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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by bibbinator, May 14, 2014.
Heh... I like that!
This thread is a great initiative, so I had actually to promote myself from long-time lurker to first-time poster.
Greetings from Finland! My name is Mika and to be honest I'm bit of a Unity noob. I've been keeping tabs on Unity, reading documentation and following the new releases, blog posts etc. for at least three years, but apart from few quick prototypes I've not actually used Unity much. Early this year I got back to my old day job, where we do use Unity now, and I've started prototyping a new game of my own as well.
I'm no stranger to game development though, been doing indie games since late 1990s, mostly with C++ (the oldest few were plain C). Freeware games for the PC and lately commercial mobile games for Android and iOS. I've always built my own engines, but last few years I've been eyeballing options and Unity seemed the most promising. With two kids my development time has been quite limited so less time spent on engine code the better.
The deciding moment to use Unity was when I counted the source code lines in my latest game (about 90K of mostly C++, a quite simple but very polished match-3) and realised ~75% of my code was general engine stuff and only 25% was actual game! Not to mention the game took almost two years to create (not full time, though -- I was doing it in bursts and had some month breaks now and then), because of the fact I had to do my own multiplatform engine.
Unity seemed nice in that I didn't have to code everything myself (I'm a solo developer so I have to do the graphics etc. as well!) plus I'd get to use C#, as I've grown quite tired of using C++. Even Java in all its verbosity was so much more productive for me (I did an platformer engine using LWJGL and Box2D physics but never got do the actual game, go figure) than C++, but C# is even better!
Now realising I'm rambling, here's my two cents (these have been mentioned already but I wanted to chime in) :
Old Mono-runtime: Suffice to say, something needs to be done but you guys already know that. Very interested to see the promised (in this thread) blog post about it soon!
More robust and complete API, for example Shuriken needs this. As a programmer I feel proper APIs for all the features should be a priority.
More time spent on stabilising features and fixing bugs instead of always adding more new stuff that often feels half-baked.
Bug fixes should come in faster pace than normal releases. At work we've been waiting for months for bug fixes that are already done but not yet released. The new patch builds will mostly solve this problem, so kudos for that.
I love reading technical blog posts about the various systems, keep those coming. Adding more technical details to the documentation would also be welcome.
Pricing: I, like many others, feel that Pro should include all the platforms. 1500$ for Pro is a good price IF it included iOS and Android. I'd buy it right away (currently I've been waiting for some announcements on pricing, since for my prototype I don't need Pro quite yet). For subscription, you should be able to keep the license after you've paid some sum in total (probably the 1500$ or whatever the normal Pro is).
I liked the idea you could use Pro with a watermark for free, and then get a license when you need to publish.
If you keep Free, render textures should probably be in it. Quite basic tech these days.
...aand something else I forgot.
In any case, I'm 90% sure I will use Unity for my next game(s) (might get back to developing for the PC, even) so I thank you for the work you've done so far. Hoping to see Unity improve further and using it more!
400????!!! I was thinking you guys are around 40-50 all. Wow... this makes things much more complicated, the situation looks worst that I was expected. What you gonna do when peoples will start moving to UE4 or CryEngine? How UE4 with a lot less peoples can do faster updates and add new features in very short time?
You just described exactly what happen when Unity Basic gone free, GG gone, Shiva gone, more Unity addons, expensive ones. Unity got no competition for a long long time.
Speaking of UE4 I doubt this will happen, because you have the sources, and there is also CryEngine, so there is still competition.
so, you're saying it doesn't really matter to you to being able to publish anything... you just want to have fun with it? Isn't this what I proposed.. have fun with all the Pro features, but if you want to be able to try to make a buck... get a sub?
As with any business, this question should have been the top thought on Unity's mind since the beginning...UE4 has started out with this thought and changed it to "We will serve you better."...Walking in after years of neglecting your customers and overcharging them, seems kind of lame to me...The Devs for Unity should have been there for their customers all along...This is what running a business is all about...Serving your customers...When you don't do that, then you have to pay the piper so to speak...UE4 is getting better every day and Unity is asking "How can we serve you better", while UE4 is doing it now....I wish you all luck and hope one day you will understand the value of serving your customers....
First time we (CrazyBits) post here, although we have been there from some years. I (Rafa, something like could be called "CEO" or, as I prefer, "Player 1") will try to be useful for the OP and the Unity community in general:
Who we are: As many others, we are a small indie developers: 2 guys making games, both programmers. We are located in Spain, and we are going to see David Helgason at Barcelona, attending the Gamelab. Looking forward to it!
