Corona Labs announced a price hike today for the Pro version of Corona SDK framework — instead of $350 a year for iOS and Android, it’s going to be $600 a year.
Thwack! Like a 2×4 upside the head. That was my first reaction.
…they also announced Corona SDK Starter edition, which is just like the current version of Pro, except you don’t get analytics, in-app purchases, or access to the daily builds.
You get all the current power of Corona SDK and you get it for free. No Corona Labs splash screen, no royalties, no nothing. Seriously!
But Not As Many Features, Right?
So what about those three things you give up? Honestly, I don’t see that as a big deal. If you want analytics you can either roll your own or use one of the billions of options out there that are available via REST. Just use Corona’s network.request() call to access them.
And the daily builds? Those are fun to see what’s coming, and in some cases you get bug fixes earlier, but with a new public release pushed out every 2-3 months, I really don’t see the lack of daily builds as a hardship.
Finally, no IAP. That means you can’t use in-app purchases as a way to monetize your game. That hurts a little bit, but the number of people who use IAP are pretty small, I think. It’s a hassle to set up (mostly on Apple’s end), which is why I haven’t used it as much.
And, I think if you can’t make money with the free version of Corona SDK, then you probably can’t make money with the Pro or Enterprise version, either. [A less harsh way to say that is, the lack of IAP isn’t going to stop someone from making a great game.]
Do you really need IAP? Then build a fun game without it and you should be able to make $600. Then grab Pro, add the IAP to your app, and get rich.
The features still inside the free version of Corona SDK eclipse the limits. By far.
What This Really Means
With this move Corona Labs has positioned Corona SDK as the “absolute best option” when searching for a framework for developing mobile games and apps. Look at the professional apps that have been created with the current Pro version — that’s the power everybody now has available at no charge.
I can see the number of people using Corona SDK skyrocketing — and that’s good for all of us because the more people in the Corona community, the more 3rd-party library and tools will become available. For me as a vendor that’s important, but for me as a game developer it’s even more important. I won’t have to spend my time doing grunt-work if there are more libraries available.
Corona SDK Starter edition is free. Overall that’s simply awesome news.