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Will I Slowly Lose my Asset Store Purchases now?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Cygon4, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. Cygon4

    Cygon4

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    Hi!

    I've probably sunk a 4 digit sum into purchasing assets from Unity's Asset Store. I also decided not to upgrade to Unity 2017 (& later) because subscription is an absolute no-go to me.

    Just now I noticed the first of my asset requiring Unity 2017.1

    bioik-asset-store.png

    Note that:
    • ...clicking the "Update" button does nothing at this time
    • BioIK is also not being displayed in my 'Downloads' if I'm visiting with the Unity 5.6 built-in browser
    The Asset Store does not offer customers the option to download past versions of assets, as far as I can tell.

    So what is going to happen now?

    Will my assets become unavailable one by one and that's it?

    Will I have to install Unity 2017.1, download my assets and see if at this moment the changes are yet small enough that I might be able to backport them?


    I can understand that it's up to individual asset creators whether they support old versions and that's A-OK, but it looks like I will have to bug asset creators by email to obtain old versions and there's no big button saying "I know what I'm doing, download the Unity 2017 version anyway, I will attempt to fix the compilation errors and not complain to the asset author about them"
     
  2. Cygon4

    Cygon4

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    Correction: I can still download Assets that require Unity 2017.1. There must have been another issue with the page or my internet connection that struck at the same time.

    Still, it would be interesting to hear how this will end.

    Does the Asset Store even save past releases?
    Should I download and locally hoard on my NAS every asset I ever purchased right now? :p
     
  3. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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  4. passerbycmc

    passerbycmc

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    When a asset says it requires version X of unity it just means they submitted it to the store with that version. It is possible for asset store publishers to submit with multiple versions of Unity and have older versions display as needed.

    It might be good practice to just download and back up the assets your self though.
     
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  5. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    If this is your decision then you may as well consider every actively updated code-based asset you've purchased as having been lost because you will eventually lose them regardless of whether they support older releases. After all how many assets do you see supporting earlier than Unity 5? Within a few years Unity 5 assets will be just as scarce.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
  6. Dustin-Horne

    Dustin-Horne

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    I support back to 4.6. :)
     
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  7. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    I wouldn't be overly concerned about the asset rot. Its going to be a minor problem when you consider that the engine itself will rot. A lot of this depends on what platform you are deploying to. I imagine iOS will be the first to go. PC and consoles will still work for years or decades. And everything else will sit somewhere in between.
     
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  8. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Do you not qualify for the free version or is your subscription aversion big enough to not want to endorse the model in any way shape or form? Serious question, because I'm also very opposed to the thought of submitting to this subscription-hype as an "inevitabile development".
    I could still use the free version, I'm too deep into my project to switch engines, and I'm unlikely to ever get over the limit for when I need to start paying for Unity, so I treat it as an "I'll deal with it when I get there" kind of problem.
     
  9. Cygon4

    Cygon4

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    Engine rot or asset rot isn't such a big concern for me as I already decided that I would leave Unity for Unreal Engine 4 shortly after perpetual licenses were discontinued. But, as it happens, I'm in the middle of a project and Unity 5.6 will receive bugfixes until the end of March 2018, so this is going to be the last hurrah for Unity as my development platform :)

    Not being able to get past versions of assets is an inconvenience, though. It also means that for any project with a development cycle of more than a few months, the option to stay with a mature & stable version of the engine is not really there (though in all fairness, I believe UT would probably branch out a medium/long-term support release before changing anything major, like remove Enlighten or so).

    The latter. I think the ad-based economy is not the way to go and I'm stubborn :)

    I guess most things have been said in the subscription license thread back when, and I don't want to derail the thread, but in a nutshell: In the past, Unity Technologies sold engine improvements to developers. Now they're giving away the goods for free, they have running costs for server farms (ad servers for UnityAds, cloud builds, telemetry/analytics, IAPs) and get income from ads served to players. This drives the development direction of the engine towards F2P mobile and facebook games.
     
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  10. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Only way it would drive development towards those markets is if it were the vast majority of their income. Considering that these services haven't been around for as long as Unity has I believe it's safe to say they're making the bulk of their income from licenses (especially source licenses to large studios) and support contracts.
     
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  11. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    How so? Recent updates have been great for my current project, but usually I stick to one version of Unity for ages at a time.

    I preferred the old pricing model, but the subscription part itself doesn't bother me because I don't really care about "owning" things. In the case of software that needs updates the benefits of ownership are an illusion anyway, and if you don't need the updates the current subscription model has an option for that, anyway.
     
