Unity is probably the most popular tool for cross-platform development out there right now -- last week at GDC, I heard a lot from developers of all sizes about Unity and how it was helping them to build games for iOS and other platforms. But Corona also has a following out there. It's a Software Development Kit (SDK) that has been updated quite a bit lately, and I did hear a few devs say it's what they use to make their titles. One game development student even told me he's being taught how to use Corona specifically at school, so the tool definitely has its fans.
Today, Corona has announced that it's hoping to make its platform more accessible than ever, with a new "SDK Starter" program that will allow developers to make and sell apps with Corona for completely free. The SDK is available as a free download, and as long as you don't need certain features (like in-app purchases or analytics services), you can publish apps made with Corona for exactly zero dollars. Some other SDKs require you to use a certain splash screen on your app or advertise the service in some other way, but Corona's new program doesn't even require that -- it's really free.
Of course, the company does offer those other services, and more, with a Pro account. Corona also says it's "re-imagining" what Pro will mean for the service, which essentially means a price raise, to US$599 a year on May 1. The current subscription is $349, and anyone can still get one at that price until the first of May. Pro users will have access to in-app purchases and various analytics, as well as the option to use Corona's high-end graphic features, and the plugin system.
But even if you're not interested in a full Pro subscription, it's nice to see that Corona's offering the free option for developers to try out the service for themselves. Unity, I would say, is still the leader in this area, and they offer a free version of the tools for developers to try. But you do need to pay to publish a commercial game on that platform, so maybe Corona will grab a few more users (and see a few more published titles) with this free opportunity.