Pro version: I think I'm missing too much RenderToTexture and full screen effects, but I understand there is your business. We would like to see more of the "A Pro version with small watermark that you can use for development and then pay only on publishing" and, maybe, "ad-supported editor or something", although this last doesn't seem so good enough. The subscription model lacks, for a small dev, in comparison with UE4, in terms of pricing.
Consoles: We are planning to move to consoles. We may find interesting the Pro version for iOS/Android, but not at the current price; we do not find it profitable. But I think it is a problem of those markets, not the engine. We are gathering info about different consoles, dev kits, license costs, etc. to make the leap. By the way, the Wii U/PS Vita licenses are full featured Pro versions of Unity?
3D or 2D: We work on 3D games because it is cheaper for us if the game has characters; we do not have 2D artist nor we know how to proper animate them. But gameplay wise, they are usually 2D - 2.5D. 2D was a great add, of course.
Communication: I'm getting properly informed of your future moves, and the community is excellent at this point. Although I usually get informed via others sites, as Gamasutra.
Subscription: I do not find all the features that come with a Pro license really needed for my current work; others seem soooo interesting that I don't mind and will be paying for them. The price is a bit high for all the features I won't be using, but it was a great decision: it IS tempting. Owning the software license? Not so important, but definitely a plus. More on that on the next section.
Source code: I won't mess with that, I'm more focused on building games. But there are a ton of developers that will help here, and will improve the quality of the engine just because they love getting in the guts of it. My main concern would be: if Unity dissappears -sure it won't happen -, what will happen with all the users? It would be nice to know that the source code would be opened, to let the community further develop, or at least maintain, the engine. And to answer one of the questions: frequent updates with no way to tweak the code is enough for me.
Stuck in development: we have shipped some games with Unity, so we are beyond that point. Making games is HARD, but extremely rewarding. The next big problem we will face, for our next game, is online multiplayer, although UNET is coming with Unity5, if I'm right. I don't know if the server-side problem will be covered, can't remember :S. In that case, maybe some info about hostings, servers, etc will be useful.
Others: integration of some social features with target platforms, although it seems like a BIG task and sure it got covered by some Assets in the Store. The Social API further extended to cover more platforms. And Monodevelop + Unity combo is giving us some headaches in 4.3; don't know why :S.
Thanks for your great work, guys. Overall, we are happy users of your engine, and find it suitable for many game genres, because our creativity doesn't get stopped by technical barriers (RenderToTexture maybe )
Thought I'd share my thoughts on the subject, if it's not too late.
*Tell us who you are
I'm a student who mostly works with unity at my spare time (hobbyist).
*Tell us what type of developer you are and what kinds of business model works best for you.
So far I haven't finished a project that has given any revenue (though I hope that my current project will). Since I'm currently a student and I don't have a lot of money, I've mostly been using unity free. In regards to Unity pro, I'm mostly interested in the real time shadows, shaders and IK-animation. However, the price is currently too steep for me to dare take the risk. If Unity Pro only had a royalty for releasing games with it, then I would probably be able to use it. If my games would give enough revenue, I'd be able to buy the non-roalty Unity pro version.
So my suggestion is:
Keep both the Unity free and Unity pro versions.
Add a Unity Pro Royalty version, where The sothware is free to develop with, but it has a royalty when releasing games with it.
*Now, Unity Pro is essentially free or close to free on almost all platforms including consoles. Is this interesting to you?
Yes, I'm very much interested in getting out my games to as many platforms as possible.
My current project is aimed at PC/Mac, but if I could I would gladly also release it to consoles.
*Is it the case where it simply takes longer and is harder to make 3D games so you end up posting more here in the forums compared to the 2D game makers? What kind of games are you making?
Personally, I haven't posted a lot on the forums(too busy working on my game), so I can't completely relate to it, though I can imagine that making a 2D game is a bit less time-consuming.
Currently, I'm making a 2.5D game (3D game viewed from the side, like a 2D game).
*Are the technical blogs really helpful? Should devs reduce their workload and spend more time on these forums answering questions?
I'm not really sure. I don't really post a lot on the forums, because I usually follow the rule of only posting if I can't find it on the internet first. I generally find an answer sooner or later, so then I don't post a lot on the forum.
However, I can imagine that if I would post a question on the forum, I would like to have an answer to it.
Regarding the technical blogs, I don't read them very much, but now that I've taken a quick look at it, it seems to be kind of like a update on what's going on in the Unity Team, which I think is quite good.
However, what I really think would benefit more, is to keep making tutorials(either written or video). For example I remember seeing a video about pooling to save memory, which I think was really interesting.
