GameMaker, an accessible and popular game development tool, will officially be free to use for non-commercial purposes beginning today, according to a a post on the company’s Twitter page:
This change does not include consoles, which will retain their standard Enterprise subscription for exports. However, the previous Creator and Indie subscription models have now been replaced by a one-time Commercial License fee.
This is a welcome gesture that’s certain to save developers money in the long run. GameMaker’s official FAQ page for these changes currently lists the Commercial License fee at $99, but this may differ according to your region.
The FAQ also mentions that users with an existing subscription might be eligible for a free Commercial License, or at least a discount.
Further, Asset Bundles will be free for everyone to use. This will improve the flexibility and value of all plans. The new pricing changes present a terrific learning opportunity that scales for how much individuals want to invest.
Surprisingly, GameMaker’s new announcement blog also takes the opportunity to discreetly jab at “other platforms making awkward moves with their pricing and terms”.
Users will surely infer this is a reference to Unity, though they were not directly named. Unity has faced appropriate backlash and continues climbing an uphill battle with damage control. But they may never fully recover the shaken trust of their customers.
Services that perform the opposite are certain to earn goodwill and new fans through the contrast alone.
GameMaker may also take another big step, teasing the possibility of open-sourcing plans in a follow-up tweet:
Naturally, this is only left to speculation. However, GameMaker is continuing to evolve in the right direction.
While GameMaker’s new pricing model may not signal a trend, it is an excellent example for others. It could promote similar changes in the industry, especially if proven successful.