Unity Makes Its Educational Portal Free for Game Builders

Interested in video game development? Trapped inside due to the COVID-19 outbreak? Unity has decided to make its Unity Learn Premium educational platform free for the next three months.

Until June 20, in other words, students can access Unity’s tutorials, projects, and courses for game developers. If you’re already curious about game development, you likely know that Unity is one of the major platforms for game-building; the lessons cover everything from basic game mechanics to designing for virtual reality (VR).

“Additionally, we are delivering Create with Code Live, live virtual classes taught by Unity experts for students, educators, and anyone who wants to learn how to code,” mentioned Unity’s blog posting on the matter.

Unity no doubt hopes that students who join for the free period will stick around once Learn Premium re-establishes its paid tiers. For those jammed at home who want to start building games quickly, though, relying on Unity’s temporarily-free assets could greatly accelerate your learning—whether or not you intend to stay for the long term. 

Unity has been pushing into the educational realm for some time. Last summer, for example, the company launched two educational tools: Create with Code, which guides students through building a project (and leads to the Unity Certified Programmer Certificate), and Unity Teach, a platform for educators.

Releasing educational assets can help firms build an engaged, long-term audience, which is why many tech firms launch education platforms. It’s especially important in high-competition arenas like gaming. Unity competes with Unreal, which is also aggressively pushing into new, cutting-edge areas, including AR frameworks for iOS and Android apps.Companies such as Google (with its Game Developer) are also releasing no-code and low-code platforms for game development, which utilize drag-and-drop UX along with visual programming systems. 

Those who are confident in their Unity and Unreal skills could try for a job at a game-development studio. The video-game market, by one estimate, will generate revenues of $160 billion globally this year, and the customer base is similarly enormous (2.5 billion players, from casual mobile gamers to the hardest of the hardcore PC gamers). In addition to knowing game-development platforms, many game-building firms also ask that job applicants have a degree in computer science or a related field—or the equivalent experience. 

“Currently, the most in-demand positions in gaming include software engineering, UX design, and data and analytics. In gaming, software engineers account for 29 percent of all open roles, with the most sought-after hires being exemplary in the following programming languages, disciplines, and software (in order of most requested),” Natalia Panowicz, CEO of Codility, wrote in a recent Dice column

With Sony prepping the PlayStation 5, and Microsoft cueing up the next generation of the Xbox, game developers will have the chance to play around with some truly insane hardware in coming years. If you’re a developer, the limit is your imagination—and your skills.