*The pricing has been discussed at length in these forums and we're up to date on the pros and cons of price, but what about preferences? Do you like subscriptions? How important is it for you to own software license?
Personally I don't like subscriptions. I tend to avoid them as much as possible, since if you get a lot of them, those small sums of money could add up something a lot bigger. I especially don't like subscriptions where you can't cancel them at any time.
In that aspect, I think I prefer to own the softare license.
*How is your development structured? Do you like frequent updates with the knowledge your game will work on numerous platforms but no ability to tweak the source? Or you prefer to have source and manage it all yourself?
In regards to my development, I haven't really found a lot of issue with it for the most part. (though sometimes I wish I could do memory allocations freely)
As to frequent updates: For the most part, I haven't had a problem with it, though I remember one time, when the animation system got updated, all my animations stopped working, which was quite annoying. Other than that I think that frequent updates works fine. If I'd have to trade it, to get Open source then I'd prefer to have Frequent updates, as my time is already scarce as it is. But If I could have both Open Source and frequent updates, I probably wouldn't say no to it.
*What's your biggest problems getting your game done? Besides fixing bugs and getting better at communicating, what are the big issues you're facing?
Recently I've been spending some time with the GUI lately. I've heard that there's coming a new GUI, but would that render all my current GUI-code useless/broken?
In past projects I remember having some trouble with getting networking to "look good"(i.e. not to lag), but in my recent project I've been working around that, by not attemping to use it.
Other than that, I'm not really sure. I usually find most answers to my problems if I search long enough.
Those are my thoughts so far.
I usually don't post on the forum, but I hope it was helpful.
But if they did that there is a good chance they will lose money. Taking myself as an example I've bought Pro, i'm looking at $750 upgrade to 5 (ignoring addons). From my discussions with Epic about their specific licensing and the work-for-hire I do, i would not be included in the royalty charge at all, neither would my clients. That means that while Unity gets $750 approx every two years from me, if I switched to a $20 p.m subscription i'd actually only pay them $480, a loss of over a third of their income. That figure would only get worse when considering add-ons and if add-ons were to be included in the $20 p.m total too, it would be disastrous.
I could easily imagine similar issues occurring with bigger companies or other freelancers whereby simply matching Epic's pricing could mean a considerable saving for them, but a death blow to Unity. This is the problem. I'm sure Unity would love to match Epic's prices for the indie market, but in doing so they may well cannibalize their existing income streams and the short full would not be taken up by the new subscriptions and some potential promise of royalties above $3k profit per quarter.
So while I can understand your approach of wanting a match, I believe its far from simple thing for Unity to do, without a large amount of risk. Not to mention that there is aboslutely nothing to stop Epic from replying to such a change and dropping their subscription further or even make it free for a year or two. What does Unity do then? The last thing I want to see is a race to the bottom like that on mobile. It might be good for you to get these amazing engines for little to nothing, but the companies that make the engines wont survive for long.
That's not to say i haven't been hopeful of some movement from Unity. and why I was rather dis-heartened to read David's interview in Develop. It did read a little short-sighted. So a small reduction in overall costs would be welcomed, i'd happily accept $1500 Pro + $1500 inclusive to get all add-ons (and equivalent for upgrading). That would be a huge saving in itself, though again one I doubt Unity could realistically do.
@GrahamDunnett are there any official news about next update? 4.5?
Agreed, UT is in a risky situation. Lowering too much might indeed Epic to respond. I would say lowering the price to an acceptable level, but avoiding a match with Epic, would keep most Unity customers on board.
Just wanted to chime in regarding licensing costs vs Unity turnover.
I think it's wrong to talk about what Unity needs to put food on the table for their employees.
A product has it's own value, which shouldn't be confused with what the developer needs to earn to get by.
I wouldn't pay more for a certain car model just because I feel bad about their employees.
I know for sure that I can't use that argument when It comes to billing my own customers.
That being said, of course I want Unity to prosper and continue to develop this rather marvelous engine in the future.
But, if it turns out that changes in the licensing model is necessary to keep or attract customers, I'm sure that Unity can find alternative streams of income that will cover eventual losses steaming from licenses.
I know that I would gladly pay extra for top notch assets or packs in the Asset Store, developed by Unity themselves. because then I would know that the assets would be kept updated to work with any new version, and Unity would keep 100% of the revenue.
But of course that could mean upsetting current Asset Store vendors, so that probably won't happen. One can dream though.
Theres probably many other ideas that would work, it just takes someone that has the guts to try. UE4 sure caught everyone by surprise, but there's no reason Unity can't fight back in some new and perhaps better way then just matching UE's price.
