Believe it or not, the Video Game Industry is larger than the music and movie industries combined with tech giants like Google, Meta, and Apple all making plans to enter the gaming industry, you can be sure that the industry is only going to get bigger and more lucrative. The scope of the gaming industry is increasing for a lot of reasons, the ability to market to wider audiences and reach audiences that previously were unobtainable is a big part of it. With the industry booming as much as it is, development tools are in a digital arms race to provide the best tools for building these worlds we love to spend so much time in.
Revenue internationally for gaming is massive and has been growing in consecutive years as gaming becomes more accessible internationally. The Video Game Market is the strongest it’s been since it immerged.
At the forefront of this clash of the titans are Unreal Engine and Unity. Both software suites are used to produce the same content, however, both are vastly different and have their advantages and disadvantages from each other. Before we venture into more detail about Unreal Engine vs Unity, it’s worth noting that both software suites are brilliant and capable of producing the same level of professional content.
When we look at Unity vs Unreal Engine, we can separate them through a few categories, however, the top of the list is in terms of their distinct differences in the Ease of Use. When it comes to actual development, Unity has native C# coding language as its primary source of production processes, which means that it is immediately familiar to developers who’ve worked with that language before beginning production inside Unity.
There are countless benefits to C# programming language and all of them collectively are why it’s considered a great place to start for a beginner.
If we put aside ease of use and assess visual quality when addressing Unreal Engine vs Unity, Unreal engine comes out in the lead. When comparing unreal engine vs unity graphics, it’s hard to look past those spectacular Unreal Engine 5 Matrix demonstrations with their use of the stunning Nanite system working hand in hand with their brand new real-time lighting system Lumen and being completely blown away by it. Unreal Engine has also incorporated Quixel megascans into their software suite, allowing you free access to thousands of 3D scanned objects and textures, making realistic environment design a breeze.
Your eyes deceive you! This image is a still image from a UE5 render using both Quixel Megascans for assets and Lumen for the lighting – astonishing graphical fidelity.
When we look at Rendering speeds and overall quality of Rendering when looking at Unity vs Unreal Engine, again Unreal Engine edges out over Unity as it produces industry-leading rendering speeds and rendered graphics that consistently wow users and consumers alike. Unity Engine vs Unreal Engine becomes a complex topic when comparing the animation functions, however, UE5 has upped the capabilities in this department and provides animation functions that are as deep and complex as you want them to be.
In terms of collaboration opportunities when referring to Unity Engine vs Unreal Engine, Unity is a clear winner, and this is likely due to its C# coding functionality, as currently, it takes up 63% of the development market compared to Unreal Engine’s 13% – More people use Unity, therefore there are more opportunities to collaborate through Unity.
We can’t compare these two amazing engines without discussing scripting capability, and whilst Unity is known for its functionality and familiarity with developers, the two engines are neck and neck in this particular category as Unreal Engine also provides seamless end-to-end scripting functionality, allowing you to do everything in the engine for the development of your title.
Starting in game production can be daunting, when discussing unreal engine vs unity for beginners, we need to assess which one has the better entry point and resources to help an aspiring game developer grow. It’s a tough comparison, as both offer plenty of free resources to assist you with learning the ropes. Unity provides the advantage of having you use C# programming language by default, which as a developer is essential in production however Unreal Engine provides you graphical fidelity that is outstanding and considerably easier to obtain.
If we had to select one for beginners, however, it would likely be Unity. Unreal Engine does require a larger knowledge base to work within its systems, if you are willing to put in the time early on you’ll be able to work through it and create stunning work, however, you are able to create at least beginner content faster through Unity. Luckily there are plenty of learning resources available for both Engines!
We have to break down a few aspects when deciding unreal engine vs unity for VR development as both Engines are more than capable of being used for that application. Unity has high-end accessibility, it provides you with a big community of amateur and professional developers that you can get advice as you develop your title, which cannot be overlooked. Unity also has HDRP (High Definition Render Pipeline) which consistently provides you tools to create spectacular graphics without heavily affect performance.
