In response to mounting pressure and widespread criticism, Unity has taken a step back and revealed a series of significant adjustments to its new game developer pricing model. Just ten days ago, Unity unleashed a set of changes that had the game development community up in arms, particularly due to the introduction of a per-install fee that many developers feared could have catastrophic consequences for their businesses. However, the company has now unveiled a revised stance, softening some of the more contentious aspects of its policy.
One of the most noteworthy alterations is that users subscribed to the Unity Personal plan will no longer be subjected to the Unity Runtime Fee, a charge that had earned the ire of many. This fee would have compelled smaller developers to pay for each installation of their game, including reinstallations by the same user. Under the revised policy, Unity Personal users can generate revenue up to $200,000 without having to switch plans, a significant increase from the previous cap of $100,000. Additionally, Unity is doing away with the requirement to include the “Made with Unity” splash screen in their games.
For developers on Unity Pro and Enterprise plans, there’s a silver lining too. They won’t need to worry about the Unity Runtime Fee until they make the leap to the next LTS (long-term support) version of the engine, set to launch in 2024. Games or projects currently in development using older versions of Unity won’t be subject to this fee, and it only applies to those who transition to the upcoming version. Marc Whitten, the leader of Unity Create, assured developers that they can stick to the terms associated with the version of Unity Editor they are using, as long as they continue with that version.
As for those on Unity Pro or Enterprise plans who do qualify for the Unity Runtime Fee, they will have two options: paying either a 2.5% cut of their revenue or a calculated amount based on the number of new users engaging with their game each month. Unity clarified that this fee is based on “initial engagements,” effectively addressing concerns that developers might be double-charged if the same person uninstalled and reinstalled their game or downloaded it on a new device. Furthermore, Unity is placing trust in developers to self-report the numbers that determine the fee, and they will always be required to pay the lesser amount of the two options. This should alleviate worries about invasive tracking and potential abuse of the system.
In a bid to accommodate smaller game developers, Unity has set a threshold: no game with less than $1 million in revenue over the previous 12 months will be subject to the Unity Runtime Fee.
Marc Whitten, in a conciliatory tone, expressed Unity’s willingness to make amends for the controversial changes. “I want to start with simply this: I am sorry,” he stated. “We should have spoken with more of you and we should have incorporated more of your feedback before announcing our new Runtime Fee policy. Our goal with this policy is to ensure we can continue to support you today and tomorrow, and keep deeply investing in our game engine. You are what makes Unity great, and we know we need to listen, and work hard to earn your trust. We have heard your concerns, and we are making changes in the policy we announced to address them.”
Unity’s retreat from its initial stance is a testament to the power of community feedback and the importance of maintaining a collaborative relationship with developers, whose creativity drives the Unity ecosystem. It remains to be seen how these adjustments will shape the future of game development within Unity, but for now, it appears the storm of controversy has found some calmer waters to navigate.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Unity Game Dev Pricing
What were the initial changes to Unity’s game developer pricing?
Unity initially introduced controversial changes, including a per-install fee, and raised the revenue cap for Unity Personal users from $100,000 to $200,000. They also removed the requirement for the “Made with Unity” splash screen.
What’s the new policy for Unity Personal users regarding the Unity Runtime Fee?
Unity Personal users are no longer subject to the Unity Runtime Fee, which previously charged them per game installation, including reinstalls. They can earn up to $200,000 without needing to switch plans.
How does the Unity Runtime Fee affect Unity Pro and Enterprise plan users?
Developers on these plans won’t face the Unity Runtime Fee until they upgrade to the next LTS version in 2024. It only applies if they switch to the upcoming version.
What are the payment options for those who qualify for the Unity Runtime Fee?
Unity Pro and Enterprise plan users can choose to pay either a 2.5% cut of their revenue or a calculated amount based on the number of new user engagements each month. They will pay the lesser of the two amounts.
How does Unity address concerns about tracking and abuse with this fee?
Unity trusts developers to self-report the numbers used to determine the fee. This approach should alleviate concerns about invasive tracking and potential abuse.
Is there a revenue threshold for being exempt from the Unity Runtime Fee?
Yes, Unity states that no game with less than $1 million in revenue over the previous 12 months will be subject to the Unity Runtime Fee.
What is Marc Whitten’s response to the controversy?
Marc Whitten, the leader of Unity Create, apologized for not seeking more feedback before the initial policy announcement. He expressed Unity’s commitment to supporting developers and making necessary changes to address their concerns.