I would personally continue to upgrade my Pro license if mobile platforms were included in the main Pro license, bu everone has different opinions and it can't be easy for Unity to reach some kind of conclusion about what ALL users want.
I wouldn't bet on that, remember the Flash add-on?
Nearly every business company already tries to find all reasonable ways to get income anyways? Some people have suggested merging/including mobile pro addons in to basic Pro price but that would mean they lose 66% of income all the sudden and it's unrealistic to think that it would not have consequences. Mobile platforms require mandatory upkeep from them due mobile platform changes and some changes are game breaking ones that require fast actions or solutions available for users and doing this for free is not probably gonna happen.
As mainly a mobile dev I hate to pay same iOS/Android price every time with the default Pro price but I would think such radical change to get rid of mobile pro costs would not be good for anyone or for majority at least if it could mean less resources to be used on mobile platforms from Unity side. I think some price change is needed, at least discount for each bought addon so the more you get more you get discount from next one.
Well to say they lack the man power, they don't half move quickly..
Yeah, I see your point, it would be cut into their revenue a lot. Just trying to be creative, since it's pretty hard to change anything if no revenue loss (short time) is accepted in one area of the business during the change. I've seen a lot of companies make the mistake of slowly starving themselves to death by keeping or upping a high price-tag to keep the same amount of income from a lower or even shrinking number of customers instead of branching out and get more income from other areas or a higher sales volume.
Even though I'm saying that I need the cost of mobile licenes to go down in order to upgrade to Unity 5, it's not because I don't have the money to spend.
I would happily spend the surplus (after any future discount) on other services from Unity.
Whats important to me is that I feel like I get value for my money.
For me, paying $1500 for each new platform I like to build to is not enough value, atleast not for mobile.
I agree with others that the main Pro license is well worth it's price, but that's not the case for Android or IOS platforms.
They probably cost that much if you factor in all support and development, but the question is if the cost of R&D for each platform should be included in it's cost or covered in other ways.
If Unity really want to democratize game development, it's a bit backwards to charge the most from developers that are targeting mobile platforms where theres a slim chance (for most) to earn back the license cost in a short timespan. A few developers earn a lot, and many earn less or nothing.
The ones that do succeed would of course have no problems justifying a high license cost, but heres a chance to make even the ones who probably won't strike gold think that it's worth upgrading to / staying with Pro instead of using Free or another engine and not giving Unity any revenue.
Not sure how active the Unity staff still are in this topic as it's understandably 300+ posts now, but I'll give some quick feedback anyway and see if I can raise some alternative ideas...
I'm the lead developer working with a startup studio of 8 people, about to launch our first iOS game after two years of development.
Pricing: Perpetual vs Subscription
We've done most of our development using Unity Free, and are now switching to a Pro subscription for some better performance and deeper optimization. I've noticed a few users who argue for perpetual licenses to stay around because they may, "someday in the future want to bring it back out for some development as a hobby/experiment." But Unity Free is ideal for such situations isn't it? They just seem to have forgotten there's a free version.
Pricing: Alternative Model
It seems everyone wants the features of Pro, for free, up until they release their game. While I dislike the concept of paying royalties, that payment model seems to be in line with what people are asking for. But perhaps there's a way to use the royalties system but with a flat fee? Perhaps people could use the Pro features freely in exchange for a watermark. This watermark could be removed upon paying, on a per-project basis, a flat fee (e.g., $500-1000) to enable that project for commercial distribution. This system could even apply per-platform. So perhaps an extra $300 if you additionally want to build to Android or Flash without the watermark. I'm not sure if this is technically possible to do, but it's an idea I'd favor in place of royalties. It sort of shifts it from paying per version of Unity (which doesn't really make sense), to paying per project you want to distribute commercially. But perhaps paying a large sum either way will continue to be a psychological barrier and a reasonable subscription is the way to go.
I find the hardest part of Unity is finding how to do things. "How can I do X?" usually means a google search and filtering through Unity Answers, Forum posts, the Unify Wiki, or other sources, and is often a minefield of outdated info and duplicates. Often I'll implement one solution, only to later discover a much better solution laying somewhere in forum archives. This has been, and continues to be our biggest timesink during development. For those who've been with Unity from the beginning it may be easier, but for those coming in more recently, we've missed out on many great techniques and resources posted. I think a central resource / technical / technique / learning area that can organize this information would be more beneficial to users than any new editor feature or plugin. Perhaps something similar to what's outlined here.
Yes, 4.5 is the next official release. We're getting close, but don't have a release date to share. :-( And I know one way to serve all our users better is to be more open and transparent about release dates.
