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Unity Announces Game Install Fee – and Devs Aren’t Happy

The Cuphead Show Season (Part) 3 release date trailer: This clip offers Cuphead, Mugman, and Ms Chalice meeting with Porkrind this November.

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.

Related: This Isn’t a Photo, This Is Unity Engine Going Wild with Real-Time Hair Strands

Unity is one of the most popular game development engines around, having been used to make such as CupheadHollow 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.

About the author

Liam Nolan
Liam Nolan is the Managing Editor of The Escapist. After getting his Master of Arts in English in 2016, he began writing about comics, television, movies, and video games, with his work appearing at such outlets as, CBR, and The Mary Sue. When he's not writing on pop culture, you can find Liam working on his creative projects or traveling. He's been with The Escapist since 2023. You can follow him on Twitter @LD_Nolan or on Bluesky