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Is it realistic to expect to make money in Unity Asset Store/UE4 Marketplace?

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The idea of making money by creating objects to sell in the Asset Store is very appealing, especially since for my own game design projects, I would need to buy some assets in the future, to get items I can't make myself.

 

I found different reddit threads saying that you could make some money, but those people were already pretty experienced even before they started making assets, while I'm a complete beginner in game development. I wouldn't quite enjoy investing my time making things that no one would purchase.

 

Is it realistic to expect that you can earn something in these Stores, if you work hard enough, and try to deliver quality products?

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I wouldn't quite enjoy investing my time making things that no one would purchase.

Nobody would enjoy this, but are you willing to take the risk ? If not, then this kind of business is likely not suited for you.

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Well, see, you might both be late to the party and just coming in at the right time...

 

You might be late because by now, the asset stores are quite crowded with expierienced hobbyists and professionals who are delivering assets of incredible quality... can you compete with them?

 

You might come just at the right time as the Unity and UE4 community has also grown quite a lot in the last few years, and you might find more people willing to spend something on the asset store now than some years ago.

 

 

2 things to keep in mind:

 

1) Selling 3D Assets on a single game engines asset store will not make you rich. Most probably you will hardly sell anything, if you are not hitting some sought after niche (for example you were the only one selling a fully rigged zombie 3D model at the start of the Zombie-craze some years back).

You will need to branch out to as many different stores as possible to reach as wide an audience as possible. That includes engine asset stores, but could also include sites like turbosquid and similar 3D model stores.

Even then, be realistic with what you can make... there was a thread lately were someone was talking about what he makes with selling his 3D models in different online stores... I think he was talking about 150$ a month. I have no idea how many 3D models he has for sale, what his price point is or how many stores he sells them through, and of course 150$ could be plenty if you are just looking to stock up your budget for creating your own game. Some extremly awesome Thirdparty assets on the Unity store that I see as absolutely essential for high end Unity development are under 100$, so over the course of a year you could get everything you need with that kind of income.

 

2) Like any maturing market, selling stock 3D models is becoming a hypercompetitive market. I am amazed sometimes what quality you can get for quite a cheap price... So while I don't think there is any harm in trying, be realistic. Your first dozen models most probably are not worth much, as any buyer would have to fix a lot of stupid nooby mistakes you are likely to make with them. Make sure you price them right. There is always place for low quality, cheap models on the market... but given that you can get enough decent quality models for free, again, don't expect too much.

 

 

Last thing to add: look around in the stores. Find a niche, something nobody has made yet. Create models for that, see if you can sell it. Don't be number 1000 of 3D model makers who try to sell the same old plain zombie model in the same store and wonder why they seldom see anyone buying their model... be the only one that sells <insert your niche product here>, even if that thing is really a small niche, you might get better sales than with the done to death zombie model. And if you are lucky, your niche turns out to be the next big thing....

 

 

 

 

are you willing to take the risk

There is very little risk in making high-quality game-ready 3D models and textures. Adequate triangle count (100-4000 for most objects, may be less), optimized flat surfaces (no pointless subdivisions), well-shaped triangles (not too thin), stretch-less UV maps, power-of-two-sized and sharpened, well-packed textures (don't use 2+ where one is enough) etc. - such models are in a rather big demand. Bonus points for normal maps and specular maps, multiple levels of detail.

 

And, of course, presentation has to be solid. All models should be rendered with nice lighting both separately and in a scene. But that's extremely simple in both Unity and UE4.

 

P.S. I have no data from the profits of those stores. But I've bought some assets and seen other people buy assets as well - that is what they look for.

 

And, for additional profit, you might want to search the forums for what people would like to have but can't currently get. It's easier to profit from making things in sufficient demand (can't just listen to one customer, need to hear the needs of many) that have been overlooked by others.

 

Also, it's more likely to make a sale by selling sets of models and textures (included animations and rigging for character models), instead of individual assets. Stylistic coherency is appealing, and customers like to buy using the "shotgun method" (try many things at once so that it's more likely that something is immediately useful from the purchase)

 

 

Depends on how you do it... if its a hobby and you are creating the models anyway, no risk at all.

 

If you put everything on the line, give up your day job and try to live from selling your models online, you are taking a huge risk. Freelance work might be a safer bet then... at least you know you will be working on something for some months and have a secure income from that, instead of trying to guess what will sell how many copies...

 

Also don't forget that he calls himself a newcomer... I don't know exactly how new he is to 3D modelling, but a total newcomer will have a hard time producing anything of pro grade quality. Reaching that level of skill will take him some time. That doesn't mean he cannot try to sell his first few models... but it might turn out his models are not in such high demand, both because they might just not look so good, and also even if they do look good enough, they might not hold up from a technical point of view. If people buy his models but will have to fix lots of modelling mistakes afterwards themselves, they might choose someone elses models in the future.

 

 

Agreed though, demand is certainly there at the moment, and selling sets is a very good idea.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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Thank you for the detailed response, Gian-Reto!