It's the weekend, so expect a slower response, but we're all still alive and watching.
i say it again (but in a bit different words) - i think there should be three type licenses - desktop (win, linux, mac,web(?)), mobile (win phone, ios, android, blackbery, other incoming) and consoles each would cost around 1000-2000$ (except consoles which is separate thing) with possible split these cost for Indie (500$?) with smaller annual income obligatory (5k-30k$?) with smooth transition cost (when i break barrier for Indie i must pay only additional 500-1500$ not full price again).
In addition these licenses shouldnt require other PRO license - i think these licenses are smaller risk for UT, still better for people (but, right, not very good) because if ppl are interest with mobile only they must pay only 1500-2000$ (if they are bigger studio, indie pay lesser amount like 500$ ) instead of 4500$ how now and these have more sense (no more strange split mobile licenses and requirements)
ah and subscription - i hate lock-in rule and price is too high imo but i dont give any proposals for price only i say that there should be 3 type licenses too
I think your point about the free version is valid in a lot of cases.
But I think most of people saying the free version is fine are programmers and/or 2D artists.
And maybe they did not have to struggle that much with Unity free 3D limitations. I could be wrong tho.
Sure, there are some alternatives like ... well basically not using the Unity Pro/UE4 sexy features.
I know everything can't be free. But the situation has changed since Unity free was released, now indies and hobbyist have an alternative with UE4. That one is not free but offers a lot, for a ridiculously low upfront cost.
When it comes to 3D features, Unity Free is far beyond, and Pro has a much more expensive upfront cost.
I think UT needs to do something about that, at least I hope they will.
For that reason I think the royalties / watermark / flat fee you talked about could be an interesting solution, and this deserves some attention !
I don't think you need to be transparent about release dates themselves - I'm struggling to imagine a situation where it's a life-or-death situation for someone to know exactly which day the bits will drop on, and I'd rather you guys fix whichever last-minute shipstopper issues you run into than push something out the door prematurely just so you release when you said you would - but it would be helpful to be more transparent about what state of development the next release is in at any given time. Is it alpha? Beta? RC? If RC, what are the bugs you still have to fix? Is it twenty bugs, or two?
It's sort of senseless information - the number of bugs doesn't mean a lot when one bug can be quick or slow to fix - but this is airport-stress-level stuff; people will be much happier waiting for releases (even if they don't know exactly how long they have to wait) if they're told more about why they're waiting.
And Friday was a holiday in Denmark where a lot of the devs work. But don't worry, we're still here
In January Unity say "we are * close..." about UGUI ... "close " or " x.x cycle " , I really do not know the meaning.
It seems irresponsible not to say the schedule. that's Just a word for avoiding, They Can avoid any responsibility
Version control is very important to develop.
Is it possible to narrow down the likely release date slightly? (Are we talking weeks or months?)
Here is my story and that of the development team I'm part of:
I'm a software project manager that recently decided to take a shot at game development in my spare time. I was lucky enough to get in contact with a talented artist who needed additional people for his project. I will do game design and some UI programming as well as miscellaneous management work.
We have talked for many hours on Unity vs. Unreal Engine. They both have advantages and disadvantages. We are making a pre-rendered isometric game, so Unity was our default choice when starting the discussion. Our list boiled down to this:
- Cheaper as long as we do not need Pro.
- Easier coding (and maybe workflow).
- More mature 2D tools.
- Bigger community including the asset store.
- Cheaper (for us) compared to Unity Pro.
- Integrated visual scripting.
- Potential for prettier rendering (dynamic effects on top of pre-rendering).
- Less reliant on third party assets.
- Apparently higher development velocity (and faster bug fixing).
A note on the cost:
We will probably be fine with Unity Free, but it is difficult to know right now. There will be many people involved who will make small contributions in the editor. The way the license is worded, if we need to switch to Pro, we have to buy a license for every person who ever touched the project inside Unity. That cost would simply be too high. Your current licensing model is great for small studios, but do not fit hobbyist teams with minimal budgets.
This was one of the two reasons we decided to focus our efforts on UE4 at this time. The other is the general feeling that Unreal Engine will develop faster and the feature gap compared to Unity will widen.
In my opinion these are your two major challenges going forward.
(I'm also involved in another smaller project that will stick with Unity for now, using the free version. That's why I'm still here and interested in Unity.)
Assuming Unity has a focus on indies (I have zero knowledge about their business numbers/sales)....
Me: Desktop Pro user (and several paid assets) with a nongame day job and indie dreams.
