“We have seen other platforms making awkward moves with their pricing and terms, so we thought, what if we did the opposite?” says the boss of GameMaker, as the platform goes free-to-use.
The Dundee-based firm YoYo Games has announced that it’s making its GameMaker game-development platform free for non-commercial use.
Previously, GameMaker charged a subscription of $9.99 per month for non-console platforms, or $79.99 a month for all platforms including consoles. But in a blog post, the Scottish firm has said that in addition to being free for non-commercial use, GameMaker will now only charge a single, one-off fee of $99.99 for a commercial license for games made for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and Web.
However, the existing ‘Enterprise’ subscription model will remain in place for commerical games being made for consoles.
In introducing the new pricing structure, the firm made a veiled dig at Unity’s recent announcement of a Runtime Fee, which levies a charge to developers every time one of their games is downloaded.
“We have seen other platforms making awkward moves with their pricing and terms, so we thought, what if we did the opposite, something that could actually be good for developers?” said GameMaker head Russell Kay. “Our success is measured by the number of people making games!”
Kay explains that since GameMaker was bought by Opera Software in 2021, the number of users on the platform has grown three-fold, and that the firm’s change to its pricing structure reflects a bid to make game development more accessible and flexible.
“The free version serves as an entry point for beginners, a one-time commercial fee is for the curious ones, while the subscription-based enterprise tier provides a scalable option for more experienced developers and professionals,” he said.
YoYo Games began developing GameMaker in 2007, and some of the games made using the platform include Hyper Light Drifter, Undertale, Chicory: A Colorful Tale, Katana ZERO, Hotline Miami and Nuclear Throne. GameMaker head Russell Kay previously worked at the Dundee-based developer DMA Design, the studio behind Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto.
The official X account for the open-source game engine Godot responded to the news of GameMaker going free for non-commercial use by saying: “Great news for all game developers! Any plans on open sourcing next?”.
The GameMaker X account’s response was simply: “Stay tuned…”