Unreal Engine vs. Unity 3D Games Development [Comparison 2021]


Written by Hemendra Singh on September 22, 2021 | Updated on: September 22, 2021


Unreal Engine vs. Unity 3D Games Development [Comparison 2021]

When you think of game engines, there are only two players that are dominating the market currently – Unreal Engine and Unity 3D. In the war of Unreal Engine vs. Unity 3D Game Development who wins is a big question but let’s just first have a look at some of the statistics to see a better picture.

As the global gaming market is booming like insane, both Unity 3D and Unreal gaming engine are also growing along with it at a steady pace. The two world’s most popular games Pokémon Go (Unity 3D) and Fortnite (Unreal Engine) are powered by these gaming engines.

According to reports, the global gaming engine market was valued at $2.18 billion in the year 2019 and is expected to reach a valuation of $5.96 billion by 2027, with a growth rate of 13.63% CAGR through the forecasted period of 2020 to 2027.

Game enthusiasts generally must know that the share of Unity 3D is more than Unreal Engine. Talking about Unity vs. Unreal market share, the global market share of Unity 3D lies between 40 to 50% whereas the Unreal Engine’s share lies between 10 to 20%. However, one must not get confused with the figures as they both have their unique and valuable things to offer.

If you are an investor, a businessman, or a game enthusiast and facing a dilemma whether to invest in Unreal Engine Game Development or Unity 3D game Development then this article is for you. So stay tuned and go through the complete blog.

What’s Unity?

Unity Technologies’ game engine Unity is one of the most widely used game engines in the industry of game development. Being a cross-platform engine, Unity can be used in creating games for multiple platforms like iOS, Windows, and Android. Apart from gaming, other industries like film, architecture, entertainment, engineering, and construction also adopted this engine.

Many game development companies are performing Unity 3D game development to build high-end games. Unity has its own IDE. The engine consists of many elements like Assets, components, GameObjects, Prefab, and Scenes.

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Famous Games Developed by Using Unity Game Engine

unity game engine

  • Monument Valley 2
  • Firewatch
  • Kerbal Space Program
  • Pray for the Gods
  • Hearthstone – Heroes of Warcraft
  • Wasteland 2
  • Super Mario Run
  • Pokémon Go
  • Temple Run Trilogy
  • Escape Plan
  • Rust
  • Battlestar Galactica Online

Benefits of Using Unity for 3D Game Development

Here are the major advantages or benefits of using Unity:

  • Graphics – Supports high-quality audio and visual effects. The visuals are compatible with every screen and device.
  • Debugging – It is quite easy to debug in Unity. As all the variables are displayed in the gameplay, the support for debugging is quite seamless.
  • Analytics – Unity editor consists of built-in analytics. Unity Analytics helps you to get deep insights into your game.
  • Community Support – There are millions of Unity users all across the world and that helps in keeping the engine up to date and free of bugs.
  • IDE – The inbuilt Ide helps in writing the project code. Further, it supports programming languages like Jscript or C# for scripting.
  • Platform Support – It is supportive to 25 different platforms and due to this fact it becomes easy to share an app created in one platform among others. You might be interested to know the advantages of unity 3d game development.

Limitations of Using Unity

Here are some of the cons of using Unity:

  • Most of the advanced features of Unity are present in the pro version that you can purchase in exchange for a heavy price.
  • The source code is not open. This implies that it can’t be used outside Unity.
  • It takes more time to render a project.

Also Read: Mobile Game Development Cost Breakdown

Languages Used by Unity for 3D Games Development

As the scripting language, unity uses C# for both the unity editor in the form of games and plugins. Before C#, a language known as Boo was being used by Unity Game Engine which was removed with the release of Unity 5. Apart from C#, Unity uses a JavaScript language called Unity Script. You can compile and run the code on iOS, Android, PC, Mac, Xbox, PS3, Wii, or Web plugins.

What’s Unreal Engine?

Developed by Epic Games, “Unreal” is a game engine that was first introduced in 1998 as a first-person shooter game called Unreal. Initially, it was invented as a game engine for the first-person shooter. But gradually, it is being used for other genres as well like platformers, MMORPGs, and other RPGs. The latest version of Unreal currently is version 4.27 which is written in C++ language.