Advice for Unity: Eat your own dog food without using the Asset Store as a crutch. Epic obviously does this in a major way.
I understand the desire to let the Asset Store cover holes but I think it should cover edge cases. Good example is the new physical shader. Unity will have a standard set but I can use Alloy if I need max power. Ditto with navmesh vs A* on the store. I should be able to jam with my friends instead of arguing over the best GUI plugin.
Work on boilerplate core features and things you find while dogfooding. For mobile: IAP/ads/social/gestures/GUI/etc. Desktop: visual scripting, better controller support, anti-cheat, visual shading, distribution tools (keygen, etc), GUI (I know it's coming...), little things like better snapping and placement tools. What are core things indies need to ship a game and ship it faster? Realtime GI is pretty but if the gameplay is bad and I can't monetize the game, I'm doomed.
I assume most indies are not competing with CoD or GTA and need the basics covered... We need productivity help (that could also include assets). Visual shading vs coding it? I would prefer to be working on gameplay not animating a shader by hand in code!
If you don't want to eat your own dog food by yourself, maybe pull an Epic and have a community project like they just started. Angry Bots is not feature complete!
The main reason I like Unity (and Modo) is speed/documentation. When I tried different game engines, Unity just clicked faster and made more sense. To me, time is more valuable than almost anything. I need speed and productivity, not figuring out common boilerplate issues.
Lastly, I don't understand the mobile *pro* plugins. Where is the ROI/value? I look at the appstore and I don't see many top sellers/grossing use anything in pro. They are all very polished but basic. Flappy/Candy/Angry didn't need pro (well, I guess after they hit $100k but...).
@goat: I asked about the possibility to prevent publishing on desktop and instead choose another platform (mobile) when buying pro about a year ago, but received a reply saying that it was too complicated. Cant imagine why, since every other platform is locked regarding Pro features until you pay for them. I think it's a great idea, but I suspect that it falls under the same category as alot of the other ideas for alternative licensing, being that it would generate less overall revenue.
No, you said one needs Pro to publish. I don't mistake having Pro as a prerequisite to publishing a worthwhile game. That argument is a fail.
You don't. Not at all. I will publish when I have something I like. My main interest is whether Unity as a company is sustainable with the new competition but I should waste my time fretting about it. Even with a perpetual license publishing to platforms still requires updates as the platforms themselves update.
To have more fun with it they need more Blueprint type features in Free Pro. Or at least to sticky the assets in the asset store needed to get similar functionality as Blueprint but that would look a bit daft.
This is an excellent idea imo.
You are right. There are some edge cases where specific paying customers could pay less. However, Unity would be able to convert thousands of existing Unity Free customers to paying low cost subscriptions. And the alternative is simply losing customers to Epic.
Well, I guess that means 4.6 (with the new GUI) is an even longer wait. If a completely new user started using Unity today, would you tell them to just pick a GUI from the asset store or would you tell them to wait? Not having any timeline makes it very hard on your customers. Contrast this with the rate of updates and the amount of details about upcoming updates that we see over at Epic right now. I am not trying to complain about this. I am just trying to illustrate this issue so Unity staff can understand what this looks like from the customer side of things.
I'd be very surprised if we see 4.6 before Unite in August.
Since everyone who buys the "add-ons" also buys Pro, Unity makes at least $1500 and as much as $4500 per team member. Unity makes nothing from Free users.
If Unity's response to this forum thread is to combine the add-on's and Pro for one price of $1500, they will lose a great deal of money.
If they offer a lower subscription rate for Pro, or lower the price of Pro with royalties, or offer a watermarked copy, they stand to gain money from Free users who now feel they can take the risk and buy Pro, either immediately or when they publish. So they will actually earn more money, especially with the watermark idea.
Those that do not publish, probably would have used Free anyway, adding only asset store purchases to Unity's revenue. A percentage of these people will publish and will eventually buy a pro license, maybe even add-ons. While it may be a small percentage, it would still add up in the end.
I find it interesting that people accuse us hobbyists of wanting everything for free when they want the add-ons for free. Again, add-ons bring a lot more money in than people who use Free, especially if many of them move over to the competitor and never buy Pro and stop buying from the asset store.
I don't mind the current pricing, $1500 for Pro, and $750 for upgrade is perfectly acceptable Granted I have to multiply that by six, and I have a six member team, so I am looking at $9000 starting (paid this back in 3.5) then $4500 to upgrade to Unity 4, and not another $4500 to upgrade to Unity 5. that gets a little steep. A bulk discount would be great for companies of a smaller size. As it is $18,000 over the course of our development is quite a chunk of money, and we haven't fully released yet.
