Unity vs Unreal Engine 4 – Which One is Essential in 2019?

Unity vs Unreal Engine 4
Unity vs Unreal Engine 4

Game development has become common, and with free to program tools, anyone can build games. Unity and Unreal Engine are the two popular game development engines. Both are unique, and many developers have made many games through both. The post covers Unity vs Unreal Engine 4 battle. We will compare the essential tools and figure out which one is for you.

What are we going to compare in Unity vs Unreal Engine?

We are going to compare the below section of both game engines and whichever engine wins the section gets one point.

  1. Interface.
  2. Graphics.
  3. Pricing.
  4. Supported platforms.
  5. Stores (Unity Assets Store and Unreal Marketplace).
  6. Supported programming languages.
  7. Other features.
  8. (not compared) Some famous games.

A quick answer to the comparison

If you want a quick solution then if you want a beginner, I will recommend Unity because it has an easy-to-use interface and it supports C#, which is easier than C++. If you already have some experience in coding and you want to expand your knowledge and create 3D games, then Unreal Engine is for you. For the full Unity vs Unreal Engine 4 comparison, follow the text.

Interface

Both tools are hard to understand, but if we are only comparing Unity and Unreal Engine, I will go with Unity because Unity is easier to use and navigate. Although you can also start with Unreal Engine 4 but compared to Unity 3D, you will have to practice a bit more to understand the software.

Score: Unity: 1, Unreal Engine: 1. Reviews: This round is a tie because it’s a matter of a person’s knowledge.

Graphics

Unity is suitable for 2D and 3D game development, where Unreal Engine is more for 3D games. From the beginning, Unreal has been focusing more on graphics, which is the reason for amazing graphics quality on all platforms. Unity 3D is an all-rounder but specifically graphics it cannot win.

According to TairaGames 3D games made in Unity are likely to drain the battery faster while a 2D game made in Unity will drain the battery slower as compared Unreal Engine.

Score: Unity: 1, Unreal Engine: 2. Reviews: This round goes to Unreal Engine 4.

Pricing

Both are available for free; however, there’s a certain point where you have to pay to continue earning money. With Unity, if your revenue is over $100,000 annually, then you must purchase the Unity Personal plan. There are three more upper hand premium plans which come with great benefits also extended earning limits. With Unreal Engine 4 if you make over $3000 per quarter per game, then you will have to pay 5% royalty to Epic Games. There are no restrictions on the platforms as well as on the number of games you publish.

Read SoloLearn Android App Review and Tutorial.

Score: Unity: 2, Unreal Engine: 3. Reviews: Both offer amazing features for free.

Supported platforms

PlatformUnity 3DUnreal Engine 4
Windows, Mac, Linux✔️✔️
Android, iOS✔️✔️
Windows Phone✔️
Playstation 4 & VR✔️✔️
Gear VR✔️✔️
WebGL✔️
HTML5✔️
Xbox One✔️✔️
Nintendo 3DS✔️
tvOS & Android TV✔️
Steam✔️✔️
AR Devices✔️✔️
Others✔️
Unity supports over 25 platforms, while Unreal Engine 4 supports over ten platforms. Both are cross-platform, which means you only have to build the application once and easily deploy to multiple platforms. Both are available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. 

Score: Unity: 3, Unreal Engine: 3. Reviews: This round goes to Unity 3D.

Stores

Unity offers an Asset Store where developers can look around and buy the assets. Asset Store provides free and paid access to graphics, images, animations, materials, sound, full projects, etc., from other publishers.

Unreal Engine 4 also offers Marketplace where developers can buy the stuff. You can find assets like 2D tools, animations, characters, environments, FX, etc.

Score: Unity: 4, Unreal Engine: 4. Reviews: This round is a tie.

Supported languages

Blueprints

One of the essential Unity vs Unreal Engine 4 comparison sections. After everything graphics and programming languages are the ones which impact significantly. Both game engines offer non-programming game development using blueprints. Unreal Engine calls it the Blueprints method while Unity calls it Visual Scripting method. Blueprints in Unreal has been here for a long time, but the Visual Scripting in Unity is a new feature starting release 2019.2. With those features, you can develop games without knowing to code.

Regarding the programming languages, Unity supports C#, while Unreal Engine 4 supports C++. Compared to C++, C# is more comfortable to learn. C++ is also a great programming language, but the problem is, you have to deal with pointers and memory allocation, which is quite tricky for a new programmer. Unity also supports JavaScript, which is not as advanced as C# or C++, but it is an excellent language for new programmers to start learning.

Score: Unity: 5, Unreal Engine: 5. Reviews: This round is tricky because both offer programming and non-programming tools. It is the question of how good the developer is in terms of coding.

Other features

FeatureUnityUnreal Engine
Analytics✔️✔️
Ads✔️✔️
Documentation✔️✔️
Video tutorials✔️✔️
Popularity/m1,000k searches246k searches

Games made in both engines

Unity

GamePlatformsInitial release year
Ori and the Blind ForesterWindows and Xbox One2015
Pokémon GoiOS and Android2016
Super Mario RuniOS and Android2015
RustWindows, Mac, and Linux2013
FirewatchWindows, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch2016
CupheadWindows and Xbox One2017
The Room SeriesWindows, iOS, and Android2012

Unreal Engine 4

GamePlatformsInitial release year
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)Windows, Xbox One, iOS, and Android2017
DaylightWindows and PS42014
LawBreakersWindows2017
Dead Island 2Windows, PS4, Xbox OneUpcoming
Sea of ThievesWindows and Xbox One2018
Hellblade: Senua’s SacrificeWindows, PS4, and Xbox One2017

Which one is for you

For a new person who is starting to learn to code and build games, I will recommend Unity because of its easy-to-use interface and C# programming language. For a person who already has some knowledge of game development and wants to try something advance and build 3D games than Unreal Engine is a final choice.

