AR development company Blippar has an in-house design studio. They also have a web-based AR content creation tool called Blippbuilder. Now, that content creation tool is free to use. That is, under certain thresholds.
Free Blippbuilder for Everyone
“Our aim has always been to enable everyone to create unique and engaging AR content and experiences,” Blippar CEO, Faisal Galaria, said in a release. “In making Blippbuilder free, we invite the entire world to play, create, and share what they have built with Blippbuilder.”
The announcement came just days after the company announced a collaboration making Blippbuilder WebAR compatible with Microsoft Teams.
“By introducing Blippbuilder to Microsoft Teams, workstreams including team channels and group chats, we’re making it easier than ever before for people to collaborate, create and share amazing AR experiences with our partners at Teams,” Galaria said at the time.
Material on the company’s website says that no coding or experience is required, using a drag-and-drop interface and included sample projects. With the tool, users can create experiences that take place spatially around the user, on a target, or on any flat surface. The tool comes complete with instructional videos every step of the way.
“We’re confident that this decision will unleash creators and accelerate the development of AR content for end users to experience,” said Galaria.
What’s the Catch?
Any time that something is released for free, it’s fair to ask how it’s being paid for. The end of the release announcing the Blippbuilder free availability introduces the idea that “for developers, agencies and studios looking to create more complex, code-based AR experiences, Blippar’s WebAR SDK is the solution.”
A beta version of the WebAR SDK was released last October, with a more complete version with a scaling price model released in December. The pricing model for the WebAR SDK is based on views with projects being hosted for free until they reach one thousand views. After 1.5M views, projects land in “custom solution” territory.
That’s not to say that the free Blippbuilder access is some kind of trap. That access is likely to do exactly what the release says it is supposed to, namely drastically increase public introduction to these tools. For most people creating accounts and using the builder for the first time, the free versions of the studio or even the SDK will be sufficient for any pet project.
If you do still want to be suspicious of a company making something free, you can always look to the fact that Blippar recently announced plans to expand its footing in the United States and fellow US-based WebAR development firm 8th Wall doesn’t have any free pricing model. So, if you have your cynic glasses on, this could help onboard new users to Blippar over 8th Wall.
“Part of the reason for building our presence in the US is to build even deeper relationships with agencies and onboarding creative agencies for Blippbuilder,” Galaria told ARPost at the time.
Only Winners Here
Whether Blippar’s motives are altruistic, competitive, or a little of both, the result is the same for the end user. One of the best WebAR development tools is free to use. If you need more capacity and support than the free models offer, you know what to do.