Unity announces plans to charge developers a fee based on game installs

by Danny Craig  · 
Unity announces plans to charge developers a fee based on game installs

Unity has announced that developers who use its engine will now have to pay a fee based on the number of times a game is installed by players, which has sparked outrage among indie developers. The company has now responded, attempting to clarify how the policy will be implemented.

The details:

  • Unity, the company behind the same-named game engine, has announced that beginning January 1, 2024, developers will be required to pay a "Unity Runtime Fee" for games that reach a certain number of installs and generate revenue.
  • Those who have released games with Unity Personal and Unity Plus licenses, for example, will be required to begin paying $0.20 per install if their game has generated more than $200,000 in revenue in the previous 12 months and has 200,000-lifetime game installs. Due to the higher cost of the licenses, Pro and Enterprise users will pay lower fees based on the number of lifetime installs that exceed a threshold of one million.
  • The announcement sparked outrage in the development community, with many claiming that the fee is unfair to users and that it could be abused by people installing and uninstalling games to rack up fees for the developer. Some studios are considering porting their games to other engines such as Unreal, whereas others, such as Cult of the Lamb developer Massive Monster, plan to pull their games from the market before the new year.
  • Since the backlash, Unity has changed the policy to address some of the community's concerns, with executive Marc Whitten revealing that only the first install of a game would count toward the fee. Installs of the same game on two different devices will continue to count separately. Demos and games from "qualifying charities" will also be exempt, and distributors like Microsoft will be responsible for paying the fee for titles on services like Game Pass.

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