GameMaker Studio 2, the game development software used to create indie darlings like Hyper Light Drifter and Undertale, is introducing new pricing options today that should make it even more affordable to develop independent games. GameMaker Studio’s developer YoYo Games is now offering an updated “unlimited” free version of the software for hobbyists, a new “Indie” price tier that bundles all non-console platform licenses together for $9.99 per month, and cheaper licenses for studios publishing games on consoles.
Prior to today, GameMaker Studio 2 had a free price tier mostly intended for learning how to use the software. It had a monthlong time limit and required you to pony up for a subscription (starting at $39 per year to develop for Mac or Windows) to keep experimenting, among other restrictions. The new unlimited version ditches the time limit but will still require amateur developers to pay to export and publish their game.
The price to export and publish is luckily also going down. The new Indie price tier bundles licenses for Mac, Windows, Android (including Amazon’s Fire OS), iOS, UWP (Universal Windows Platform), Ubuntu, and HTML5 for $9.99 per month / $99.99 per year. Previously, non-console pricing broke down into two categories: Creator offered $39-per-year subscriptions to licenses for either PC or Mac; and Developer gave $99-a-piece permanent licenses to export games for mobile, desktop (Mac, Windows, and Ubuntu), HTML5, and UWP. Packaging them into a single option simplifies things and makes it easier to get games released across a greater variety of platforms.
The final pricing change is to console licenses. YoYo Games used to charge $799 per year to publish on either Xbox, PlayStation, or Switch. Those prices will now be replaced by a single Enterprise tier for a $79.99 per month / $799.99 per year subscription. That’s the same offering as YoYo Games’ old $1,500-per-year Ultimate license for a dramatically lower price. Some of the flexibility of picking and choosing a specific console to publish on is lost, but the benefit of a lot more platform options might be worth it.
Developing games has obvious hurdles (learning how to code is just scratching the surface), but the price is one of the larger ones. Lowering the cost to develop and publish on popular platforms like iOS and Android could make a big difference for developers just getting their start. Even if it doesn’t, now anyone can experiment for free at their own pace.
Correction August 10th, 12:02PM ET: A previous version of this article stated YoYo Games used to charge $199 for console licenses, it actually charged $799. We regret the error.