Gendai Games recently announced some drastic changes to the way they license GameSalad, a simplified game development tool that allows the creation of games without a single line of code. Previously, developers had different options on how to license the GameSalad SDK ranging from a $99 to $1,999 yearly subscription which then allowed developers to export binaries to then upload to Apple for approval to be sold (or given away) on the App Store under their own name. At GDC Online in Austin, Texas earlier this month, Gendai Games revealed that they were doing away with this subscription model and instead would be positioning themselves as a publisher of sorts. Per a FAQ posted later, the SDK will be completely free to download and instead all games will be published under the GameSalad name (similar to how Chillingo and other publishers work) with a revenue sharing agreement.

When existing GameSalad subscriptions expire, several things are going to happen: First off, all developers will be forced to publish their projects under GameSalad. This means they lose a great bit of their identity, have no control over promo codes, and will need to work through GameSalad instead of with Apple for any App Store issues. Secondly, all existing GameSalad games won't be able to be updated since currently there's no way to move an existing App Store listing to a different publisher and the new free version of the GameSalad SDK won't export a binary that can be sent to Apple to update the existing game. As of this writing, no program has been announced to allow existing developers who have invested in GameSalad to be grandfathered in to a program that will allow them to continue independent GameSalad development.


Max Vector, a GameSalad-powered shooter.

Needless to say, this change of events has stirred up quite a bit of unrest in the GameSalad development community. A blog (and forum) called I Just Wanna Make Some Games has sprung up detailing the GameSalad saga and offers some assistance for developers looking to migrate to similar tools without forced publishing. Quite a few developers seem to be jumping ship to Ansca Mobile's Corona, a similar tool that leverages the Lua scripting language. If you've dabbled in GameSalad in the past, or are looking to start, it might not be a bad idea to see how this all plays out before getting much more involved.

  • http://twitter.com/RustySabre Eric Pankoke

    This really is a shame. I was actually considering Gamesalad, but given that they are willing to make such drastic decisions like this and alienate the current customer base, I wouldn't even want them for a publisher.

  • http://twitter.com/drelbs Rob Wilson

    Lovely. "Made with GameSalad" already made me cringe in the past, now there's basically no reason to by an existing GameSalad made game since updates will come to a halt.

    I can't belive GS did this to their development community (and their customers!) :mad:

  • Schnapple

    And this is why you learn ObjectiveC and do things the hard way. You watch, Unity will go the same way at some point.

    • James

      Like there is any comparison between unity and game salad.
      Considering half the top games are unity and you still have to do things the hard way ...... Like objective c is any harder than c# or something.

    • Eric5h5

      Unity will not go the same way.

      • Co

        I'm sure that wont happen. EA just signed a 6 year deal with them.

  • http://twitter.com/RustySabre Eric Pankoke

    Even if you use a 3rd party tool like GameSalad game development isn't easy it's just easier. The real problem is that even if GameSalad wants to be a publisher they should keep the two tasks separate, and let people decide whether they want to use GameSalad as a publisher or someone else. Even if they bump up the subscription fee and keep it they will be better off than what they are doing now. Personally, I hope this ends up being a big fail for them.

  • Aros2k

    Would give it a try if I had a mac

  • Eugekava

    I wonder how easy/hard it is to migrate a game to a new development tool? From what I've read, some devs lack the expertise to develop their own code.
    Game salad already has bad reputation mainly to long loading times. Now, there is no way at all that I'll buy any Game Salad games.

    • http://twitter.com/RustySabre Eric Pankoke

      I've never done it before personally, but I'd imagine it's not that easy. The idea behind the tools is usually to hide all the nitty gritty from you, so other than game assets like sound and music I don't know that there's much that you can take away from a particular tool. Even if the tool allows you to do some coding for refinement purposes, the language a given tool uses is often proprietary to that tool, or at least calls APIs that are specific to that tool. I'd imagine that most games made in GameSalad will have to be redone in order to "port" them to another tool.

  • http://twitter.com/iTouchAppReview iTouchAppReviewers

    WOW just as I was gonna buy it. Thank GOD I didn't! Thanks TA.

  • Comby

    Ok GS was short on performance but what a evil way to treat customers who have dropped cash for beta development - How to destroy a customer base 101

  • Guest

    Multimedia Fusion by Clickteam is currently in line to receive an iPhone and iPad exporter plugin. A lot more user friendly and cheaper than Gamesalad, and you can publish the games yourself.

  • Guest2

    How could you ever trust a company like that?

