Unity Focus: The Asset Store

Unity Focus: The Asset Store
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

March 16th 2011 at 8:00AM

Develop speaks to the engine vendor that's buying and selling

When Unity unveiled its Asset Store back in November last year, it was easy to feel optimistic.

The tech outfit’s in-engine marketplace for buying and selling assets and Unity extensions aligned elegantly with the company’s vision of democratised game development, and promised to harness the potential of the communal industry.

But now the store is up and running what is the reality of providing asstes, and can it really make those who do money?

“It makes my work easy,” says an optimistic Christophe Canon, co-founder and CEO of Frogames. “I’ve created assets for indie game developers since 2006, and the main difficulty is to manage to  find an audience to sell my products.

“The Asset Store plugs me directly to this audience, because the store is inside the software. In addition to this, new products arrive everyday, and that makes Unity’s Asset Store more and more attractive to lots of indie developers.”

IN THE MONEY?

According to Canon, who has succeeded as the top-grossing provider of Asset Store content thus far, with the number of Unity users and the quantity of products in the marketplace growing every day, there is good reason to be upbeat about potential revenues. And he’s not alone.

Kurt Loeffler is an environment artist at Cryptic Studios, and is enjoying enough success on the Asset Store to consider providing content to other Unity users full time.

He remains pragmatic about the potential the marketplace offers him, but is certain the Asset Store can serve as a launch pad for a change in career.

“Currently I don’t make enough money from it to quit my day job,” he admits, adding:

“But maybe if I add some more stuff I could. I would like to work for myself and I think the Asset Store is a big stepping-stone to being able to do that.”

SUPERMARKET SWEEP

According to those behind the Asset Store, the potential it offers sellers is rooted in the advantages its buyers enjoy.

Quality content, extensions and reusable game code are all currently available on the Asset Store, and are proving attractive to small teams unable to match man hours with creative drive.

“It also allows studios an additional revenue stream, as they monetise their creations by repackaging parts of their projects and tools and then sell them as reusable components on  the Asset Store,” says Keli Hlodversson, Asset Store development manager.

“What makes the Asset Store unique is that it is built straight into Unity,” he adds.

“Having the Asset Store constantly ready at hand allows developers to search for, buy, and download game assets without ever leaving the Unity editor and the project they are working on. It’s akin to having a supermarket in your kitchen. This opens a direct conduit for those selling assets to reach every developer using Unity.”