Earlier this week Unity announced iOS, Android, WP8 and BB10 targeting will now be included in the base package. There was another small change that wasn't given the same exposure. You can now purchase Unity pro on a subscription basis.
So, what does it cost and what do you get? In Unity's own words:
Create with Unity Pro for just $75/month
Our new limited-time offer brings the power of Unity Pro to even more developers!
- Subscribe and pay by the month for a minimum of 12 months
- Prices start at $75/month for Unity Pro
- New releases during your subscription included at no extra cost
- Add any Unity Pro add-on to your plan whenever you want at just $75/month per add-on
It's too bad there is a 12 month minimum, as there would have been a heck of an opportunity here. Another thing to keep in mind, you need to get pro for each supported platform, so for example if you wanted to target iOS, Android and PC/Web at pro level that would cost $225/month. In the end I suppose it comes down to how often Unity release new versions. By their prior release schedule, if you purchased early in 3.x's life cycle, these prices would be worse.
Right now for example, PRO + iOS + Android would cost $4,500 to buy. Via subscription it would be 2700$ a year. So basically, if a new version ( Unity 5 ) is released within 2 years, subscription is a good deal or break even at worse, otherwise outright purchase is your better road. Do I expect to see Unity 5 within 2 years? My crystal ball says yes.
What exactly do you get with pro over basic anyways?
I suppose that is the ultimate question, now that Basic is free, what do you get for going pro anyways? Well the full feature matrix is available here.
The key advantages ( at least imho ) are:
- Native code access. Want to integrate with a 3rd party C++ library… you can't, at least not if you aren't pro.
- Improved graphics ( 3D Textures, Realtime Shadows, HDR, Lightmapping with GI, Render to Texture, Deferred rendering, Occlusion culling and Full Screen Post Processing effects are all pro only graphic features ). You may or may not need them
- Code and GPU profiler
- Build size stripping ( on mobile, pro can create smaller EXEs )
- Splash screen removal
- IK rigs for Mecanim
- Playing video and streaming
So, if you are creating a cutting edge FPS, pro is almost a must, at least if you want post DX9 fidelity graphics. If you are creating a puzzle game or less graphically intensive game, almost none of these features is going to be important to you, except perhaps the exe stripping.
Anyways, you can purchase Unity via subscription right here.