The barrier to entry for the Unity game rendering engine for developers on iOS, Android and BlackBerry 10 has gotten lower, as use of Unity tech is now free on both mobile platforms. Unity CEO David Helgason announced the changed terms today during the Unite Nordic trade conference, according to Pocket Gamer’s Keith Andrew. The dropping of licensing fees for the engine’s basic tier means that features which once cost $800 now carry no charge at all.
The change in pricing structure is all about building momentum for indie game creators and studio, according to Helgason. Unity has shifted to a free licensing structure on the web and on desktop platforms, and has long hoped to bring the same model to its mobile platform products, according to Pocket Gamer. Later on, the same deal could be made available to Windows Phone 8, the company says.
Unity 4 on mobile offers a number of impressive features, including real-time shadows and multi-screen AirPlay support for building unique game experiences. For Unity, offering the basic license free to game devs is essentially also lowering the barrier to their revenue-generating paid tiers and offerings, including assets for in-game use and Pro and Basic add-ons, team licenses and more.
For mobile devs, it gives them a level of access to tools used by some of the biggest and most successful gaming studios on Android and iOS, including Rovio (which uses Unity for Bad Piggies), as well as those used by hit indies like Year Walk, The Room and more.
This is a good thing for the independent games development community, and hopefully it means we’ll see even more top-tier titles coming out of brand new places. The iOS and Android mobile software stores aren’t quite the Wild West of new and exciting indie content they once were, but they still provide small developers more exposure and opportunity than other platforms, and maybe this will help that continue to be true in the face of increasing investment in mobile software from big name game studios.