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For Unity, lowering the barriers on mobile is good business

There's a chance you missed the news that Unity's basic mobile licenses went free earlier this week. Unity CEO David Helgason explains how his company can afford to make this move.
There's a chance you missed the news that Unity's basic mobile licenses went free earlier this week, what with the Xbox One reveal taking up all the video game headlines. Well, OK, not that much of a chance -- it's huge news after all, essentially allowing anyone to pick up a copy of the Unity development tools for free, create a game for mobile, and get it onto the App Store or Google Play store. Unity CEO David Helgason tells me that his company can afford to make this move on the basis that those developers who are successful through the publishing of a Unity-based game may then go on to invest in Unity's further assets. "Once developers hit a certain point in their studio’s existence and have realized a decent amount of success, they often find that their ambitions have grown in a way that they want access to some of the powerful and more advanced features that are found in the Pro packages," he explains. He continues, "There are also source and console licenses, premium support packages, asset Store revenue, partnership deals, and Union, Unity being embedded in consumer electronics and slot machines, and several others." Helgason reasons that any company looking to stay ahead in the ever-fluctuating video game industry will eventually require these features. "We're constantly assessing current and future needs of developers and finding ways to provide for them in ways that can help them succeed that they don’t have the resources to do on their own," he adds.

Why now?

I asked Helgason why his company has chosen now as the moment to make these tools free. What is it about this moment in time that has brought this on? "It's always been our goal and hope to democratize game development and inspire developers by providing opportunity," he tells me. "We are in a great position now and are finding that we can push even further with our dream of democratizing game development." "This move made a lot of sense to us right now with the incredible excitement around mobile development," he adds. "While a lot of our motivation comes from wanting to play a role in the transformation of the game development industry, the more developers become successful the more they are going to consider buying our software, which will help us make Unity better for everyone... and allow us to level the field in game development." Those developers interesting in taking advantage of the free Unity tools should visit the official website.

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