The Unity asset store has been a hot topic as of late, especially in the PC gaming community. While many in said community use the term “asset flip” to describe lower-budget games that use free and paid assets from the Unity store, and it’s generally not a positive sentiment. However, in speaking with global head of the store Peter O’Reilly, gamesindustry.biz has another perspective to offer on the matter.
According to the piece from gamesindustry.biz, one of Unity’s primary goals as a company is to “democratize” game development, especially for indie and mid-size game developers. And the asset store Unity offers is a big part of that. Using a chair as an example, O’Reilly explains that, not unlike AAA developers outsourcing minor parts of huge games, publicly crowd-sourced assets can be used to shave time off a game for minor details that can still take several days to create despite their relative unimportance. Additionally, Unity also offers free assets as a means to help out people who may not have budgets for their products, such as students.
In fact, because of the time and money savings offered by the Unity store, O’Reilly argues, some games “wouldn’t see the light of day.” He speaks to prototyping ideas using free assets as well, noting that while most aspects of an original game generally are and should be unique, again, the time and money that would need to be spent for mundane objects and other tools would eliminate many projects before the starting line.
The full interview is worth reading if you’ve been following the “asset flip” narrative for sure, as points are made here that aren’t often found in other discussions.
Unity Asset Store Head Talks 'Asset Flips' and Smaller Developers