Unity has announced a special fee for installing games. It is called Runtime Fee and will take effect on January 1, 2024. Developers have reacted to the initiative with a strong reaction, as they believe it will negatively affect the gaming business. The situation was reported by Axios.
The controversy lies in the fact that game developers will have to pay Unity for the number of times a game is installed. The amount of the commission will depend on the thresholds and plans offered by the company.
Developers who use Unity Personal and Unity Plus will have to pay the company for each installation if the game crosses the threshold of 200 thousand downloads since its release or generates $200 thousand in revenue within 12 months. The commission is also provided for those who use Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise, but the rates are slightly lower.
The announcement outraged the gaming community, including indie developers. The fact is that Unity’s fee may be higher than the potential earnings. They are worried that they will have to pay a fee every time a player uninstalls a game and then installs it again. They are also worried that fees will potentially be charged if the same player installs the game on different devices.
They also resent the possible fees for downloading demo versions of the game, installations from a charity kit or a popular subscription service such as Microsoft Game Pass. With this in mind, some developers have begun to think about abandoning Unity services in favor of Epic Games’ competing Unreal Engine or other similar services.
“Stop it,” development studio Innersloth, makers of the hit Among Us, tweeted Tuesday evening. “This would harm not only us, but fellow game studios of all budgets and sizes….”
According to Windows Central, Innersloth also said that Unity’s business model change will lead to the studio delaying the release of content and features in order to move Among Us to another engine.
Aggro Crab studio, which is working on the long-awaited Another Crab’s Treasure game to be released on Xbox, Windows PC, and Xbox Game Pass in 2024, also expressed outrage. It called on Unity to refuse the commission. They fear that their next game, intended for release for 25 Game Pass subscribers, will lead to losses that will threaten the stability of the studio’s business.
Massive Monster, the company that created Cult of the Lamb, also joined the fight against Unity’s initiative. It urged players to buy the game until the studio removes it on January 1.
Meanwhile, Unity is trying to reassure developers. The company’s CEO Mark Witten denied some of the developers’ fears. For example, the commission will be charged only for the initial installation, although you will still have to pay for installing the game on a second device.
You will also not be charged for installing demos unless they are part of a download that includes the full game. Games from charity bundles will be exempt from fees.
At the same time, developers releasing games in Game Pass will not be on the hook. In this case, the commission will be charged from distributors, which in the example of Game Pass is Microsoft.
According to Mark Witten, only about 10% of Unity developers will have to pay the fees, taking into account the thresholds that their games must pass.