Famous Games Developed Using Unreal Engine:

Unreal Engine

  • Bioshock
  • Batman Arkham City
  • Gears of War
  • Fortnite
  • Life is Strange
  • Deus Ex
  • Unreal Tournament 2004
  • Borderlands 2
  • Enslaved: Odyssey to the west
  • Spec Ops: The Line
  • Gears of War 3
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  • Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep
  • Occupy White Walls
  • Mass Effect 2

Benefits of using Unreal Engine

  • Speed & Performance – As it uses very little memory and other resources, hence it guarantees optimum performance.
  • AAA Games – When it comes to making big-budget games, Unreal is widely preferred by the global audience when you need top-notch quality.
  • Open Source – Being an open-source gaming engine, this makes the overall development quite easy and efficient.
  • VR – Integration of Virtual Reality brings out the best visual quality.
  • Iteration – Rapid iteration is quite easy with Unity that makes it useful while making a new project.

Also Read:  Reasons You will Always Want to Choose Unity Game Development!

Limitations of Using Unreal Engine

There are also some disadvantages attached to unreal engine game development which are listed below:

  • The Unreal Engine is not preferable for small game development as it is more centric to projects that are comparatively larger in size.
  • The engine consists of fewer assets due to the fact that the asset is uploaded after a thorough process.
  • The engine is free to use, although it contains a clause in which if you publish your game you would need to make a payment of 5% as royalty.

Languages used by Unreal Engine

C++ programming language is used as the main scripting language for Unreal Engine. But while building the actual game code, you would require a mixture of Blueprint and C++. Blueprint is Epic Game’s own proprietary language. The engine consists of great blueprints that work in the form of a concrete building block. Hence, those who have less programming language can also use the engine for assembling and adjusting basic things.

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State of Unreal and Unity in 2021

Unreal and Unity are the two most favorite software engines used in today’s scenario. Initially, they both started off as tools for game development but gradually they have evolved in becoming something bigger and better in terms of software development. Let’s have a look at some of the statistics:

Unreal Engine vs. Unity: The journey Over the Years

Unreal

  • The first version of UE debuts in the year 1998 with the release of the game “Unreal”
  • Launch of v 2.0 in the year 2002
  • UE 3 was released in 2006 being applied for its first AAA titles – Gears of War and Mass Effect
  • In 2014, UE4 is released with some improvements in terms of scripting and graphics. Got popular in one go and was used for the creation of multiple video and mobile games
  • Integration of VR application development in the year 2016
  • Integration of real-time ray tracing along with additional rendering output options in 2019
  • UE5 is announced in 2020 with a planned release in 2021. Improvements were made in terms of photogrammetry, LOD optimizations, and asset creation.

Unity

  • Launching of the first open-source version of the game engine in 2005 and got popular quite soon.
  • Launching of version 2.0 in 2007
  • Launching of version 3.0 in 2010
  • Major breakthrough with the launch of Unity 5 in 2015. It was compatible with new platforms along with improvements in terms of graphics, VR, and HD video support.
  • Integration with designing tools like 3DS Max and Maya in 2017
  • Introduction of first in-engine machine learning tools in the year 2018
  • Introduction of DOTS – an innovative data-oriented tech stack for performance optimization in 2019
  • Integration of BIM 360 – a solution called Unity Forma is made in 2020 for 3D marketing content.

The Current State: Unreal Engine vs. Unity 3D Games

Unreal

  • More than 2 million games built by the engine
  • Marketplace features over 16K assets
  • Developer community exceeds the number of 7 million
  • More than 13% global market share is estimated
  • The market cap of Epic Games (parent company) is approximately $17 billion

Unity

  • More than 71% of games of the top 1000 titles on the market are built on Unity
  • The user base which comprises developers and players amounts to more than 2.7 billion population
  • Asset store features over 65K assets
  • In 2020, revenue increased by 43%
  • Market cap is estimated at $27.8 billion globally

What to choose – Unreal Engine vs. Unity 3D Games Development

Before jumping into the discussion of Unity vs. Unreal, it is crucial to decide what kind of game you are trying to build. There are chances that you are trying to build a 2D game, a 3D game, or a mix of both. If you are building your first game then you maybe be planning to build a simple yet interesting game like shooting or puzzle game. It can be something that has a high requirement of revenue generation with supreme quality graphics.

Are you planning to launch it on the play store and app store making it available for offline/online purchases? Or you just want to build a game for yourself and not for the public. All these factors are very important for deciding which game engine suits you and your project. As soon as your plan is ready, the next step is to consider other factors in order to choose your gaming engine “Unity vs. Real”.

Comparison – Unity vs Unreal Game Engine

unreal vs unity game development

Now after discussing Unreal and Unity Game Engines individually, let us see an in-depth comparison between them:

Programming Languages

For building a highly secure and scalable game that needs less code, you need to have the right programming language. Unity 3D uses C# or JavaScript and Unreal Engine 4 uses C++ for coding.

Community

Both Engines are enriched with a massive chunk of users and updating is performed on a much regular basis. Unity 3D has a larger community based as it was launched much before Unreal Engine. Also, from a larger perspective, users prefer using Unity as it is more widely used.

