With a lot of concern surrounding some of the more popular game design engines out there, GameMaker is making a play to get developers in the door and give its engine a go. GameMaker has been made free for non-commercial use, meaning developers can put together their games in the engine without paying a dime as long as they don’t sell them. However, if they do sell them, GameMaker has also removed the subscription model in favor of a one-time $99 USD fee.
The GameMaker developers announced their move to make the engine free in non-commercial use via a press release this week. Starting today, users will be able create inside of GameMaker for free, as shared in the details below:
The reasoning? Well, the group specifically mentions the “awkward moves with… pricing and terms” that have been going on with other engines. Unity is never directly mentioned, but it’s pretty likely this is a reference to Unity, which drew the ire of its community when it announced new runtime fees that would charge developers for downloads of their games. The backlash has seen Unity move to discontinue products and lay off employees, drawing further concern. Epic Games (which operates Unreal Engine 5), had its own issues as well with the layoff of around 900 employees, including half of recently-acquired Bandcamp staff.
With just a $99 fee if users decide to sell their games after the fact, GameMaker is pretty clearly making a play to win over developers and bring them over to its ecosystem. It will remain to be seen if the play pays off, but the timing arguably looks right. Stay tuned as we continue to follow this story for further updates.