It can definitely be used for proper work. Several successful commercial games have been made with it. I've also made a commercial program using it, it's quite niche and not a game, but I've had around $1600 in sales so far.
It's a decent choice for 2D games, but bear in mind that it has quite a few intricacies and gimmicks that can be a problem in the future. If you ask a dev who developed a moderately successful game in GM, he'll point you a few of its inherent design flaws, like enclosed formats (this makes a bit harder to do translations), problems with timing and FPS (math and variables are tied to FPS).
Not entirely sure what you mean by enclosed formats, if you are talking about the GM project files, they are no longer closed, all resources are split in individual files and they are all XML-like so that you can edit them in a normal text editor and do proper version control with git or whatever.
Timing is also not really a problem anymore as you can use delta_time to tie any actions to real time rather than FPS. The physics system built-in even does this automatically.
But you are right that it has some problems. My biggest issue is that all games are sandboxed, so if you want to open/save external files outside the program's own little folder (in appdata on windows), you have to go through a special function that lets the user choose the file location manually, you can't just feed an address to the file functions and expect it to work. There are workaround, like using external libraries with non-sandboxed file IO functions, but that has problems of its own, like not being cross-platform etc.
>>52350073 GM - really good for 2D games, GML is probably the easiest language to use for a beginner as it's specifically designed for making games. Good if you suck at making graphics since there's a ton of free images online, or if you just work alone. It will give you a good insight into the whole "what is needed to make a game" thing.
Both can export to just about any platform, including consoles (if I remember correctly), but require a lot of money to purchase the editions which do that. Overall GM is really good to start with if you've never made anything, as it's way more simple, but it's a lot harder to make anything more serious in it, so just stick with unity if you want to do something more serious later in life. You may also take a look at the new Unreal engine, since it's completely free (unless you earn over $1000 per month per product) but it's a bit more complex than unity.
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