Making PlayCanvas (and its TOU) teacher-friendly


I’m an art teacher who mostly teaches digital media. In the past I’ve used Unity with my groups, but with COVID I shifted to PlayCanvas with my summer art camp groups, and it’s been great. The PlayCanvas folks even helped set us up with some ‘Personal’ accounts for the kids so their projects and data could remain confidential/private. A great experience all around. We had teens collaborating on awesome projects, on machines ranging from gaming rigs to Macbooks to Chromebooks, in multiple projects!

I’ve been sharing my teaching materials and experiences with other teachers, and have been trying to set up some workshops with public school districts in my area (in the US). While folks are very enthusiastic, I find we keep getting hung on on school boards’ tech and legal teams in terms of the default non-privacy on free accounts, and the language in the TOU.

While PlayCanvas worked great for me as an independent teacher working at a camp with a set group of students, it’s harder to get off the ground for classroom teachers working with teens (or younger kids, who are explicitly excluded by the TOU). I know PlayCanvas is not primarily an educational tool, and PlayCanvas would sacrifice income having some free private accounts that they couldn’t leverage as content. But I wonder if working to make it more ed-friendly might help establish it as a go-to tool, similar to Unity, that kids are already familiar with - and in this remote-learning moment, it could really rise to meet a need.

I wonder if there could be an “educator license” of some kind, maybe secured by a teacher applying, that would allow for a set of free, private accounts to be set up, with a license that’s amenable to educational settings interested in protecting the privacy and IP of kids (you might even be able to open the TOU up to kids under 13 doing this without violating GDPR - the way TinkerCAD does with class- or parent-linked accounts?). Sites like TinkerCAD and Scratch might be good precedents to look at.

Anyway, I understand there are probably a million reasons why this would be challenging, expensive, or not a priority. I just see a big opportunity right now, as educators are scrambling to find tools that work remotely on machines their students are likely to have, and think it could be cool if any of the folks at PlayCanvas see this as an avenue worth pursuing.


I’ve found this on the pricing page:


While we don’t have a formal discount for education, contact us at and make a proposal

Perhaps there is a plan already?

And thanks for sharing your teaching materials!

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Yep! When I was setting up my own program, I was able to reach out to PlayCanvas and there were supper accommodating at getting us set up for learning in a low-cost or cost-free way. It was great!

The issues I’m having are less with cost (PlayCanvas seems happy to to generous with teachers in my experience), and more with legalities regarding information privacy, ages of use, etc. that come up when a tool has to be approved for use by an entity like a district schoolboard. Things like not allowing multiple users on a log-in also make it tricky, because then a teacher can’t have a “class set” of licenses to use with multiple groups, and needs to set up a login for every individual student (impractical), or have students set up their own accounts (which default to ‘public’ and may violate privacy, and also may not work for students who don’t have a personal email address).

It’s less about setting up a free tier than about having an easily set up free private tier that might logistically and legally allow teachers of younger kids, or larger numbers of kids, to use the tool in their classrooms.