Opera–a name you might be surprised to hear again suddenly in 2021–apparently had $10 million available to acquire YoYo Games within the last year, and with it, the GameMaker Studio 2 engine.
Earlier this month new price tiers rolled out seemingly focused on making that money back by getting as many developers on monthly subscription plans as possible. Curious developers can download and learn the engine for free, but even HTML export, as well as desktop and mobile exports, will require a $9.99 monthly subscription. The ability to export to the big three consoles will require a full $79.99 monthly Enterprise subscription even though exports for PlayStation 4, PS 5, Xbox One, and Series X | S are all still in closed beta.
Most coverage of this overhaul has been neutral-to-positive, but I don’t know how long folks have been following the GameMaker story, if at all. My last check-in on GameMaker Studio came courtesy of a Humble Bundle pickup which, if I recall, scored me all exports but consoles for one low price. Long before that, I made my first computer game with the original Mark Overmars-era GameMaker in about late 2002 when the software was already a few years old. I recall unlocking all the bells and whistles for something under $30.
Make no mistake: I’m thrilled GameMaker is still around, and I still think it’s a great option to get many folks making games. The idea of not even allowing web exports for free, however, takes away the vital early feedback-gathering capability that makes new game developers good. $10 per month is easily the difference between letting new devs bootstrap and handing them a new monthly bill that won’t pay for itself anytime soon, if ever.