GameMaker Studio 2, the game production software behind indie hits like Hyper Light Drifter and Undertale, has announced additional pricing choices that should make developing independent games even more inexpensive. YoYo Games, the maker of GameMaker Studio, has released an upgraded “unlimited” free version for amateurs, as well as a new “Indie” price tier that bundles all non-console platform licenses for $9.99 per month and lowers licensing for studios producing games on consoles.
GameMaker Studio 2 previously had a free price tier that was primarily meant for learning how to use the software. It had a month-long time limit and, among other things, required you to pay for a membership (beginning at $39 per year to develop for Mac or Windows) to continue experimenting. The new unrestricted edition removes the time constraint, but amateur game developers will still have to pay to export and distribute their games.
Fortunately, the cost of exporting and publishing is also decreasing. For $9.99 per month / $99.99 per year, the new Indie price tier contains licenses for Mac, Windows, Android (including Amazon’s Fire OS), iOS, UWP (Universal Windows Platform), Ubuntu, and HTML5.
Previously, non-console pricing was split into two categories: Creator offered $39-per-year subscriptions for PC or Mac licenses, while Developer offered $99-per-game permanent rights to export games to mobile, desktop (Mac, Windows, and Ubuntu), HTML5, and Universal Windows Platform. It’s easier to have games distributed on a wider range of platforms when they’re packaged together as a single choice.
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Console licenses will see the final price change. YoYo Games used to charge $799 per year to publish on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. These prices have been replaced with a single Enterprise tier, which costs $79.99 per month or $799.99 per year.
That’s the same deal as YoYo Games’ previous $1,500-per-year Ultimate license, but at a far reduced cost. Although some of the flexibility of selecting a certain console to publish on is gone, the benefit of having a lot more platform alternatives may be worth it.
There are obvious challenges in developing games (learning how to code is just the beginning), but one of the most significant is the cost. Lowering the cost of developing and publishing on popular platforms like iOS and Android might make a significant impact on new developers. Even if it doesn’t, everyone can now experiment at their own pace for free.