Testing your VR build in Unreal Engine is an absolute breeze
However, Unreal Engine delivers full XR Support, XR refers to Extended Reality, which means it includes augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality. Unreal Engine can be used for any of these XR experiences comfortably. In terms of platform capability for VR, Unreal Engine does lack in the mobile department, whilst it can be used for it, Unity is the better choice on Mobile platforms.
Once again, we can’t overlook Unreal Engine’s stunning high detail graphics that are often the big draw card for the Engine, and whilst it may be harder to optimize than Unity, it is well worth the time to have Unreal Engine’s stunning visuals. Lastly, Unreal Engine provides native C++ coding, which allows VR developers more power over the software they can produce.
When comparing Unreal Engine 4 vs Unity, or even Unreal Engine 5 vs Unity and 2d games, it’s a simple enough assessment. Unity has better support for basic 2D games, Unreal Engine’s suite is primarily used for 3D titles and they’re not shy about marketing it that way despite the fact it can be used for 2D titles. Given that most 2D titles are on mobile platforms, Unity takes the edge here to some extent as it has a smaller footprint, which we’ll touch on more.
When we look at the realm of mobile games and unreal engine vs unity for mobile games, the comparison becomes quite interesting. When we look at the engines straight out of the box, Unreal Engine offers high-performance, high-detail graphics and so can Unity, however, Unity’s developmental process can take longer to achieve those high-level visuals.
That aside, we mentioned earlier the term footprint, which refers to file size and resources required to run content made in the particular engine. This is where Unity’s advantage comes in and not just with mobile titles, if we compare unity 3d vs unreal engine in terms of file sizes of content, Unity comes out on top every time. You may be thinking, why does file size matter? One of the main pillars of producing Mobile Games is the optimization of not just performance, but overall footprint and file size. Unreal Engine, despite providing stunning visuals delivers you hefty file sizes that on a mobile device, are borderline excessive.
Unity on Mobile devices is simply more adaptable and manageable, its ability to scale appropriately with a few tweaks in production and overall is far easier to publish mobile titles with, as you’re able to keep the game looking consistent throughout, whereas with Unreal Engine, you would need to regularly optimize and reduce content to keep performance and that footprint in an acceptable position. If we look at the statistics, there is a clear winner when it comes to Mobile game development company given that Mobile Games made with Unity make up 71% of the top 1000 titles on the current market.
Simply put, out of the gate, it is far easier to create superb visuals and faster with Unreal Engine 5, it offers an array of realistic real-time systems that provide stunning geometry and texture detail (Nanite) and breathtaking lighting systems (Lumen) that come together to create game content that border on photo realism. However, whilst it is fairly easy to sit tutorials and begin creating these visuals, the accessibility of Unity and the consistency of how it functions, gives it a massive advantage despite Unreal Engine’s deep visual options.
A side-by-side comparison of graphical fidelity between the two engines. Both can achieve stunning visuals, however, Unity takes much more refinement to achieve the same visual results.
Something to consider when comparing UE5 and Unity is the cost, which we haven’t touched on yet. Unity on a basic plan is free of cost, however, there are annual licenses that allow you to publish and earn more from your title. Unreal Engine is also free to use but unlike Unity, the Engine has a royalty-based system that kicks in as soon as the app is monetized, which takes a slice of your earnings over a particular threshold, that initial cut is about 5% total.
The great thing about comparing these two wonderful engines is that there are no bad choices here, both have their strengths and weaknesses, it just depends on you as a developer and how you want to proceed moving forward. Unreal Engine delivers stunning visuals by default, whereas Unity requires you to somewhat polish your content to achieve the same looks. Unity provides an easy access point with its use of C# programming language but Unreal Engine offers XR possibilities with its use of C++ and blueprints.
Ultimately when deciding Unreal Engine vs Unity, it comes down to you as the individual and what you want to prioritize as a developer and an artist. Both developmental suites have fantastic communities that can provide you with the knowledge and assistance to be successful in your development process, so there is no wrong answer when deciding on which engine is best. It’s a matter of picking what best suits your genre, platform, and style.