It is the clash of the titans: Besides the Unreal Engine, there are of course other companies offering tools for interactive real-time applications on the market. In principle, this is very welcome, since the competition between the different players drives innovation and invigorates the market. One of these vendors is the company Unity. Quite traditionally, Unity is better suited for mobile applications - and Unreal for highly visually demanding applications that should just look really awesome. Both toolkits have a raison d'être, but a natural process is that Unity tries to get prettier - and Unreal finds alternative ways to make high-quality apps run on all devices (see our blog post on pixel streaming in Unreal). By acquiring external companies and technologies (and a very active internal development department), the two companies afford each other a neck-and-neck race to better and better tools and innovations. For the developer communities, this is very positive for the time being, as it creates great foundations for innovative projects. But: If you have chosen the wrong technology too early in a project, it can happen that it sticks to your shoe. The effort to develop an application from scratch just to change the technology is usually not possible due to time or budget constraints.

Unity vs. Unreal

It's hard to believe: Until a few years ago, the Unreal Stuttgart team also developed applications in Unity in parallel, until the focus on Unreal was decided. The advantages of the Unreal Engine were so obvious for us that at some point there was no more room for Unity in our projects. Since a pro-con list written by a blog called "Unreal-Stuttgart" would probably bring a slight bias, we would rather discuss the philosophy of the two giants on the market in the following:

The philosophy of Unity

  • Development is done in the programming language C# (pronounced "cee sharp"), rather classically - for example, in Microsoft Visual Studio. Programmers thus quickly feel at home in Unity. This is also one of the reasons why Unity is still more widespread in the industry than Unreal.
  • At its core, Unity is about being able to run on all platforms. Whether on AR glasses like the Microsoft Hololens or older smartphones: Unity almost always runs. That's why the visual quality is usually worse compared to Unreal.
  • Unity reaches into the developer's pockets more quickly than Unreal: Companies that use Unity have to buy workstation licenses for each employee starting at a turnover of $100,000. This quickly adds up to about $1,800 per developer: In return, Unity does not participate in the success of a project, no matter how much money it brings in.

The philosophy of Unreal

  • "The biggest improvement in Unreal Engine 4 is philosophical," said Epic co-founder Tim Sweeney. "We want designers and creatives to be in control of as much of the (game) production process as possible."
  • Programming in Unreal can be done either classically in C++, or via so-called Blueprints: Networks of nodes that are linked together to represent logic. The highlight is that both systems can also be combined.
  • In particular, by using blueprints, even the creative people in the team can develop simpler logic relationships and thus do not have to wait days for programming.
  • Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney believes that the future of the Internet is the "metaverse," a place where people meet, interact, work and play virtually. "Fortnite", as Epic Games' own product, is already heading in this direction.
  • At Epic Games, the close partnership with the community is seen as a central company value. Epic Games even promotes particularly interesting projects with financial support - the "Unreal Mega Grant".
  • Unreal Engine can be used for free to create linear content (e.g. animations, virtual production) as well as smaller projects. Getting started with game development is also free - a 5% license fee is only due when a product created with Unreal grosses more than $1 million.

Image sources: Epic Games and Unity Technologies


In any case, it makes sense that all projects within a company are implemented with a uniform tech stack. This means: Either only Unity, or only Unreal. There is a huge added value because the same content (assets such as 3D models, code components, etc.) can be used for all projects. For us, the favorite is clear with Unreal - especially the diverse support of the developer community by Epic Games is absolutely unique.