We love making games. And we love Unity: it's a powerful, versatile tool with near-endless possibilities. There's a reason why they are leaders in the game development industry. But GDevelop has some unique advantages of its own, and today we pit GDevelop Vs. Unity to help you decide which one is best for your project.
This is a very subjective area in a GDevelop Vs. Unity comparison. Unity can be very complex and intimidating for newcomers. It also uses the C# programming language for expanding functionality, which has a steep learning curve.
GDevelop is extremely user-friendly. In fact, GDevelop is a no-code, open-source game-making app you can even run in your browser.
GDevelop is also faster and more lightweight. There is no 5GB install like there is with Unity, and you don't need 30 minutes to recompile shaders. Previews are almost instant! GDevelop is an open source alternative to Unity.
As stated previously, what is easier for some might be more difficult for others. But GDevelop has been built from the ground up to be accessible to everyone, regardless of skill level.
You can say that GDevelop is the Bubble.io for game development: an accessible, affordable no-code development tool that scales with your needs. Bubble.io serves that role for app development, and GDevelop serves the role for creating games.
Depending on which platforms you target and the kind of game you want to make, Unity might pull a tiny bit ahead in the GDevelop Vs. Unity comparison.
Both GDevelop and Unity can make 2D games and export them to iOS, Android, Steam, Windows, Linux, Mac, itch.io, Messenger Gaming, and more. So if that covers the platforms you want to put your game on, you'll need to use other factors to choose which software to use.
Unity does, however, have the added advantage of being able to produce complex 3D games and export 2D and 3D games to consoles like the Playstation 5 and the Nintendo Switch. However, in order to be able to export to consoles, you need to be approved as a developer by that platform.
So if you want to publish your Unity game on the Switch, you'll first need to apply for approval by Nintendo. And it's the same with Playstation.
If your game is successful, it's still possible to ask a game porting company to use their own technologies and certifications to port your GDevelop games to a console - so it's not a huge problem should your game become massively successful and become the next Among Us. And GDevelop has started adding 3D functionality as well! You can see some of the cool 3D games people have made so far during our 3D jam.
GDevelop has an ace up its sleeve: you can publish your game to gd.games in less than 1 minute straight from the editor, and games are super lightweight.
UPDATED 22/9/23: Unity has recently announced a major change in their pricing structure. We've updated this article to reflect these changes.
As with any comparisons between apps, in this article comparing GDevelop Vs. Unity we must talk about pricing. Both GDevelop and Unity are free to use, buit whether Unity remains free depends on your application.
In September 2023, Unity made changes to their pricing model. With the introduction of the Runtime Fee, Unity will start charging game creators based on the number of installs as well as total revenue.
You can find details on their new Runtime Fee below:
Unity Runtime Fee Schedule. Source: Unity.com.
It is important to remember that this fee schedule is added on top of their existing premium plans: Unity Pro ($185/month per seat), Unity Enterprise and Unity Industry ($450/month per seat) will all be subjected to the Runtime Fee if they qualify.
GDevelop, on the other hand, is completely free, forever. It doesn't matter how much money you make from your games. GDevelop is also open source, meaning that if there's something you don't like, you can fork the engine at any point and continue working with the version you find most appealing.
There is, however, the possibility of supporting the project by and adding fantastic cloud features purchasing one of the Premium subscriptions.
Features added with the Premium subscriptions include: more cloud builds, the option to use our industry-leading iOS or Android apps without limits, cross-device project syncronization, removal of all GDevelop branding from games, and more. Subscriptions start at just $5/month.
There are also GDevelop Premium plans for businesses, game studios and professionals who need even more features, more cloud storage and sync, and even direct support from the GDevelop team.
Finally, there are GDevelop Premium plans for Education, which start at $3/month per user, and include classroom-oriented features such as giving teachers the ability to monitor student projects, total student anonymity (no need to use an email address to create a GDevelop account) and more.
GDevelop also has advanced game analytics to see how your game performs, player accounts to prevent cheating on games with Leaderboards, player feedback forms and more. All of these features are enhanced with a Premium subscription.
Those are the only differences between having and not having a subscription. Amazing tools like the Debugger, Live Preview, and more are always free, and always will be. With a subscription, you also help to pay for the hosting, server, and bandwidth costs for the packaging and other online services. Finally, you're also supporting the development of an open-source game engine accessible to everyone!
GDevelop also comes bundled with over 170 examples to get you started straight away, and an asset store full of free assets for you to use in your games, even commercially!
Unity is more well-known and therefore there are tons of tutorials and courses out there, but it also has a steeper learning curve.
GDevelop is easy to use, so you can start making games straight away. And if you do need help, we do have the GDevelop Academy with plenty of game development tutorials, as well as an incredibly helpful community of fellow creators ready and willing to give you a hand. There's even a full crash course over at the freeCodeCamp YouTube Channel:
GDevelop is also an open-source project, which means you can join countless collaborators who have made GDevelop what it is today. And you'll always be able to ensure the code has no malicious bits in it.
In short? It will depend on the type of game you want to make. If you want to make a 3D game or you're trying to get approved as a console developer to publish there, Unity has the lead.
But if you want to make games easily, with no strings attached and no worries about having to pay once you start making a living from your games, GDevelop has you covered. It still provides a ton of export possibilities, and the 2D/3D indie game scene is more alive than ever, particularly with the increase of mobile game adoption. Finally, GDevelop's pricing structure and open source nature guarantees that you'll never be priced out of using the engine to make your games.
There's never been a better time to get into game creation and development. We know there are plenty of choices when it comes to what tools to use, and hopefully, this article will help you make the decision that is right for you.