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GameMaker ditches subscription model for indie developers

GameMaker ditches subscription model for indie developers


GameMaker will now be free for noncommercial, non-console projects, and its indie subscription tier will be eliminated in favor of a one-time licensing fee.

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Screenshot from Hotline Miami 2
Image: Devolver Digital

Christmas has come early for indie / solo game developers. GameMaker, the game engine software program used to make Undertale, Chicory: A Colorful Tale, Hotline Miami 2, and more, has announced that it’s making significant changes to its pricing structure — but don’t worry, they’re the good kind of changes.

Starting today, GameMaker will be free to use for noncommercial, non-console projects, and the company is eliminating its indie / creator tier monthly subscription fee in favor of a one-time paid licensing fee of $99. Additionally, if you’re currently enrolled at the indie / creator tier and wish to pay the licensing fee, the subscription fees you’ve paid will be discounted from the price. Check out the FAQ page for details.

Russell Kay, head of GameMaker, said that the changes were a way for the company to express its thanks to users, explaining that, since 2021, GameMaker has seen its user base triple in size. Kay also had some subtle but effective shade for GameMaker’s competitors.

“We have seen other platforms making awkward moves with their pricing and terms, so we thought, what if we did the opposite, something that could actually be good for developers?” Kay wrote in the announcement.

Kay is likely referencing both Unity and Unreal Engine, which, earlier this year, made changes to their respective pricing programs. Unity’s changes specifically aroused so much developer ire that it led to boycotts, vicious public callouts, and the perhaps coincidental, perhaps not sudden retirement of CEO John Riccitiello.

Though customers currently enrolled in an enterprise-level subscription will see no changes to their plans, it seems like GameMaker is counting on the pricing update to draw more people to the software.

“Our success is measured by the number of people making games!” Kay wrote.