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Unity Engine Announces New Runtime Fee; Developers Are Furious & Here’s Why

The Unity Engine came out in 2005 and has been a great cross-platform game engine used by many, many indie game developers to create their dream projects. The Ori series, Hollow Knight, Cuphead, Beat Saber, Monument Valley: you know an indie game, Unity’s probably powering it.

The company behind the engine, Unity, are shaking things up with its new fee, but arguably not in a good way. Starting 1st January 2024, Unity will charge developers each time a game using the engine is downloaded; this is what the company is calling a “Runtime fee”. The charge will begin once a game’s sales number reaches a threshold of US$200,000 in revenue over 12 months, or at 200,000 total installs. Charges will be as high as US$0.20 per install. Developers paying over US$2,000 a year for Unity Pro plans will have to hit higher thresholds and will be charged with lower fees.

The chief reason this is happening? Unity said that it wanted to make more money so it could continue to invest in the engine.

“An install-based fee allows creators to keep the ongoing financial gains from player engagement.”

Naturally, developers are angry at this. Here are a few words from Garry Newman, the man behind Garry’s Mod, along with a couple more.

A good number of Southeast Asian developers have voiced their concerns as well, like Toge Productions’ Kris Antoni (Coffee Talk series, Kriegsfront Tactics ). We also got a few Kakuchopurei exclusive quotes from the makers of Kabaret and Gigabash.

 

“Feels like it’s going to be painful for a lot of indies out there. I’m not sure if Unity will be the best engine for indies moving forward.” – Saqina Latif, producer & co-founder of Persona Theory Games.

 

“I can’t understand the logic behind this. It truly feels like this is a strange decision, led by greed and made at the expense of game developers everywhere. Deeply saddened.” – Sophie Azlan, The Game Awards Future Class 2022 (design, production, journalist)

 

In spite of all this, there is a shred of hope. According to Unity executive Marc Whitten via Axios, Unity has “regrouped” and said that the initial installation of the game triggers a fee; a one-time charge in other words for one platform. Demos and Game Pass downloads (Xbox, PC) will not trigger the fees. Games offered for charity or included in charity bundles will not trigger the fees. However, Early Access games will be charged for an installation. Given the threshold the games need to hit, only 10% off Unity’s developers will have to pay any fees.

Still, the thought of whether having a hit game through Unity Engine would cost them more than they’re earning would be on everybody’s mind. Then again, there is no such thing as a free lunch, as an engine maker will need to find ways to recuperate potential lost costs to keep it afloat.

Is it also a mere coincidence that Unity is currently run by ex-EA CEO and president John Riccitiello, the man who led EA to a more-than-usual money-grubbing path?

Unity wants 108% of our gross revenue
byu/No_Storm7311 inUnity3D

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