Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

Unity launches new free Unity 5 Personal Edition

Unity Technologies has released Unity 5, the much-anticipated update to its popular game engine and development environment, adding an extensive set of new graphics, physics and audio-editing functionality.

In addition, the developer has overhauled its pricing model, introducing a new free Personal Edition that gives indie devs access to all of the core engine’s features, including those added in the latest release.

New graphics and audio tools, fully 64-bit editor
There is a long list of new functionality in Unity 5, including physically based shading, real-time GI, HDR light probes, support for PhysX 3.3, a fully 64-bit editor, and an advanced audio mixer.

You can see some of the highlights in Unity Technologies’ new tech demo video below.

But cool though the new features are – and they are extremely cool – we covered them in some detail in our original story on Unity 5 when it was announced at GDC last year.

What’s new this time round is the pricing model, which removes many of the restrictions on the free edition of the software, and offers bonus services to users of the commercial version.

All the features of Unity 5, free to anyone earning under $100,000 a year
Unlike the old free version, which included only part of Unity’s feature set, the new Unity 5 Personal Edition is the full deal. With it, solo artists and indie studios can publish to any of the 21 platforms Unity now supports.

The only real indication that you’re using a free tool is the splash screens of games published with the Personal Edition, which carries Unity’s branding.

And unlike Unreal Engine 4 – from which Epic Games has just removed the monthly subscription fees – users don’t have to give Unity Technologies a share of the revenues if their game becomes successful.

“Take this from a free-to-play guy: free plus 5% of your gross is not free,” commented John Earner, CEO of mobile developer Space Ape Games, speaking at the Unity 5 launch event. “It’s millions of dollars.”

Bonus cloud and analytics tools for Pro users
Users of the $1,500 Pro edition of Unity also get more for their money, in the shape of new analytics service Analytics Pro, and a 12-month subscription to Unity Cloud Build Pro.

The new cloud-based system monitors a user’s code repository and automatically compiles a new build of the game for iOS, Android or Unity web player each time changes are committed.

Pro users also get a team licence, which would otherwise cost $20 per month, and access to free assets from the Unity Asset Store, updated monthly.

Pricing and availability
Unity 5 is available now for Windows XP SP2 and above and Mac OS X 10.6. The free Personal Edition is available to artists and studios with gross annual revenues of under $100,000 a year.

Pricing for the Pro edition remains unchanged at $1,500 for a perpetual licence, or $75/month for a subscription. Pro users have to pay for their iOS and Android add-ons, which also cost $1,500 each, or $75/month.

Read Unity Technologies’ official announcement about the new pricing model

See a comparison table of services included with the Personal and Pro editions of the software

Read a full list of new features in Unity 5