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  12. Cygon4

    Cygon4

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    I'm having trouble finding any numbers on this, if you know of a source I'd be interested. Currently, I'm under the impression that ads are already the majority of UT income.

    That impression is based on their investments into ad/telemetry/IAP technologies:
    • In 2013, Riccitiello (former EA CEO) became a board member
    • Unity Technologies has acquired 'Applifier' in 2014 (ad serving network)
    • Also in 2014, they acquired 'Playnomics' (telemetry/analytics company)
    • In 2014, Riccitiello replaced Helgason as UT CEO
    • They acquired 'SilkCloud' in 2015 (IAP/micro-transaction processing)
    As well as on the sparse publicly available information. The Unity Blog in January 2015 published the success story of how Crossy Road earned $3M from ads. Zynga's announcement to pick UnityAds for all their games is significant, and this statement that Unity powers 50% of all mobile games and generated $12.4B revenue for developers in 2015+2016.

    I don't want to bash UT or be that grumpy toxic guy, however :) - I'm just very averse to subscription licenses and business models involving ads :D
     
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  13. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Analytics and transaction processing are relevant completely beside anything to do with advertising, though.
     
  14. passerbycmc

    passerbycmc

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    So what exactly is your issue with subscriptions? Its a on going product that receives updates and comes with services to use. I would consider they UE4 model of using royalties to be much much worse and is actually the reason why i never considered it for a commercial project yet.
     
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  15. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    From my point of view royalties are a terrible pain in the ass because they cause ongoing work and important things to keep track of. And imho subscriptions that don't work on a rent-to-own model are a terrible liability because you essentially agree to let someone else long-term dictate the cost of the tools you need to have to do your work. With game engines it's not quite as bad as with Adobe imho, because it's much more realistic to pick a different engine for your next project than to stop using the whole suite of Adobe tools that you've been using for 10 years because there's nothing on the market that really adequately can replace it and the time cost of switching is very high. Subscriptions always get advertised as "it's great because now new features can be delivered to users straight away and don't need to be held back for the next big point-release", which makes sense on paper, especially for game engines. But in practice I'm still using the Adobe CS6 suite and I'm not missing anything that CC has, while a friend of mine who went with CC has paid thousands in the meantime, and is very unhappy with the direction they're developing their tools into, because with the model of locking people into subscriptions they no longer have a real need to keep the core audience in the professional sector buying regular updates. They can and do apparently focus on expanding their target audience towards more casual users with more mobile apps and automagic tools, and I would get zero benefit from that stuff in my daily work.

    My favorite business model is what reaper does ( http://reaper.fm/ ). If you buy any version in the 5.x release cycle, you'll get all updates till 6.99 for free. They don't spend any money on advertising, so they also don't do the whole song and dance about revolutionary new features (at least I'm not aware of them doing it nearly to the same extend as others do) when they jump ahead a whole version number. They just constantly improve and update their tool and every 2 full version numbers I'll buy another update. It doesn't even have DRM and can be installed in portable mode. What's not to like about that kind of model? It seems to work or else they'd have ditched it a long time ago.
     
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  16. Cygon4

    Cygon4

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    A) I prefer models where purchases are direct feedback for work done. Previously, Unity worked on new features, bundled them into a release and each time anew, the package needed to be good enough to convince customers to upgrade. I am the happy owner of Unity 3, 4 and 5 Pro licenses.

    Now this feedback is much less direct. Anyone who uses Unity will be on the latest version. If they mess up, the feedback will arrive slowly distributed over the next 24 months and obscured by other influences on sales. There now also is a direct business motivation to tailor Unity to mobile ad/IAP milking machine games (excuse the term).

    B) I don't want to support ad-driven businesses.

    It's like, if I go to a store and buy a Snickers bar, 20% of my payment pays for some teenager's F2P gaming addiction, ad-laden websites posting clickbait articles and for-money piracy. I think ads are really not taking us in the right direction.

    C) I see subscriptions as hostage contracts.

    If I get into financial trouble, I don't need to lose access to all my tools on top of the problems I have then.

    For an example of what might happen, see this article HSBC is Killing my Business Piece by Piece. The guy's bank messed up during account screening and he couldn't service the subscription payments for his art and development tools.

