spades. They have twice as many employees as Epic. For sure, more people can slow things down badly, but that's where corporate culture comes into play. From the outside Unity looks bloated and extremely inefficient. The thing I'm most worried about as a new dev is whether Unity is worth my time investment. That shouldn't have to be my biggest worry.
     
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  28. CaseyHofland

    CaseyHofland

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    A company that is divided up into about 40 teams (no evidence on that number) of package creators, people working on the engine, people working on platform support, R&D, community managers and a team focussed on expansion in the East not to mention the money men, the question of understaffing isn't a yes or no answer. However, certainly some package teams have been rather slow in their updates.

    This isn't necessarily their fault however, since we know Unity is in the process of a HUGE shift towards making DOTS their new core (not really their new engine core but also kindof). This has slowed a lot of packages down.

    I do agree with this, but am worried why there are no options for the little man.

    I think Havok Physics (aka 'good' DOTS physics, own experience from a pinball test) is a bit of a special case. There are many indie games made in Unity with interesting Physics (Human Fall Flat, Boneworks, Gangbeasts, Superhot kindof). I find it weird that they encourage users to switch towards DOTS, then discourage indies to experiment with what has given us so much. Oke to be fair Unity is not stopping you from experimenting with Havok inside the engine, but commercial indies will have to think twice about going there for their next title.
     
  29. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    This so much, experimentation is what lead to surprise cash cow, it's win win

    If little Timmy made an application to solve a local neighbor problem and stumble on a solution that everybody realize is great and got rich overnight, that's good PR, that's good money, and that's future proofing your services.

    I had some local problem in mind about AR, but now I'm discourage to even try.
     
  30. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    I do not agree with this. If you're an indie and make more than 200k per year, you can pay the license for Havok without any problems. If you're a small Indie (<200k/year), then it comes with the Plus license for free. Also it is free for Personal license as well.
    So I don't see the problem here. They (both Unity and Microsoft) only ask for money if you make money. And I don't think it is bad asking for money. Regardless of the "throwing my whale-weight-around Epic marketing campaign".

    As of this AR tool: if it solves a unique problem as they expect it, then it is expected to ask for money, if it is not, their market will dry up naturally and either drop the service or make it free.
     
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  31. CaseyHofland

    CaseyHofland

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    https://docs.unity3d.com/Packages/com.havok.physics@0.2/manual/licensing.html Oh dear you're right! I'm so sorry for the misinformation there, thanks for correcting me.
     
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  32. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    The qualifier should be if you're making more than 200k a year though, not if you own a Unity Pro sub.

    Because you could be having a Pro license when you could be on Plus, because Unity made you a good offer for Pro. Just saying.
     
  33. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    Also it is on the Asset Store page:

     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
  34. banan1234

    banan1234

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    The thing is the corporation can be both overloaded with administration and understaffed with the programmers. One really natural thing to do in a big corporation is to set up a flat level of money you want to spend on employees/ upgrading equipment, etc. for every single project you do have.

    The problem is that corporations commonly tend to hire a lot of pointless administration, which in the end slow down the process of production. However, If you have a flat limit of cash to spend on people, then at some point to expand administration you have to cut budgets of other departments. We potentially could see this when they stopped managing requests in some of their repositories, or now with 2020.1 beta when they are trying to do as much as possible so you won't send them bug requests while having a preview package installed, even though this can be done in a much more friendly way for the user.
     
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  35. Jingle-Fett

    Jingle-Fett

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    "When you are six hours into playing Battlefield and you run out of ammo in your clip, and we ask you for a dollar to reload, you're really not very price sensitive at that point in time."

    "A consumer gets engaged in a property, they might spend 10,20,30,50 hours on the game and then when they're deep into the game they're well invested in it. We're not gouging, but we're charging and at that point in time the commitment can be pretty high."

    "But it is a great model and I think it represents a substantially better future for the industry."

    -John Riccitiello
    Source
     
  36. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    Let's stay on topic. Off topic content has been removed.
     
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  37. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

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    Before Unity 5, the free license for Unity was little more than a demo if you planned to create anything serious. Not even shadows were included, and Plus didn't exist. I was lucky at the time able to find a 50% discount on Pro, for only.... $750. All because my game needed render textures for my minimap feature (another Pro only feature at the time). They are giving a ton away for free today, and they can do that because they can still monetize free Personal license users via the Asset Store and a handful of other paid assets or services.

    It doesn't concern me too much if they continue to release the occasional optional paid feature. You're getting so much for so little as it is. If they can't charge for many of these things, there's a good chance they simply won't create them. A paid optional feature is usually better than no feature.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020
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  38. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    You say you’re getting so much but I’m reading release notes or viewing videos of releases lately and half the things they talk about are not actually ready and the other half are for 2D. So it really doesn’t feel I’m getting a lot with my continued subscription.

    In fact going from 2018.4 to 2019.4 there is so little good stuff I actually want to use...

    The Lightmapper fixes are good, but we’re still missing features we had in Unity 4.

    I like that we can switch the FOV between horizontal and vertical, but I requested that a decade ago, so it’s not exactly exciting.

    The faster play modes are good but.... they’re experimental.

