There are a number of different GameMaker Studio 2 licences available, but which one is the best for you? That's a question only you can answer, but at least we can help you make the decision by outlining pros and cons of each licence as well as what the intention behind each one is. Below you can find a list of each licence type accompanied with a short description to help you choose which one is right for you.
The Trial Licence is a permanent licence granted to you when you make your YoYo Account. After creating the account you can get access to the trial version of GMS2 simply by going to the Downloads section of your account Dashboard:
Once you download GMS2, simply run it and when prompted give your YoYo Account details to sign in. If you have not bought any other licences then GMS2 will default to the Trial Licence and you can start using the program in this capacity.
The Trial Licence permits you to test out most of the features of GameMaker Studio 2, but does not permit you to create final executables and it also places a limit on the number of resources you can use (find out more here). This version is ideal for those people that are unsure of whether GameMaker Studio 2 is for them (New to programing? Been using other software?) and want to try it before buying a full licence of another type.
Note, you cannot get a Trial Licence through the Steam client.
With the Creator Licence you unlock the power of GameMaker Studio 2 and get access to unlimited resources as well as the possibility to create a final executable of any project you make. You can buy either a Windows or a macOS licence, meaning that you will only be able to compile a final executable for one or the other depending on which you bought. For example, purchasing GameMaker Studio 2 Creator Mac will allow you to use the Creator licence only on a Mac and export to Mac. The IDE can be used on both Windows and macOS (just download which ever one is appropriate from the Downloads section of your YoYo Account) but you will be confined to the Trial licence's limitations if you do not have a licence for the platform. For example, purchasing GameMaker Studio 2 Creator Mac will not allow you to use the Creator licence on a Windows machine.
The Creator Licence is designed for hobby developers or for people that just want to have fun making small projects for themselves, as well as those people that want to learn to use the product without having to pay a larger initial amount.
The Creator licence is a 12 month non-renewing licence, and at the end of the 12 month period you will need to buy another licence to continue using GMS2 fully, or before your initial 12 month licence elapses, take advantage of the 30% discount on the Desktop licence if you want to upgrade and take your projects to the next level.
It is worth noting that the Creator Licence will not permit you to change the Splash Screen of your projects, nor can you disable anonymous game analytics, and your executables will be compiled using the VM with no YYC option. You do, however, get access to the Marketplace where you can find assets of all kinds, or even make and sell your own.
Note, you cannot get a Creator Licence through the Steam client.
The different Developer licences are permanent licences with a one-off purchase price. When you purchase any of the Developer licences you get access to unlimited resources as well as the YYC target (the YoYo Compiler), and you can disable game analytics and change the splash screens.
Developer licences are ideal for hobby devs looking to expand their horizons, as well as for studios looking for a fast cross-platform tool to target the various different app stores. You can find a list below of the different Developer licences available:
- Desktop -The Desktop licence lets you create games for Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu. This permits you to create games that can be shared and played by anyone on a home computer, as well as upload them to the many online stores like Steam or itch.io.
- Fire - With this license, you can publish your games to the popular Amazon Appstore. This budget licence is a great introduction to mobile game development targeting the Android based Amazon Fire devices (including FireTV), and the purchase price of this licence will be discounted from the Mobile licence RRP should you wish to target all Android devices or iOS devices. Note, you cannot get a Fire Licence through the Steam client.
- Mobile - This license allows you to target Android, Amazon Fire and iOS devices. Using the the single codebase for your game you can and build executables for the different platforms so they can be distributed through stores like the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon.
- Web - The Web licence permits you to create HTML5 games. HTML5 projects can be shown in a browser on both desktop and mobile devices, providing a rich and versatile platform for your games.
- UWP - Once you buy the UWP licence you will be able to compile your games for Windows 10 devices, including the XBox One (through the Creator's Program) using the Universal Windows Platform.
Console, licences are purchased as 12 month non-renewing licences, and at the end of the 12 month period you will need to buy another licence to continue using GMS2 fully. Note that access to the console licence documentation will require you to have signed up with the respective company as a developer (links given below).
The available Console licences are:
- PS4 - This licence gives you the power to test, debug and build games for the Sony PlayStation 4 (register here).
- XBox One - This licence gives you the power to test, debug and build games for the Microsoft XBox One (register here).
- Nintendo Switch - This licence gives you the power to test, debug and build games for the Nintendo Switch (register here).
- Ultimate - This licence gives you the ultimate in export options for your projects, including not just the PS4, XBox One and Nintendo Switch targets together, but also all of the Developer targets too (Desktop, UWP, Mobile, Web).
Note, you cannot get Console Licenses through the Steam client, and you cannot get access to any of the console documentation until your are a registered developer for the chosen platform.
The Education licence is a special licence for teachers that want to teach GameMaker in an educational environment. The Education licence itself costs nothing, but you will be required to pay if you want to use anything other than the Trial version of GameMaker Studio 2. Payment is on a 12 month basis per "seat", and has a minimum purchase of 5 seats.
For more information, please see here: Requesting A GameMaker Studio 2 Education Licence