 

I think that what I want to do could be part of a niche, but I have to check more carefully, I'm glad you pointed out this important research aspect. 150$ isn't that much, but its better than nothing, considering that you are training useful skills at the same time. But I imagine that in time, if you have more models for sale, the income might increase.

 

Also, thank you Snake5, for pointing out what's in demand.

 

Also, there are more stores? So turbosquid is one, but do you know others?

Edited by dreamer1986

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Something that actually bothers me with unity asset store, and honestly I have no idea how it works is the free vs pro version. Apparently if you are using free version, you cannot sell stuff to people using pro version. Also does that mean that if you make stuff with pro version, it cannot be used together with free version anymore? This is one of those things why I have avoided using unity, because the free-pro version asset differences.

 

For me it is very unclear if it is possible to mix free and pro stuff together at all in any shape or form. To my understanding you have pro-version people then free-version people and there is nothing between those. In other words, if you are using pro version, you cannot use free-version assets, but can you use pro version assets with free-version of unity. 

 

This is one of the reasons why I have honestly avoided using unity, the whole free vs pro is very unclear unlike unreal engine 4, where the terms of use are a lot more clearer.

Edited by Mekamani

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A lot of the more successful sellers have their assets for sale everywhere Unity, Unreal, gamedevmarket, graphic river,  here in the market place,  their own website.  Anywhere that sells content really.  Some of these asset stores also give you a number of units sold so you can work out from that how much money they make.

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Something that actually bothers me with unity asset store, and honestly I have no idea how it works is the free vs pro version. Apparently if you are using free version, you cannot sell stuff to people using pro version. Also does that mean that if you make stuff with pro version, it cannot be used together with free version anymore? This is one of those things why I have avoided using unity, because the free-pro version asset differences.

 

For me it is very unclear if it is possible to mix free and pro stuff together at all in any shape or form. To my understanding you have pro-version people then free-version people and there is nothing between those. In other words, if you are using pro version, you cannot use free-version assets, but can you use pro version assets with free-version of unity. 

 

This is one of the reasons why I have honestly avoided using unity, the whole free vs pro is very unclear unlike unreal engine 4, where the terms of use are a lot more clearer.

 

I might need to re-read the licensing agreements, especially as they have changed with Unity 5 considerably, but AFAIK:

 

1) if you make more than 100k gross per year with game dev or with whatever you use the Unity engine for, you need to buy a Pro license

2) If anyone on your project is using a pro licenses, all seats used for that project needs to be having a pro license

3) Of course you only have access to the pro only goodies with a pro license...

 

 

Apart from that, it is pretty much news to me that there would be ANY kind of limitation what you can do with a unitypackage. With Unity 5, Unity has introduced a mechanism that will check the version of your editor and make sure, when you download from the asset store, you will get the newest version fit for that Unity version... in other words, asset devs can now host both a Unity 5 and a Unity 4 version of their asset on the asset store servers, and the customer will get the right unitypackage automatically.

 

Most assets you buy work fine no matter what license you have. Some (very few) used Pro-only built in features like render to texture and thus couldn't be used in the free version (altough with Unity 5, even fewer assets will be affected by that). I haven't heard from any asset that only works in the free version, makes also no sense.

 

 

So as far as I can tell, you have gotten wrong information there... I wonder where this information is coming from? As a frequent buyer on the asset store I can tell you, 100% of the assets I bought imported fine (even though not 100% of them were really good in the end, but that is a different story smile.png ). I am pretty sure not all of these devs paid for the pro version of Unity, why would they if they make less than 100k$ a year selling assets (don't even know if selling assets is included in the 100k$) and do not need the pro only tools (though the profiler can certainly be useful)?

 

 

EDIT: Oh, I forgot... as you might have guessed from the text above, I have a pro license.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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So as far as I can tell, you have gotten wrong information there... I wonder where this information is coming from? As a frequent buyer on the asset store I can tell you, 100% of the assets I bought imported fine (even though not 100% of them were really good in the end, but that is a different story smile.png ). I am pretty sure not all of these devs paid for the pro version of Unity, why would they if they make less than 100k$ a year selling assets (don't even know if selling assets is included in the 100k$) and do not need the pro only tools (though the profiler can certainly be useful)?

 

EDIT: Oh, I forgot... as you might have guessed from the text above, I have a pro license.

 

 

I did some quick googleing around, and it does look like I have had some misunderstandings with the Unity asset stores policies. If I understand correctly, if the thing sold in asset store can be imported into the project, such as sounds, models etc. then it doesn't matter if you are using free or pro version, but if you export something out of unity and then sell the stuff, you cannot mix free and pro version things? Like if something is being made with free unity, like unitypack or whatever, then being put on asset store, this cannot be used in pro version and vice versa? I guess I still might have misunderstood something.

 

How would something like scripts count as? You can make scripts on any text editor, but they are kind of unity specific things still. I suppose they would be just considered non-unity property.

 

As for free version, with Unity5 free version does include profiler as well, so you can use even profiler with free Unity nowadays.

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