At the end of May, Unity announced that basic mobile licenses for the mobile engine began to be distributed for free. We contacted the Unity team and asked about this innovation.

Our questions were answered by Unity Executive Director David Helgason.

David HelgasonThe news that Unity for mobile gadgets has become free was received with enthusiasm by the developers.

But at the same time, there is a concern: are there any pitfalls here? Free mobile application development tools have the same functionality as our previous free tools for Windows, Mac, Linux, Unity Web Player, exactly following the licensing policy that we have been implementing since 2005.

The free version of Unity is a great way for independent developers to start making money. Developers can use our free tools to launch their games (and other projects) on mobile devices without having to pay us royalties.

There are only three restrictions:

  1. Unity Pro (the paid version of the engine) has a lot of functionality that indie developers may be interested in, but which is not available in the free version (they can purchase it before and even after the release of their projects).
  2. The company will not be able to use the free and paid versions at the same time. 
  3. If a company earned more than $100 thousand in the previous year, it has the right to use only the paid version of our engine (and we are not talking about the income received with Unity, but the size of the company)  

To sum up: Unity is free, it has a simple fixed payment model ($75 per license per month), no deductions from sales or worse. Since 2005, we have only been lowering our prices.

That is, if I am a poor mobile developer, I can download Unity for free, develop a game for the App Store on it, start selling it without paying your company a cent?All right.

People do that. And we like it. 

Once they start earning, they can either keep the money for themselves, or upgrade to Unity Pro and improve their product. But it’s completely up to them.

As far as we know, Unity is currently one of the leading mobile engines. Why would you make it free? What results do you expect from this promotion?Our policy has always been to democratize game development.

This means: providing development tools to the largest number of developers for the lowest possible price. 

The free mobile version of Unity is a serious step towards fulfilling this task. 

However, it is clear that, after all, being a business company, we expect that some of the developers who downloaded the free version of the engine will see that their Unity project is enjoying great success and decide to switch to Unity Pro. In any case, we will be happy for the success of our users. 

For a full list of the differences between Unity and Unity Pro, follow the link.