Shopify is a website that focuses on serving e-commerce solutions for store owners. It allows business operators to set up an online store or app that facilitates the purchasing of their products. According to the company's own stats, they are over 377,000 active stores being run with Shopify that have made a cumulative $29 billion in sales.
Unity Buy would allow developers to make use of Shopify's e-commerce services from within their video games. The most straightforward use would be to have a simple store in the game that would allow players to buy branded merchandise without having to open up a web browser. However, the plugin also offers the capability for more interesting sales opportunities as shown in its use cases. For example, a player who unlocks an in-game item could be prompted with the option to purchase a physical replica of that item through the company's store. The Unity Buy plugin also supports customization options on a per-user basis. Players could purchase a t-shirt with an in-game screenshot on it or a placard with their best high score.
Multiple platforms have allowed developers to set up stores for selling digital or physical goods, some of which allow integration within the game itself (such as Steamworks). However, this particular option would give independent developers the ability to make sales in-game without having to sign a contract with a publisher like Valve or Microsoft if that's not the route they wanted to go.
Do you buy merchandise featuring the brands of certain video games? Would you ever purchase a game's merch from within the game or would you want to do it through a traditional web shop? Let us know in the comments below!