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Asset Store Road Map

August 31, 2011 in Technology, Unity Products and Services by

Hi people. After the roadmap blog post about where we’re taking the core Unity tools, we thought it was time to give you guys a heads-up about what the future holds for the asset store. Like the other road map, this one talks about where we’d like to go – with a focus on editor integration – if we can’t get everything done in time for 3.5 we’ll ship what we have. 

The goal for the asset store has always been to be a quick and convenient way to get assets for games. With Unity 3.5, we’re taking a huge stride towards this.

Part of 3.5 is a revamped object picker. The idea is that you will be able to quickly browse and assign all assets in your project – and available online – from one integrated window. Something like this:

Above, you’ve clicked the material slot for the floor. You’ll see our new object browser that
lets you pick a material from your project, from free Asset Store materials or from the paid ones. Buying one is a simple as clicking it and hitting a buy button. If you feel spammed by this, simply collapse “Paid Assets” headline in the browser. Don’t want free stuff either? Just collapse that – and you’ve got only what’s in your project. 

In the ideal world, selecting a new floor material in the browser gets you a preview in the scene view – even if it’s a paid one. Assigning a new audio clip to an audio source lets you browse and buy from a huge collection of sounds (searchable by categories, tags, with live previews, etc.) – we’re trying to get this live as well.

Let’s consider another example: Most of our users try GameObject->Create Other->Tree. Most do it exacly once. I wonder why:

Awesome, n’est-ce pas? 

What if instead you got something like this:

I think that a game engine is not complete without content. This is our answer to that – no matter which project you have open, you’ll always have access to all our assets; trees, lens flares, etc. You will also have access to any paid trees on the Asset Store. This is great for users – they get a ton of assets presented without having to hunt for them. It’s also great for asset sellers; users don’t need to open up a specific browser window. If they want to find any paid lens flares, the choice is never more than one click away.

 

To make this feel awesome, it needs to be smooth. As silk. We want single click payments to make sure the purchasing is as smooth as the selection. This brings me to the next point on our roadmap:

Payments:
Contrary to common belief, Unity doesn’t handle credit card transactions ourselves. It goes through a payment processor – something like this:
Worldpay has a number of issues: It can only operate in an external browser window. US customers sometimes get extra surcharges. It just generally sucks.

We looked around and picked CyberSource as a new payment gateway. They’ll be handling all the credit card dealings, but we can show it inside Unity. They also have an option where they provide the back-end for storing all CC info. They remember your credit card number, not us. This is good – just ask Sony ;)

Sadly this switch means that PayPal is going away as a payment method. We are aware that some of you prefer to pay this way. Be assured that you are not forgotten and this is something we will attempt to address in the near future.

To test out how much sales were affected by making a smoother workflow (and losing PayPal), we ran a 2-week test: half our users got the old system, half got the new one. The results showed that 52% of the transactions and revenue came through the new payment solution. This means that despite not supporting PayPal payments, it performs slightly better than the old system. And we can take the new one further. The old system is a dead end.

With the test over, we have reverted temporarily to the old solution while we prepare for full scale deployment of the new one.

Have fun, and make us proud (as if you didn’t already)!

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Comments (30)

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31 Aug 2011, 9:20 am

Great. One more suggestion: Move the place of payment over to the US, not Denmark. A lot of users are afraid to suddenly pay 25% more (because of VAT). For all european customers we would be VAT-free if the place of payment happens in the United States. For me not an issue anymore as I run a company and have VAT reverse charge, but for all non-company runners it’s just pita to pay 25% more.

Other than that, go go go!!! :-)

Dreamora
31 Aug 2011, 9:28 am

No it wont martin. As per EU law UT would still have totake the vat and pay even if they had no EU business at all.
Thats why my own stuffbis sold through paypal not a platform, no platform offers me to not ripp EU customers not even pure US ones

31 Aug 2011, 9:34 am

Hi,

An improved object picker would be extremely welcome. But I really hope there will be an option to turn off the asset store content. When working on a project, most of the time is spend working with assets you already have available. Having that list constantly populated with commercially available alternatives (a.k.a. spam) would make it too distracting and confusing.

Jakko van Hunen

Nicholas Francis
31 Aug 2011, 9:41 am

@Jakko – You can just collapse them to turn them off.

31 Aug 2011, 12:09 pm

Dreamora: No, not for european countries! Might be different for switzerland, but definitely there would be no VAT charge on US sales. Per definition (my wife is tax consultant) is the US from an european standpoint “third land country” and and since the tax treaty agreement between R. Reagan and the german gov around 1984 no double tax treatment possible. Same applies for many other european countries like france and italy.

3rdmonkey
31 Aug 2011, 12:29 pm

Hi, actually I think moving the asset store operations to the US would help those who would like to sell there and who happen to be EU citizens as well.
It they are businesses/sole proprietors (I presume they should be, if they “sell”) and their yearly turnover does not exceed a threshold when their VAT registration becomes compulsory, the moment they “provide an electronic service” (yeah, actually they are not selling anything) to another EU-based business entity (Unity), the VAT registration probably becomes compulsory for them (at least in some EU countries).
I don’t want to spoil the party or anything, I am only afraid this could be a ticking time bomb for folks whore are already present in the store and not aware of this. (And it is probably the same if you buy something from the store for business purposes.)

31 Aug 2011, 3:59 pm

Looks great! I just hope that it will degrade gracefully in the absence of an internet connection (as does the current asset store) :)

Jason Amstrad.
31 Aug 2011, 4:16 pm

What about South American citizens ?
Will the new payment method be supported also ?
If I have a US Dollar bank account in a South American country,called Surinam,then will the new payment method also be supported ?
Let’s say that someone wants to buy something from me through the asset store,then will they be able to pay with their Visa,MasterCard,AMEX,etc,etc,…?
I want to know now,because I do not know if my “South American” country called “Surinam” is supported by the Unity asset store team.