    -

    Yes, royalties are a real hassle and mean paperwork and thorough bookkeeping. I wish I had a third option. Maybe Urho3D or Atomic Engine or Godot 3.0 get a mature scene editor + more productive workflows in the future :)

    But hey, everyone sees things differently. I'm just little bit more stubborn than most people :D

    Back on topic:

    I'm now hoarding all vital assets in a private SVN repository on my NAS and will try to snipe the most recent release that supports Unity 5.6 of those assets or ask the developer for the second-to-last version if I can't avoid it.

    That'll do for the remainder of my project. Since I've opted for assets that include their source code, I can even help myself without wading through messy decompiled source if bugs appear :)
     
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  17. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    It wasn't a good model at all. Each release had to have a certain amount of features to justify a new major release which often meant new functionality was withheld rather than made available as soon as it was ready. Worst case scenario you could end up waiting a year or more for functionality that would have been good to have immediately.

    Royalties are worse. You'll keep paying royalties for as long as the game makes money beyond the extremely small quarterly cut-off which is basically for the rest of eternity. Hope you enjoy keeping track of its sales years down the road.

    By comparison you don't need to stay subscribed to Unity unless you're actually using the editor and even then you can pay for Unity Pro for 24 months, stop your subscription, and retain the last release you qualified for and three patches for it.

    That's basically a perpetual license without the absurd downside the old system came with.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
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  18. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    In response to topic title, before everything went diagonal:

    - you should be able to get older versions of assets that do not require an upgrade fee by downloading it with the relevant unity version. Unfortunately that's unavoidable at present.

    - if an asset author demands upgrade fees you do not have to pay them. You can maintain the asset yourself. This is not a subscription. This is payment for new work.

    If you do not want to pay, don't pay. It's not a subscription to an asset on the asset store, if that was the meaning behind this. It doesn't prevent you accessing all your older versions (it may be inconvenient to do so though).

    If Unity went with royalties, I would have no barrier to using any other engine that has them. Currently (for me) it's an outstanding thing that I don't need to pay royalties. It's one of the reasons I like Unity.
     
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  19. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Doesn't UE4 have a quaterly threshold below which no royalties need to be paid? Something 5k-ish or so? And isn't the amount of royalties contractually fixed long term? If they had the legal freedom to just decide on a whim "it's 50% instead of 5% now", that'd be insane indeed.
     
  20. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    I think anyone complaining about royalties will be earning just a wee bit more than 5k. So we assume that we will be paying 5%, The problem is you need to do the extra accounting and so on, and this is per platform AND per product, so you will be paying 5% regardless of platform. On Unity you will pay a sub once, no matter how many platforms or products - forever.

    That's a gigantic pain in the arse. Still, if you're one guy with only one game it could be OK. Otherwise you will be spending extra money doing this accounting and chasing, and it will keep on rising per game. Eventually you might try to automate parts of it. Guess what you weren't doing all this time? game development.

    It's a great deal for companies with staff or individuals with the one single game, or hobbyists. Not so much for others.
     
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  21. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Yes, but it's only $3,000 per quarter per game and it's gross revenue at that which means you're calculating it based off of the money the game made before everyone (eg digital store like Steam) takes their cut of the money.

    Yes.
     
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  22. UnityFan18

    UnityFan18

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    That is an amazing business model. I love that so much. Thank you for mentioning this. It is so hard to find software now that does not use a subscription model as a form of having access to the software.
     
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  23. verybinary

    verybinary

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    My vote against a subscription model is buried in the fact that my development pc is offline. a subscription model would require me putting that workstation on the internet so my subscription can constantly be checked.
     
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  24. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    How much would you say does that help or hinder your productivity? I have toyed with the idea of capping internet access to certain time frames.
     
  25. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    https://unity3d.com/unity/faq

    subscription.png
     
  26. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Specifics would be helpful because:

     
  27. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    My working assumption is that it's only necessary for returning activations. This is based on the statement appearing nowhere else that I'm aware of and the fact that you can activate Unity without having an Internet connection for the computer you intended to use it on.

    https://docs.unity3d.com/Manual/ManualActivationGuide.html
     
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  28. verybinary

    verybinary

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    Activating Unity, is not currently a problem. I haven't had any problems with offline activation since 3 or 4. And this comes from me assuming that, when switched to a strictly subscription model, this will get overhauled, and require an "always on" type of verification at startup, even if free is still a subscription option. But even if my games take off, and I'm making enough money to hire people into my studio, and warrant a paid subscription, I will still prefer working in an offline local network. If an offline ulf activation will always be an option, I will have zero problems with a subscription model.