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Game engine GameMaker is now free for non-commercial use

Game development engine GameMaker is now free for non-commercial use, with a one-time fee replacing the subscription model for commercial use.

Since August 2021, Scotland based-developer YoYo Games’ game engine has been free to use, but developers wishing to export or publish their game had to pay a subscription fee of $9.99 a month for non-console platforms, or $79.99 a month for all platforms including consoles.

Now, as announced in a new post on the software’s blog, the payment model has been changed to make it cheaper for commercial developers, and entirely free for non-commercial ones.

GameMaker is now “absolutely free to download and keep forever for non-commercial use”, according to its FAQ page.

Developers will be able to export their game to PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and Web, without having to pay any fees, as long as they don’t plan to make money from it.

If they decide they do want to sell their game, they have to pay a single Commercial Licence for $99, as opposed to the previous monthly subscription, which allows them to sell their game on PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and Web.

If they want to sell their game on consoles too, the $79.99 monthly subscription fee still applies.

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GameMaker will now also allow free exports on all formats, including console, for non-commercial educational games, as long as the developer sets up an Education account.

“We have seen other platforms making awkward moves with their pricing and terms,” GameMaker head Russell Kay said, referring to Unity’s controversial monetisation plans earlier this year.

“So we thought, what if we did the opposite, something that could actually be good for developers? Our success is measured by the number of people making games.”