31 Aug 2011, 5:59 pm

I completely agree with Jakko van Hunen. I really hope that there is a way to disable (completely turn off, not just hiding) Asset Store content too. If not, this would just be spam littering the content window making it more confusing.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE supply an option to completely turn it off!!! I really don’t want to have to create firewall rules to block Unity.

- Jordan

31 Aug 2011, 7:14 pm

@Jordan: collapse that thing once and it’s not there. Sounds like “turn it off” to me…

KONZON
1 Sep 2011, 4:08 am

How about a unified Asset Store / Asset Server solution? Same view, just another frame within the browser.

ExcuseMyFrench
1 Sep 2011, 7:25 am

“n’est-ce pas?” :)

Nicholas Francis
1 Sep 2011, 7:36 am

@ExcuseMyFrench.

Thanks – been to many years since I had French in school

Jason Amstrad.
1 Sep 2011, 1:07 pm

Will someone please reply to my post ?

1 Sep 2011, 8:56 pm

@aras- it still has to go online and grab images, info, etc. Why should I have to allow it to do that?

1 Sep 2011, 9:32 pm

Awesome addition to the great Asset Store.
Though, i have no problems with spamming asset stores windows in my project, unless all the assets merges in a single windows, that would be problematic as we already have a huge database of assets.
By collapsing the Asset Store windows, will i be able to browse locally on my asset only? Or when browsing all asset will be displayed (mines and Asset Store ones)?

Nicholas Francis
2 Sep 2011, 4:19 am

@Georges
There’s 2 bars that runs across the asset browser, one for free stuff, one for paid. They are always at the bottom, with the assets in the project on top. If you collapse them, you only see your assets (and we don’t download preview images, etc.)

2 Sep 2011, 4:28 am

@Jason

We support most major credit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard, etc. It is not dependent on where the content provider selling through the Asset Store lives, as the Unity Technologies A/S is acting as the merchant.

2 Sep 2011, 5:47 am

@Nicholas,
That’s sound pretty awesome then! I always liked the idea of previewing asset in my project before buying!
This will also brings more confidence to Asset Store buyers (and also push more quality stuff into the Asset Store).

Btw, do you have an approximate week/date for the first Beta testing on Unity 3.5?
I’m dying to put my hands on it (and mostly improve our existing project with it)!
Great keep the good work! :)
Cheers,

angel_m
2 Sep 2011, 6:55 am

What happen with other assets (editor extensions for example)? How will be they showed and purchased?
I assume if I want to buy an editor extension I will have to activate temporally the asset browser just like now we enter the asset store.

Warwick Allison
4 Sep 2011, 1:15 am

Surely this should be part of “Import Asset…”, not of asset selection. I would not expect the Texture selector to show me every texture in every project I have on *my* hard disk, so why would I want it showing every asset on someone else’s hard disk? This is logically wrong user interface design.

Proof: once I select one of these assets (and edit it), it will be in topmost section.

So can we turn off the two collapse bars, or is that permanently-lost screenspace? At least put them *inside* the scrollview, not one scrollview-per section.

6 Sep 2011, 7:56 am

@Warwick: The screen real estate lost to the collapsed bars should be minimal. Especially since they are at the bottom of the scroll view. (Yes they are inside a single scroll view, not one each :-P )

Jason Amstrad.
6 Sep 2011, 8:14 am

When will the new Asset Store payment system officially go into effect ?

Harald Scheirich
6 Sep 2011, 11:42 am

I am really disappointed to see PayPal go away, I think it will be a detriment to all providers. I have much lower threshhold to buying somehthing via PayPal than via credit card, there are a few things I probably would not have bought on the asset store had it not been for PayPal

7 Sep 2011, 7:44 am

Is there anything on the roadmap for more support for extensions? like per-seat licensing or any sort of support for license validation or such?

Francis Humphries
7 Sep 2011, 10:34 am

What?…No PayPal? There goes my Pro buying oppurtunity. Yay. :’(

Jason Amstrad.
7 Sep 2011, 3:36 pm

What about Western Union Money Transfer ?
Has Unity already considered that ?

Jiri
9 Sep 2011, 7:10 pm

“Let’s consider another example: Most of our users try GameObject->Create Other->Tree. Most do it exacly once. I wonder why”

Do you know why? Because there was NO documentation!!!!! Thanks god one forum member wrote excellent guide.

StackOverflow
22 Sep 2011, 2:50 am

So…this parallels with Windows 8 spamming us on our desktop, too? Open a web store, forget about bloating the editor please; this is getting ridiculous. Everyone and their mother wants to browse the store via web, NOT the editor. People like to shop from work or away from home and can’t do it with your system here. Now it’s taking over the editor and I guess Unity 5 will offer dancing grapes on the screen to remind us to shop at the store? You guys really need to consider who you are marketing this idea to because we can smell spam a mile away.

I understand (from reading this article) that you are taking the Vue approach with the integrated AS libraries, but E-ON ALSO HAS A WEB PAGE TO BROWSE AND PURCHASE FROM. The first thing I do when I install a new version of Vue is turn those damned store assets off immediately because they make an absolute MESS of trying to figure out what object is local, online, or not purchased yet. Therefore, the option is turned off – a complete waste of your programming time.

How about a GUI editor instead? How about a SkyBox editor instead? Anything, and I mean anything, but yet ANOTHER STORE IN MY FACE. I’m sticking with Unity 3.1 and not budging.

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