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Unity Will Begin Charging Developers A Royalty Fee For Game Installs

If you had believed that Unity was this amazing game engine for indie developers and anyone just starting out in games, that officially is no longer true, thanks to the newly introduced Unity Runtime Fee.

This new fee is a royalty fee that Unity will begin to charge developers beginning January 1, 2024 once a game has hit a minimum revenue and install threshold, at which point every install after that will come with a cost depending on which tier of Unity you’ve subscribed to.

Also, like your subscription cost, you’ll pay the Runtime Fee monthly.

If you’re a Unity Personal user (the free version) or a Unity Plus user, you’ll be charged the fee once your game hits 200,000 lifetime installs, and has made $200,000.

For Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise users, that threshold moves up to $1,000,000 revenue and 1,000,000 lifetime installs. On top of that the fee is retroactive, and will be charged to developers who’ve hit these thresholds within the last 12 months.

Meaning that come January 1, if you’ve had a successful indie that made a splash in 2023, you’ll suddenly owe Unity a huge chunk of change, and then again every month for forever.

According to Unity, it believes “that an initial install-based fee allows creators to keep the ongoing financial gains from player engagement, unlike a revenue share.”

Developers however have not taken the news well, and many have already begun pointing out the obvious issues that’ll make Unity the engine that developers run from rather than flock towards.

“Developing in Unity is now straight-up a financial risk.” said Rami Ismail, co-founder of Vlambeer. “Plenty of folks at Unity *are* developers – and any of those would’ve been able to see these obvious problems.

So it’s not that they didn’t ask developers – it’s that whoever made this call straight-up ignored the answer.”

For, Brandon Sheffield called this “The death of Unity,” and points out the obvious that since Unity’s chief executive officer John Riccitiello took charge, things have gone downhill for Unity in terms of developer trust eroding.

Stephen Totilo for Axios was able to get some clarifying points out of Unity, namely that if you’ve given a code to charity as many often do, those installs will be exempt.

However when players delete and re-download a game, that counts as two installs that the developer will be charged for, along with installing a game on two different devices.

This feels very much like a final straw, and if Unity does go ahead with this fee beginning of next year, it’s also likely that plenty of developers will go ahead and leave Unity to build their projects on other engines.

Source – [Unity, Axios, Rami Ismail,]