No one can argue that competition is really good for the market, as well as the industry. That's why, after Unreal Engine 4 was announced as free yesterday, it comes as no surprise that Unity 5 would follow suit. In an effor to do users one better, Unity is offering the program for free up to $100,000 in sales or funding as compared to Unreal Engine 4, which requires developers to pay a 5% royalty fee after their first $3,000 month.
Before today's announcement, Unity 4 had a free edition, but it was a feature limited version that lost a lot of the features that developers would want. In order to get the full power of the Unity 4 Engine, developers would have to pay $75 a month or purchase a license to gain access to all of the options that Unity3D can give you.
This is no longer the case. With the announcement of Unity 5 at GDC 2015 today, they also announced the new "Personal Edition" -
Democracy is something we believe in. It’s in the DNA of those that work at Unity. It’s one of the things that drew me to the company. It’s also one of the things that is most important to the games industry. So with that in mind, we are launching Unity 5 Personal Edition. Unity 5 Personal Edition provides all the power of Unity 5 engine and editor.What this means for developers interested in finding an engine to use is this - Unity is completely free. That means no royalty paymentsbut once you are making more than $100,000 (sales or funding) off of your game, you won't have to pay a dime to use Unity 5. Once reaching that threshold, however, developers will be required to purchase a Pro License or Subscription in order to continue using the software.
Should you want more features, such as Unity Cloud Build Pro, Unity Analytics, Team License, Beta Access, and more you'll have to upgrade to Unity Pro ($75/mo or $1500 one time payment) because the Personal Edition of the software is only the fully featured engine and ability to develop for all current platforms but none of the extra features afforded by the Pro edition.
So, in the words of John Riccitiello on the Unity 5 Launch blogpost -
Download Unity 5, play with it, experiment with it, and create something beautiful and lasting.
Today is a big day.
You can download Unity 5 (Personal or Pro) here.