Asset Store

From the asset store, you can download mods like textures and props for any game and use them by installing them. In comparison to Unreal, Unity has a wider range of mods available for its game. Unreal has approximately 10000 assets while Unity has 31000 assets which count almost 3 times.

Graphics

When it comes to graphics, Unreal Engine 4 is much ahead of Unity 3D. From advanced dynamic lighting to complex particle simulation Unreal Engine has it all. With Unreal Engine 4, you can create any sort of visual style that you want in 3D or 2D. However, with the upcoming Unity 3D version 5, it is anticipated that the platform is compatible with the same sort of graphics.

Documentation

Both the engines have good documentation explain the way to use them. But the picture becomes clear when you search for video tutorials of both of them. Say, for example, Udemy has around 2200 courses of Unreal and 5500 for Unity 3D. The courses are specifically for game development, however, basic knowledge can also be used for building apps.

Source Code: Unreal Engine vs. Unity

For Unreal, source code is open, which contributes to making game development and processing a lot simpler. However, the source code is not open for Unity. You can obtain it but in that case, you need to make a payment for that.

Rendering

In Unreal, rendering is faster compared to Unity which ultimately accelerates post-processing. As rendering is slow in Unity, it slows down the processing of the project and is a little time-consuming for development.

Ease of Use: Unreal Engine vs. Unity

As far as the user experience is concerned, Unity 3D is much ahead of the Unreal engine. The interface of Unity 3D is quite easy to use as it is very convenient for the new developers to create games without any hassle. Although with the last update Unreal engine came up with many improvements in terms of user experience it is still behind Unity 3D.

Those were the main points of comparison between the two gaming engines. Now let’s deep dive into the pricing of Unreal Engine vs. Unity 3D

Unreal Engine vs. Unity – Pricing in Detail

Unreal Engine vs. Unity

Pricing is probably the most important factor while choosing the game engine. Both of the game engines (Unity and Unreal) have some paid while some chargeable elements. The full version of Unreal 4 won’t cost you anything till the time your game revenue is less than $3,000. If it goes beyond the lower limit, then you have to pay 5% of your game’s gross revenue.

The Unity gaming engine comes with a personal plan that is completely free that can be accessed by individuals and small business units. For businesses that are larger in size, Unity offers two types of packages. The businesses can avail plus package with revenue less than $200K in the past twelve months before purchase.

The package is available on a monthly as well as annual basis. The monthly subscription will cost you around $35 per month and the annual subscription for Unity Plus will cost you around $299 on a prepaid basis. Businesses with revenue greater than $200K in the past 12 months have to purchase a Pro Subscription offered by Unity.

Pro subscription is loaded with some advanced features like source code access and priority customer services and support. Out of the three packages offered for subscription by Unity Pro, businesses can choose their own preferred package.

There is a monthly prepaid package that costs $125 monthly, an annual prepaid package priced at $1500, and a 2-year-old repaid package that costs $2850. Apart from that, there are separate charges for game development in Android and iOS.

Hence, if you are planning something simple or experimental then you should consider Unreal Engine. However, if your plan is to build something bigger and scalable then developing with Unity 3D can be a good option. You must read this guide on why hire a unity game development company?

Conclusion: Unreal Engine vs. Unity 3D Games Development

S NO. Go for Unity in Case Go for Unreal in Case
1. You are a newbie in the game development domain and have less or no coding or 3D programs experience. You can consider taking up a course to brush u your skills. You have a significant amount of experience in game development or constructing 3D programs.
2. You want to make 2D games or simple phone games You have the skills to take up challenges and conquer those that come across while your journey.
3. You just want to build a game that is visually engaging without worrying about the technicalities. You have developed some games already in the past
4. You like making quick iterations of simpler Indie titles, have fewer issues in constructing tools you need, and aren’t too concerned about achieving true realism. You want your game to be graphically sound and visually realistic in all aspects.

Unreal can prove to be a great gaming engine but learning Unity takes time and effort, and especially in case you are a beginner. Even in the beginning learning and implementing the Unity game engine can be a tedious task.

In a nutshell, we can say that Unity is renowned for its cross-platform support and for making 2D and 3D simulations. While Unreal, on the other hand, is best suited for games that are larger in size (AAA title) because of its visually appealing graphics.

Both the engines have their own set of advantages and limitations. It all depends upon your project type, size, and overall budget. Some users prefer Unreal while some prefer Unity. You can contact The NineHertz if you are facing any sort of confusion regarding which game engine to choose.

We will not only help you in choosing the correct gaming engine for your project but also assist you in making the most beautiful and interesting game that you can ever imagine. Feel free to give us a call to kick-start your project.


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