    It also crashes a little more than 2018.4.

    So... yay?
     
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  39. spryx

    spryx

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    Just because there are features in there you don't use doesn't meant it's the same for everyone, nor does it mean it doesn't provide value to others.

    Really?....
     
  40. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    Right. I forget that every time I speak on here, I speak as a representative of all Unity users and not just as offering my own perspective. It is my burden to carry and I should never forget that I can’t speak for myself any more.
    I am describing my experience upgrading to 2019.4 from 2018.4 which has the benefits (for me, I must keep typing that, because you might think I am talking for everyone again) I described and it crashes a little more (for me). Which can be summed up as a “yay?”.
     
  41. banan1234

    banan1234

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    I just tried to open some stuff in 2018.4 and It works so much better in every single way. It runs much smoother while at the same does have all important features (because they were either back ported or existed anyway because 2019.4 didn't bring any value).

    It is honestly hard to believe that one tool can regress so much in one year. I was using 2019.2 because of the features they do provide. Most of them even though have preview mark are better than some production ready stuff. I thought that unity 2019.3 brought a lot of improvements in performance, but that's not true. It was that 2019.2 was such garbage that even moving to regressed version looks like an improvement.

    And when I open empty scene in 2019 and 2018. My cpu utilization is at least two times lower in 2018 than what It is in 2019. What a joke of an company.

    And now they want us to pay money to them for every single thing? A company that can't even maintain the most basic foundation of their tool while at the same thinking they can interest any profesionall into paying for such basic tools as mars? And its not just that they do want you to pay for It. You also have to learn It yourself because it seems there is literally 0 documentation, no tutorials, no anything.

    and now the best part

    greatest investment I have ever seen with the team that trully has an idea for their product.
     
  42. Vryken

    Vryken

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    Sorry to revive this thread, but some news has come up that may be of interest here.

    Learn Premium is now free perpetually:
    https://learn.unity.com/courses?ob=starts&k=["prm:premium"]

    Though I'm not too sure if this means we can expect less engine feature paywalls, or if the loss of paid courses means more engine feature paywalls will come up to offset that.
     
  43. neoshaman

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    pcg and GameDevCouple like this.
  44. JoNax97

    JoNax97

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    Holy sh*t
     
  45. GameDevCouple

    GameDevCouple

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  46. Vryken

    Vryken

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  47. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    It's begnin imho

    It's cashing on the other extreme of young people trying to make asset flip game as a hobby, to learn video games, fueled by youtubers like Dani who makes game as a practice, like making 50games in 8 hours.

    It doesn't exploit people because it's cheap and they are good, it doesn't affect "serious game dev™" and allow unity to stay afloats for us serious game dev doing serious stuff by starting free.

    Once it get to poor user like me, who will need to make a living at some point, while investing in disregard market, well that would be a problem.

    Micro transaction got a bad rap, we almost forgot it Originated in micro loan for poor people, and was seen as a life saving invention for poor country, it did get corrupt into a market greed strategy, but even then it has allowed people like me to experience stuff which wouldn't be free otherwise. The real problem is the extreme whale fishing happening, and teh various predatory tactics that got into it.

    But so far unity is not at that level, they still have to compete with fortnite money after all.
     
  48. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    Jul 7, 2014
    Posts:
    5,251
    Seeing Unity selling sound files on the asset store while the engine is in its current state is just not a good sign in my opinion. I could kind of understand photorealistic snaps art because it shows off the engine, but paid add-ons for microgames prototypes...?

    I would happily buy a big game prototype from Unity that used all the key features and showed what the engine was capable of, something that stood out from everything else and created a goalpost for everyone (although even that should be free for all users imo, even from a business standpoint). But this comes across as a billion dollar company trying to make pocket money.

    Which reminds me, why did they bin that pretty first person shooter demo that used to be on the store? At least that was something that symbolized what Unity could do graphically. Did it catch fire in the latest version of Unity/HDRP and disappear in a puff of smoke?
     
  49. Billy4184

    Billy4184

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Posts:
    5,251
    Based on the reviews of Unity assets in general, they don't make any money at all. They are usually poorly rated with a low number of reviews for anything paid. Most of the snaps assets didn't get rated in months.

    If they are looking to make fortnite money, selling on the asset store to their own users is not going to make that happen. They should try making an actual game with their engine instead.
     
  50. GameDevCouple

    GameDevCouple

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2013
    Posts:
    2,473

    This 100%, I would pay decent money for a proper game prototype. Nobody really cares about the engine demos and their breakdowns, they just arent really useful to anyone who isnt trying to either learn AAA for getting a job (in which case unlikely you will be using unity once you have the job) or isnt already in an AAA studio using unity.

    There isnt really an example of a proper scale game out there, just bits and bobs. Something made by one of the unity demo teams, but with intention of it being a proper game prototype that shows how to use the engine at scale - without having to write custom complicated systems to sidestep limitations of the engine.

    That would be extremely useful. The FPS multiplayer sample was closest to it, but its been seemingly abandonded and had so much custom stuff in it that it wasnt really useful to the majority, only the minority.
     
    tatoforever and Billy4184 like this.
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