Game Developers Criticize Unity's New Install Charges [UPDATE]

Game Developers Criticize Unity's New Install Charges [UPDATE]

Unity's New Fee Structure Sparks Controversy Among Indie Game Developers

Spotlighted against a crimson backdrop is the logo of the Unity game engine, an instrumental tool in the creation of popular games such as Rust, Hollow Knight, and Pokémon Go. Recently, Unity has stirred the indie game developer community with the introduction of a contentious new fee set to be implemented next year. The announcement has been met with a swift backlash from indie developers, who fear that the financial burden of this policy could spell doom for smaller games. Developers are also grappling with the uncertainty of how this new fee structure will affect their profits.

Unity’s New Fee Structure Raises More Questions than Answers

Unity’s attempts to shed light on the matter have only succeeded in intensifying the developers' frustrations and eliciting more questions, especially from those with games either currently active or under development with the Unity engine.

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Unity’s Newly Announced Runtime Fee

The Runtime Fee, which was unveiled in a recent Unity blog post, is calculated based on the number of installations a Unity-built game receives and the revenue it generates. Although the fee doesn't take effect until January 1, 2024, it will apply to any game that surpasses both a previously set annual revenue threshold and a lifetime install count. The thresholds for the lower-cost Unity Personal and Unity Plus plans are set at $200,000 of revenue in one year and 200,000 lifetime installs. Meanwhile, Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise accounts must hit $1 million in revenue and 1 million lifetime installs for the fee to kick in.

Unity CEO’s Controversial Remarks on Mobile Game Monetization

In a somewhat related development, Unity's CEO made headlines recently with his blunt criticism of mobile game developers who fail to prioritize monetization.

Details of Unity’s New Fee Structure

Under the new fee structure, Unity Personal and Unity Plus developers will be required to pay $.20 for every game installed beyond their subscription-specific thresholds. Unity Pro developers will be charged between $.02 and $.15 for each install beyond their threshold, while Unity Enterprise developers' costs range from $.01 to $.125. Developers in emerging markets will enjoy lower costs per install beyond their respective thresholds. The announcement has thrown the developer community into a state of confusion, with developers of free-to-play games, charity bundle creators, and others scrambling to understand the implications of the new policy.

Developers Respond to Unity’s New Fee Policy

Shortly after the announcement, Garry Newman, the developer of Rust, expressed his concerns about the new policy. Newman initially speculated that the new policy could result in Unity charging them $200,000 a month, a figure that he later revised to a total of $410,000 after doing some calculations. However, following some clarification from Unity, it was revealed that the fee will only apply to monetized titles, with charity games and bundles being exempt.

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