Unity defends subscription switch: 'There will be no Unity 6'

Unity defends subscription switch: 'There will be no Unity 6'
James Batchelor

By James Batchelor

June 6th 2016 at 10:40AM

Engine firm says new model is “absolutely necessary” as it plans to “make Unity incrementally better”, introducing ‘pay to own’ option

In a blog post defending its new subscription model, Unity clarified that there are no plans for a Unity 6.

The engine and services provider has received mixed feedback since last week’s Unite Europe conference, where the firm revealed it would be splitting its flagship products into the free Personal edition and subscription-based Plus and Pro editions.

Unity co-founder and CTO Joachim Ante took to the official blog to explain the reasons behind these decisions. He stressed that the constantly changing nature and wide variety of the games platforms on the markets means that Unity plans to focus on smaller updates when new features are ready rather than holding them back for a full number release.

“With this in mind, we want to be clear,” he wrote. “There will be no major Unity 6 release.

In the dev team we wanted to stop doing major releases for a long time. With the major releases model we had done up until Unity 5, it has always forced us to bundle up a bunch of features and release them in one big splash. Usually it results in that good and complete features would be artificially held back for a long time while other features are still maturing, and eventually releasing some of these features before they are ready. All in the name of creating one big splashy release that customers feel is worth upgrading to. 

“It’s what we did because we had to in a model where we worked toward an unnatural new major release every few years. This is not some evil marketing team pushing for it, it is the inherent nature of that business model. It was always a painful process for us and you and it really serves no one.

“With our switch to subscription we can make Unity incrementally better, every week. When a feature is complete, we will ship it. If it is not ready we will wait for the next point release. Our switch to subscription is absolutely necessary in order for us to provide a robust and stable platform.”

As an alternative to the new subscription model, Unity plans to introduce a “pay to own” option. After two years of subscribing, devs will be able to stop paying and continue using the version they have at that point. However, this will prevent them from getting new features, services or fixes.

Ante said Unity has been listening to all of the feedback for ways to make the subscription more appealing – “especially to indie devs who have been using Unity Pro for the longest time.”

“I especially care a lot about this group of developers, who effectively funded this company with us and have been with us on this journey for a very long time,” he wrote. “We will figure something out.”