At the end of June, Unity updated parts of its licensing rules with no public announcements. The update changed the way smaller developers create games for closed platforms. For example, it requires a Pro license to launch a title on Xbox.
The new rules came into force on June 30. The company’s spokesperson told Gamasutra that “developing for consoles is a complex undertaking for any studio and Unity has always recommended Unity Pro for development on these platforms.”
It is worth noting that these changes only apply to developers of new games. If a studio has already been working on a project on an older version of Unity (before the 2021.2 tech stream), it won’t have to pay for the Pro license.
Prior to the update, Unity required the Pro ($1,800 a year) or Enterprise ($4,000 a year) subscriptions only for studios that generated over $200,000 in the last 12 months. All smaller developers could use the Plus ($399 a year) or Personal (free) licenses.
Starting from June 30, all console developers will need either the Pro license or a Preferred Platform License Key to develop their games. While Sony and Nintendo offer these keys to game makers, Microsoft doesn’t have this option. It means that new developers will have to pay for Unity Pro as the only way to create an approved project for Xbox.
“We will continue to work with our development partners and engine providers, including Unity, to determine how to best support creators on Xbox,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Gamasutra. However, it is still unclear whether the company will start to offer Preferred Platform License Keys to help smaller developers.
Although a lot of studios have been already using Unity Pro, they raised concerns about the new rules. The company announced the changes on a closed internal forum, so new developers basically could have missed the news.