Unity is truly living up to its name, as following the announcement the company will be charging a new fee based on how many times a game was installed, developers have banded together to express their displeasure with the change.
As reported by Game Developer, the company will start charging a “Unity Runtime Fee” in January 2024. Due to the tier system that already exists for Unity users, those with Unity Personal or Unity Plus licenses will start having to pay once their project earns more than $200,000 in 12 months and hits 200,000 installs. Those using a Unity Pro or Unity Enterprise license will not have to pay until they hit $1 million in 12 months and 1 million installs. These fees will be charged on a monthly basis, with Personal and Plus users paying 20 cents per install, Pro paying 15 cents, and Enterprise paying 12.5 cents. All of these fees scale down and can go as low as 0.01 cents per install. In addition, the fee will depend on the region in which a game is monetized and whether or not the title is free-to-play.
Unity Create president Marc Whitten said these changes were being made to “better balance the value exchange” between the company and developers. The goal is to then invest that money into the engine, with Whitten explaining Unity Runtime is “quite expensive” and is often being updated.
Reporter Stephen Totilo later received clarification from Unity regarding the changes, explaining that a player deleting and re-installing a game counts as two installs, and thus results in two charges. This holds true if they install the same game on different devices. Charity games and those available as part of bundles will be exempt from the fee.
I got some clarifications from Unity regarding their plan to charge developers per game install (after clearing thresholds)
– If a player deletes a game and re-installs it, that's 2 installs, 2 charges
– Same if they install on 2 devices
– Charity games/bundles exempted from fees https://t.co/1GVuE0NXHC
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) September 12, 2023
Unity is one of the most popular game development engines around, having been used to make such as Cuphead, Hollow Knight, and even Pokémon GO. The reaction from developers on X has not been positive. I’ve rounded up some of the reactions I found most helpful in understanding just how frustrated developers are with this change below. Remember to support developers, especially independent developers, who often make little, if any, money on their games. Having to pay an additional fee is absolutely a massive blow to them.
— Damion Schubert – @ZenOfDesign.com on bsky (@ZenOfDesign) September 12, 2023
Just as a note, gamers, the Unity changes mean the following for you:
– Demos are now risky to devs
– DRM-free games are now risky to devs
– Bundles are now risky to devs
– Giveaways are now risky to devs
– Updates are now risky to devs
– Multi-device users are now risky to devs
— Rami Ismail (رامي) (@tha_rami) September 12, 2023
aaah shit i guess i owe Unity $5,600,000
anyone got some spare change? pic.twitter.com/HcgaMTDOt5
— Dani (@DaniDevYT) September 12, 2023
Hey Unity, thanks for sharing our currently in-development game.
I hope you reconsider the recent change of policy in pricing and fees per install.
You'll literally kill this project (and many others) by going forward with this. It will affect the livelihood of many indie devs. https://t.co/cCjLiA9wZ5
— Tiani Pixel (@TianiPixel) September 12, 2023
Hey @unity , our game "The Fall" was on the @EpicGames as a free game – I was quite happy to sell them the rights for peanuts and the game was installed like 7 million fucking times. How do you propose this will work? I'd owe you more money than I've made in my life.
— Over The Moon Games (@OverTheMoonGms) September 12, 2023