In conclusion

Let’s see the results from the comparison: Unity: 5, Unreal Engine: 5. Both work fine, and it’s entirely up to you whichever you select. I hope the comparison Unity vs Unreal Engine 4 helped. Thanks for reading, and please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions.




The post was last updated on 26/Oct/2019.

Author: Madhsudhan

Hello, my name is Madhsudhan Khemchandani. I'm a Software Engineer, graduated from UniSA, Adelaide. I'm the owner, author, and maintainer of this post and the site. Please contact me if you have any questions or feedback.

5 thoughts on “Unity vs Unreal Engine 4 – Which One is Essential in 2019?”

  1. Sorry, but Unity’s asset store is not a plus. Some assets are coded so differently that they will not work with each other at all.
    UE4 market is pricey, but their coding structure is very strict in nature meaning that almost all packages will work, even overlapping ones.

    1. Well, you are right regarding Unity’s asset store limitations and about Unreal Engine 4. Both marketplaces have pros and cons. I kept the score as a tie because both have a marketplace.

    2. Really? How so? The problems can be, potentially, namespace clashes or order of execution mess-ups (as in you need your camera movement to run after everything else but someone set up their own script to run after even that. Both are easy fixes and really not that common.

  2. An interesting opinion, though it feels a bit dated.

    Interface – yeah, that’s true, Unity is easier to find your way in. It’s also easier to write extensions for it and the whole experience is just lighter. Unity editor seems to be able to run on a potato and UE4 needs a decent rig to run.

    Graphics – errrr no. Both Unity and Unreal are 3D engines. You make your 2D game in a 3D environment in both engines, and while Unity does come with a 2D physics engine you’re working in a 3D environment no matter what. As for better graphics, that has nothing to do with the engine, it has everything to do with the artists working on the games. While Unity has its fair share of games with poor graphics Unreal is starting to rival it there, too, since small teams are adopting Unreal quite a bit now. There is no technical reasons for not being able to get similar results in both engines, the big difference is that UE4 seems to turn everything including post processing on by default and Unity doesn’t. It still has the same tools and you can set up everything pretty much the same as long as you know what you’re doing. And while the new HDRP is still in preview it should be production ready in a couple of months, allowing you to do all the really expensive graphics things like insane amount of metered lights, subsurface scattering etc.

    As far as draining the battery goes – this is another thing that has more to do with the developers than the game itself. I recently played a few Unreal Engine 4 games
    that had less than impressive graphics. Of course this is all a matter of taste, but no spectacular visuals, no advanced graphics features or anything, but still it made the graphics card cooler noticeably loud, something that doesn’t happen with games with comparable, even better graphics. So I’d say it’s simply developers not optimizing their assets and using up CPU and GPU cycles on things that don’t matter.

    Pricing – yeah, completely true.

    Stores – yeah, both have asset stores. The Unity Asset store has more free things that are cool for prototyping, but store assets should be used sparingly anyway, there’s too many asset flips out there as it is.

    Supported languages – C# being easier than C++? Yeah, that’s kinda true. C++ allows you to do a lot of crazy stuff and you handle memory manually in C++. In theory. Except that it’s 2019 and there’s smart pointers. And, of course, because UE4 devs decided to use C++ for scripting their game engine they invented a whole bunch of crazy preprocessor directives that essentially turn C++ into C#. They manage the memory for you, they even have a crazy directive that turns a struct into a plain old data type like in C#. So again, pretty much the same thing, except that with Unity and C# if you google something you need in the language StackOverflow is likely to be of help. UE4 though… oh well, you have the documentation.

    Unity technically does support JavaScript (technically UnityScript), but they’ve been trying to get rid of it for ages now and many new API features are not available through UnityScript.

    Blueprints and visual coding – you can make a game without even knowing how to code – that’s just crazy. I don’t think you can. If you don’t understand the principles behind the code you’re not going to be able to code up anything, either by writing down code or by connecting nodes in a graph.

    Supported platforms – “you only have to build the application once and easily deploy to multiple platforms” – for someone who’s familiar with development of applications a build is the process of creating an executable application from code. When building a simple application you compile individual compilation units and then link them into an executable. Neither Unity nor Unreal Engine 4 will allow you to build just once for more than one platform. You have to build the game for each of the platforms you wish to target. It is often as simple as just flipping a build menu setting, but these are not platform agnostic applications, the build process just allows you to create correct binaries for each targetted platform, all from the comfort of the game engine.

    In any case, I’d say it’s all down to the developers rather than the engines. If you can make spectacular 3D graphics and are capable of coding up everything that needs coding up in a game then you can have a beautiful game in any engine. If you’re after performance then both Unity and Unreal will let you do that (Unity even lets you transpile C# to C++ now for release builds), but you will have to put in the work.

    1. Thanks, Andrej for all the points. Your comment provides a lot of information and focuses on some of the primary key differences. I’ll update the article in the coming days and add your name as a contributor. Thanks, again for all the words.

      Kind regards,

      Madhsudhan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.