Since its inception in 2010, the Unity Asset Store has endeavored to empower game developers with the tools and resources they need, so they can focus on the creative process of making great games as effectively and efficiently as possible. It’s part of our mission to democratize game development. With over 1.5 million Asset Store users, we can attest that the community finds it an indispensable resource! We frequently hear from grateful customers, pleased that they have finished their product on time, on budget, made possible by resources obtained on the Unity Asset Store.
At its core, the store is an extension of behavior that we observed evolving organically in the community. On our forums and wiki, Unity developers were sharing and exchanging code, art and other assets informally. We saw an opportunity to create a marketplace which would serve the interests of our developers as well as provide an income to the talented people who create and sell content. While perhaps the metaphor of an ecosystem is overused, it’s really an accurate representation of the Asset Store-- we’ve made a kind of coral reef where game developers and content creators serve the needs of one another. It’s very much alive! We have content creators now who are blessed with enough success on the Asset Store to make content creation their primary livelihood, not bound by geography or chained down to a studio. Asset Store has empowered artists and programmers to become self-made entrepreneurs. And in a few cases, millionaires.
In the late 90's and early 2000's, game development was a pretty expensive and complicated endeavor, and producers were reluctant to take a risk investing in projects which deviated from the mainstream. Although there were some exceptions, it was not a good time for the indie or creative developer. This is exactly the problem we set out to solve at Unity with both our engine and our Asset Store. Unity takes care of the complex heavy lifting involved in making a game, so you can focus on what’s important: making meaningful games and interactive experiences. It’s one of the things that keeps us passionate about what we do here at Unity Technologies. By providing the largest commercial repository of game code, content, art and learning materials, the Unity Asset Store can provide a developer with the resources needed to make great games, to work faster and to reach higher with the help of content creators who love what they do. There’s 3D models by some of the best artists out there, top-notch code libraries, Hollywood sound effects and music, and starter kits which you can take apart and use as the basis for building new projects.
Alas, there’s always going to be folks who exploit a good thing for personal gain without giving something back. I’m referring to the handful of Asset Store users out there who have taken Unity demo products and Asset Store starter products, slapped their name on it without contributing or creating anything original, and uploading it for sale on popular online game marketplaces. This flies in the face of our heartfelt mission to serve the creative individual and catalyze a whole new generation of great games! Some people have referred to the process as “Asset Flipping”. Whatever you call it, the amount of attention this practice has received is hugely disproportionate to the many positive ways the majority of our customers use the Asset Store.
The point of this little missive is to underscore that the Asset Store is here to serve the greater good. If you spot someone from the Dark Side misusing Asset Store content, or if you spot an example project “flipped” and uploaded as a game on an online marketplace, call them out & let the vendor know. In many ways, the Asset Store is like a particle accelerator for ideas. It represents the genius and inspiration of some of the most talented programmers and artists from around the world. In that sense, Asset Store gives game developers something great. Use it wisely to become great yourself!