What I do take issue with is paying $750 for an upgrade that has very little in it, and the patches though our each release are so few.
Yes it is a farce.
That's why I said earlier, that only the actions matter.
I'm tired of the hollow words. They mean nothing in Unity land.
I'm absolutely in favor of rolling the add-ons into Unity Pro, but not at the same price. Fortunately it's relatively simple to determine an equitable baseline price for a new, unified Unity Pro.
New Price = $1500 + (a[SUB]ios[/SUB] * $1500) + (a[SUB]android[/SUB] * $1500) + (a[SUB]team[/SUB] * $500)
Where a = attach rate of given add-on...
There are other issues to consider, most importantly whether the product as a whole is worth the new price of entry. Although I don't have access to the attach rate data, my instinct is that it would prove to be worth it. Going forward, it allows Unity to be more flexible with respect to allocating funding for improving some of their worst issues. As it stands, funding improvements to the areas covered by the Team add-on has to be very difficult, as I presume it has the lowest attach rate (in addition to being the lowest cost product).
what about people / groups / studios like mine where we only use Desktop? why should I have to pay even more, for platforms I dont want and will never use?
Good question. I'm ALSO in favor of favor of fixing the subscription plan to make more sense, and I do think that there are some very interesting conversations to have about what the ongoing nature of Unity free should be. Any conversation about shifting free customers to, for example, a royalty and/or very low-cost subscription model will have a very direct impact on what the adjusted priced for Unity Pro needs to be.
All that said, I think the answer I prefer is that you will ultimately get more for your money. Moving away from separate product lines, while retaining the same (or better) revenue, will allow UT more flexibility when deciding how to improve the engine as a whole. There comes a point where supporting large things as optional means you can't integrate related solutions as deeply as they really should be, or invest in them as heavily as you should.
Good point. Increasing the price of the perpetual license in order to add all of the platforms into a single license would mean desktop-only users would end up paying more. That would make Unity even less competitive.
Add me to the list of people who currently have no interest in paying more for mobile.
Which is exactly what Pro users that are not interested in the Desktop platform are already doing by forcing them to buy their chosen platform for another $1500, while users only interested in Desktop gets their platform for 'free' in the main Pro license...
"A Pro version with small watermark that you can use for development and then pay only on publishing?"
That would be a pretty nice thing, as I can build the game how I want it, kickstart it/gain money, then buy pro for the final release.
Also having the option to export the game without a watermark but with the limitations of free would be nice.
I could argue the exact same for opposite reasons. I only want to publish to IOS and Android and not desktop but I currently have to buy PRO desktop just to be able to use Pro add ons.
I think the easiest solution would be to keep the $1500 pricing, and include all build-outs in Pro, and not separate them, UE4 is doing pretty much this with a cheap subscription, almost a quarter of Unity's subscription, for just desktop.
Even if android and IOS were combined into one $1000 add on it would be much more attractive. As for WebGl, it should just be included in the base package since it's really just a replacement for the web plug in.
Except UE4 is NOT doing that... They're offering you a cheap subscription fee for engine access, and a 5% royalty on any and all shipped commercial products. I'm sure the subscription fee covers a variety of costs in operating a service, but their long-term financial plan is clearly based on the royalties generated by more successful titles.
Even when compared to Unity Pro with all add-ons, UE4 is a terrible deal for a 1 person "studio" planning to ship a product for-profit. For a 5 person team, it's a better deal than Unity until you hit $500k in sales. As your team size grows, Unreal becomes a better choice through higher and higher levels of sales. Ignoring the costs of platform switches and negated experience, right now I suspect that UE4 is a better deal financially for the average Unity project. Unity needs to set its pricing so that it's a better deal for the average team size and sales of financially viable Unity-based projects.
Without Unity taking a substantial loss (which would cause a variety of other problems), I don't see a way for Unity to achieve this for the perpetual license without effectively increasing the price of the base Pro product. The only way they can afford to reduce the price of the add-ons substantially is by increasing the attach rate for them substantially - ideally to 100% - which is what my proposed model achieves. It will cause short-term discomfort for some teams, but will ultimately (IMO) result in a higher-quality Unity and a more attractive purchase for commercially viable indie-scale games.
I didn't mean that UE4 was charging $1500, I meant that UE4 comes will all platforms for a single subscription. Unity segregates them out, charging premium for each.
We cant say what would make UT take a loss our what they can afford, we have no idea what their profit margins are, and we really have no place to speculate on that. All we can do is voice our opinions on the product as it is now, in comparison to the other alternatives.