  • Disappointment

    No offense but the majority of GameSalad apps suck. Even the ones they were promoting in their yearly game creation contest sucked. To think a developer makes a goog game and then it is published through the GameSalad brand along with several other worthless apps can only bring a developer down. I can't see anybody succeeding if the GameSalad brand is filled with crap and amateur games to begin with. If they wanted to raise revenue why not just raise the yearly fee or a one time fee of $350 or so? Good Luck.

  • Disappointment

    No offense but the majority of GameSalad apps suck. Even the ones they were promoting in their yearly game creation contest sucked. To think a developer makes a goog game and then it is published through the GameSalad brand along with several other worthless apps can only bring a developer down. I can't see anybody succeeding if the GameSalad brand is filled with crap and amateur games to begin with. If they wanted to raise revenue why not just raise the yearly fee or a one time fee of $350 or so? Good Luck.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, and I thought I was the only one that would see that logo come up and automatically think -- oh crap not a game made with Game Salad. Time to adjust expectations to super low while it takes forever to load.

  • E_Domina

    BULL CRAP! I do not need some sort of profit share between them. I've used Game Salad before and I want at least my name in there somewhere

  • POLYGAMe d i g i t a l

    Hey guys, I've had a couple of emails about Max Vector... sorry, it's not currently available, I'm adding a heap of stuff to it, optimising performance and re-releasing under the GS Direct program... just thought I'd let you know, in case you searched for it after seeing the video, like others have. Cheers :)

  • Bunker

    Now we know where all the crapps are! Lol

  • Dissapointment

    Also what about the people who paid for the highest package of $1999? Especially if they bought it within the past six months. How are you going to console these customers that their purchase of the pro version - which is now free - was worth it?
    You HAVE to grandfather at least these customers if anyone. If not then I hope GameSalad continues to sinc until it is out of business.

    • Bunker

      It is a SUBSCRIPTION, they didn't buy anything. Who cares anyway, I am just glad that we can now filter out all the crap apps by just ignoring one company

  • http://twitter.com/gayasoft Marc Schärer

    The informations are rather incorrect.
    GameSalad already 2 days ago sent out mails to clarify some of these to the exact opposite.

    You keep your identity, you can give out promo codes etc
    What you though get is a far stronger socialization between the games.

    that being said, I've to agree with some earlier comments: the engine is that low end that even a Game Maker 8 version for iPhone would crush it with closed eyes in less than 3 minutes cause the features suck, the lack of expandability is laughable and the performance can only compete with Flash which runs like trash as well.
    But now we at least can all use it and it will hopefully bring some serious work to it so it can go somewhere, as the general concept would be great if they didn't kill it that effectively.

  • GuestX

    "What you though get is a far stronger socialization between the games".

    Well actually...no one knows that for sure, as, until they release the new Direct, no one knows exactly what it does. Theyve stopped new subscriptions, but havent announced when Direct will happen, or released any solid details.... its all just brief details eluding to things, but not actually giving any firm details.

    The original promo videos for GameSalad showed and claimed Facebook integration, that still havent been integrated in the engine. So taking that as an example, it doesnt bode well for their claims of stronger socialization between games. Maybe theyve finally integrated OpenFeint, Plus+ or GameCenter.

    But again... because of the abysmal way Gendai/GameSalad communicates with its users and community, no one really knows, and is left floundering in the dark.

  • VidSharer

    To get the whole story so far then watch these videos below in order (they tell it well and are hilarious).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88xDrl6jtx4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeELG5Fc5Bs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeELG5Fc5Bs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55KT4nLVND8

  • fritzdoom

    Gendai Games + Communication.........does not compute. They have no respect for their customers. Not the brightest idea to become an publisher when the GS name has the worst reputation in the iOS world.

  • Fizzlepop

    Lets hope Game Salad dies a quick death, it will help clean up the app store!

  • Anonymous

    Hey, thanks for the mention of my site (iJWMSG), as its membership base is growing and people are really making an honest attempt at Corona and the Lua language. Ansca mobile has stepped in with a 50% discount code to anyone who wants their Game Edition SDK, and I've posted a very frank editorial on how both engines can be better.

  • Jon

    There are many great games made with GameSalad, the best is "The Secret of Grisly Manor" by Fire Maple Games!

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-secret-of-grisly-manor/id384282298?mt=8

  • Bunker

    Corona is horrible, real men use XCode and Cocos2d

  • http://www.rustysabre.com/ Eric Pankoke

    Secret Of Grisly Manor is certainly a great example of what can be done with GameSalad, but 1 great game is a far cry from "many". Personally I have seen very few examples of professional looking games in GameSalad.

    As for "real men" and programming, why would a real man even need cocos2d? Shouldn't you be using Assembly language or something like that :)

  • Philipp Lenssen

    Just wanted to say a big THANKS for pointing out Corona. It looks like a terrific framework.