A free Unity?
Short answer: yes!
Long answer: read on :)
At the Unite 2009 conference we just announced that Unity Indie would be discontinued and that a new version of Unity (called just «Unity») would be made free. Of course this requires some explanation, and since the forums (as well as Twitter and the rest of the interwebs) are aflame with speculation I think I better get started explaining.
Unity Indie no more
Unity Indie was a cool product. It was very featureful, enabling production of rich 3D games and other interactive content for the web and standalone PC and Mac builds too. And it was a commercial product too: it cost $199 and you were explicitly allowed to sell your work and make money with it. This was no «hobbyist» or «noncommercial» license.
But also it’s not been a significant part of our business at all: Unity Pro, Unity Wii and Unity iPhone for the bulk of our (rapidly growing) livelyhood.
However what we liked about Unity Indie was that it allowed many many people to get started with Unity. These people are hobbyists, students, professional and amateur independent developers, as well as teenagers and kids. And many of them are really valuable to the community.
Instead, a free Unity
Today we launched a new product called just «Unity». It has the same features as Unity Indie had, and the same license (and can thus be used commercially). The only difference will be that it’s free of charge. No time limits, no trials. Just a registration and a download, and you’re good to go.
This new product won’t do anything funky or strange. There’s no forced advertising, there’s no new requirements to share your revenue with us, and there’s no «crapware» or «adware» installed with it.
Indie customers, expect an email from us
Secondly, we understand that people who recently bought Unity Indie might feel really unlucky. Every single Unity 2.x Indie license owner will be offered to upgrade to Unity Pro or to add Unity iPhone Basic to their license for a big discount. And everyone who bought Unity Indie in the last sixty days are alternately being offered full refunds if they don’t wish to upgrade.
These emails are going out in the next couple of days so please bear with us while we’re inundated with excitement and while we try not to make our severs overheat :)
Feel free to discuss this here or on the forums (http://forum.unity3d.com/viewtopic.php?t=34991), and we’ll try to answer your questions although we are also really busy at the conference (it’s awesome by the way, so many great people).
UPDATE: A few people asked if this move had anything to do with our new investors. It’s a fair question, but we had been thinking about this much longer. However when we told them, they were very supportive of the idea.
UPDATE 2: Thanks for the comments. A few questions have been asked repeatedly here and in our forums, so I addressed them here.