What is this Unity anyway?
A bit over four years ago Unity 1.0 entered beta, and was subsequently released June 6th, 2005. Since then we’ve released 20 updates, grown from 3 to 34 people, seen hundreds of games and other products released (as well as thousands of demos and throw-aways).
But what is this all about anyway?
This summer I will be posting a handful of posts to share with you some of our thoughts about where this is all going. Not exactly a roadmap (our CTO Joachim Ante, as well as our lead iPhone developer Renaldas “ReJ” Zioma have been doing that), but to explain why we’re doing what we’re doing, and maybe to help us all know what we’re speaking about when we say “Unity”.
Democratization is the word
Giving everyone access to something that previously not everyone had access to. So we decided to do that. This has several requirements:
1) Be simple, accessible
The first step to democratization is to provide a license that anyone can pick up.
Not everyone will go to the trouble to call up and inquire about pricing, so that has to be given away on the website.
Not everyone can afford $1499, so we offer a $199 license too.
We felt that a professional software model was the most powerful of models, offering a well understood setup where software is basically purchased from a website, rather than somehow pried away from the provider. To understand it, just think how Photoshop or Office is licensed and you’ve pretty much got it.
This then has to be offered in an accessible manner: all docs and tutorials are provided on the website; no stupid NDAs to sign. And we offer our developer conference proceedings for free on the website too (some 30-odd hours of highly qualified tutorial content).
2) Robustness, polish
If you license a game engine for a million dollars, you’ll perhaps not mind too much to hire a full time supporter to go along with it. But if you buy something for $199 it better work the first time around!
Think about it. As illogical as this sounds, having thousands of customers paying you just $199 each is an incredibly high bar, much higher than working in an enterprise licensing model where you have a complex and high-touch relationship with each customer.
While the previous two points are pretty obvious, this one is less so, but no less important. No matter how friendly a business model one adopts, if it’s not profitable, it’ll have to change. We however are proud that our business model is working incredibly well, and that we therefore are able to stay the course (more than can be said about some of our dear competitors).
But just for the record (we’re honest guys) we’re not just doing this to be nice. There is a kind of boiling point of openness and accessibility, at which a community can evolve and generate tremendous excitement and value. Which everyone who participates gets to share in.
And with you, we’ve hit it. Thanks, and here’s to many more years of cool Unity.