I was objecting to the idea that they offer that for a cheap subscription. The subscription fee for UE4 is irrelevant - you can cancel after the first month if you don't need updates. UE4 comes with all platforms for 5% of your sales. Unity doesn't need to compete with "$20 a month", they need to compete with "negligible subscription and 5% royalty", and they need need to do so in both the subscription (low upfront risk) and perpetual (low backend risk) licensing models.
I wouldn't even begin to hazard a guess at what a better royalty-free subscription pricing scheme would have to look like for Unity, but my plan for the perpetual model makes sense and results in (IMO) reasonable pricing even with some relatively aggressive estimates around attach rate for various add-ons.
Firstly, thank you for starting this thread to get feedback.
Who am I?
Hello, I’m Quantum Sheep, and so’s my wife
I’ve worked in the games industry in one form or another for almost 20 years now in retail, journalism and game development.
I’ve been a lone game developer making 2D games for the past four years for iOS, Mac, Android and Kindle thingies.
I’ve made 13 2D games of my own (http://quantum-sheep.com) though only six are currently available (the first lot were a bit rubbish and have been removed from the app store!).
I have very, very little money these days and would consider myself a professional hobbyist that is more focussed on making games rather than making money (lots of shaking heads in the audience - sorry!).
My focus has been on building a solid reputation for making small, fun, addictive games for mobile. I sometimes get featured by Apple (yay!), and it took me 13 games to be noticed by Touch Arcade (http://toucharcade.com/2013/12/18/air-supply-infinite-review-rotational-retro-running/)
It’s been slow going, but also very rewarding. I love making games!
I’d like to make 3D games so I’ve been looking at Unity. In my spare time over the last year or so I’ve been trying to get used to it, experimenting, understanding the tools/workflow/mindset needed to use it.
I do sometimes spend what little spare cash I have on the Unity Asset store. Remember, I'm currently a free user, but here I am spending money on assets.
I have tried to tone back my spending here though, because of uncertainty with regard to Unity 5/Pro/free (will this asset be obsolete in a few weeks/months? Will U5 give it to me for free? Will it be in U5 Free/Pro? Is there a chance that I may be able to afford Pro at some point if it were cheaper?).
And then Unreal happened. I can’t actually use Unreal right now (laptop specs). But I know if I got a spare $1500 (unlikely!) then it would go on getting a new computer and using Unreal rather than buying Unity Pro.
Because I’m not terribly invested in Unity, and because it seems a much better deal all round to get a better PC (which can be used for all sorts!) and spend $19 to see what Unreal 4 can do for me.
Why do I need Unity Pro? I don’t. Not right now. But there’s always a nagging thing in the back of my mind saying ‘It’d look a lot nicer if you were using pro’. Even hobbyists like me want to give a professional looking game to players.
That’s who I am and where I’m at right now.
In general, I’m not a fan of subscriptions but the Unreal model of being able to cancel at any time would be an exception. It allows me to pay a small fee up front, then continue using the software without subscribing but if something comes up and I can’t use it for 2 months, I’m not worrying about paying for essentially not being able to use it.
The truth is, the Unity pro licence has always seemed way beyond my price range. The subscription currently offered is not affordable to me either. The Unreal deal seems a lot better from the outside.
Royalties are not really on the radar for someone like me too.
You can certainly ignore people like me when you consider any upcoming changes. But, as a free user, I’ve spent money on your asset store without actually making anything yet. If I get into Unreal 4, that money would go to them instead.
For what it’s worth, here’s my pricing suggestion to add to the mix:
Unity Free - as it is now
Unty Pro Free - full pro, unable to publish unless upgrade to base pro or downgrade to unity free (if that’s possible)
Base Pro - $500
iOS + $500
Subscription options also possible I guess.
Why would this work?
Well, firstly, I’d personally jump to at the price - $500 - a third of the current price for Unity Pro, is imaginable to me, whereas $1500 isn’t.
Additionally, if as you claim ‘most’ people like the $1500 price but want add-ons included, this kinda works - they pay the same $1500 price but get Android and iOS in there too.
But saying to someone who just wants to make PC games ‘Hey, for $1500 you now get to publish to iOS and Android too’ is meaningless ‘added value’.
Or if someone wants to ignore Android, for example, they get what they actually need for a cheaper price ($1000 vs $1500 all bundled together).
If I make a game for PC/Mac and it’s reasonably successful, I can then perhaps afford to buy the iOS or Android add-on.
Risk is minimised for the developer, value is added dependant on what the developer needs at that point, and you get to feed your kids and stuff.
Just my $.02
Anyway, thanks again for starting this conversation.