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Unity 5.6 wraps Unity 5 cycle, what’s next in 2017

December 13, 2016 in Technology | 2 min. read
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We’ve just announced availability of the Unity 5.6 beta,  and we are planning to release 5.6 in March 2017. We can confirm now that 5.6 will be the last version in the Unity 5 cycle.

The 5.6 release will be packed with lots of features and improvements, here are the highlights:

  • Editor features:
    • New Progressive Lightmapper to improve iteration times on lighting and reduce baking times (shown at Unite LA 2016 keynote)
    • New Video Player: Rebuilt from scratch with multiplatform and performance in mind, to play smoothly 4K videos or 360 videos in VR
    • Mac Editor on Metal
    • Several new features to improve the 2D game development workflow.
  • Platforms:
    • Google Daydream, Cardboard
    • Facebook Gameroom
  • Graphics:
    • Support for Vulkan
    • Support for Compute on Metal

The 5.6 beta is available for download now, check the complete list of what’s coming.

Customers with 5.x perpetual products may realize that their Unity 5 license will stop receiving updates in March 2017 (see details on the FAQ “For how long can I use my perpetual license”). Don’t worry, should the release of 5.6 slip past March 2017 it will still be included in Unity 5 regardless. In addition, Unity 5.6 will receive patches for an additional 12 months after release to ensure you can use it as a stable platform for shipping your projects.

What’s next in 2017

After Unity 5.6, we will introduce a new version numbering system starting with the 2017.x cycle for all releases in 2017. We’ve made this change to clearly mark the end of the Unity 5 cycle, and align with our release cadence.  With Unity 2017 we will continue shipping new versions regularly, to ensure a steady stream of new tech and improvements. We think a date-based version numbering system better reflects this approach to ship and iterate faster.  For the context on this approach, check out Joachim’s blog post from earlier this year.

We have a great roadmap for the new Unity 2017, here’s a sneak peek:

  • We will continue to optimize the core engine to deliver more performance, with features such as a fully multi-threaded job system enabling best use of multi-core CPUs (discussed at Unite LA).
  • We will also take your storytelling to the next level with Timeline introduced at Unite LA, which allows artists to focus on storytelling and cinematics.  
  • And more new platforms like Nintendo Switch are coming.

Stay tuned, we’ll have more updates at GDC.

The new Unity 2017, which includes all platforms (including iOS/Android) will debut with a first beta release available in April 2017. Customers already signed up on Unity subscription plans will have access to Unity 2017 as soon as it’s available. Customers with 5.x perpetual products will continue to receive special offers to upgrade to subscription. Also remember that along with the new subscription model, we introduced “pay to own”. After 24 months of active subscription, you can choose to own the version you have at the end of your commitment period.
[Added 12/15]Unity Personal will remain free.

December 13, 2016 in Technology | 2 min. read

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