Unity Will Charge “Usage Fees” From Game Developers

The makers of Unity, one of the most popular video game engines, announced a new “Unity Runtime Fee”. It’s a serious change that will take effect next year. The game developers aren’t digesting this easily! After all, the new fee can seriously harm their budget. It can hurt smaller developers using the Unity Personal and Unity Plans.

Developers Are Impacted by Unity’s New Usage Fees

Unity went into more detail about this in a blog post on Tuesday morning. It explains that starting on January 1, 2024, games that pass certain revenue and install thresholds will have to pay the Unity Runtime Fee. For developers using Unity Pro or Unity Enterprise, games “that have made $1,000,000 or more in the last 12 months and have at least 1,000,000 lifetime game installs” will have to pay the fee. For smaller developers using the free Unity Personal plan, it’s different. The threshold is for titles that “have made USD 200,000 or more in the last 12 months and had at least 200,000 installs”. It does not matter whether or not your game was released before January 1 or this announcement. The fee will apply starting next year as long as your game boots up with Unity Runtime.

According to a chart, Personal and plan holders will end up paying the big fee proportionally. It will be about $0,20 per install. For indie titles that have cheaper price tags and don’t make that much more than $200,000 but are installed a lot, the financial risk is clear.

Using Unity Engines is a Risk For Small Developers

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A tweet from the game developer Rami Ismail explains this fee being tied to the number of times the game is installed makes using Unity a risk for developers. After all, it is accounting for subscription service downloads, charity bundles, a free-to-play model, giveaways, and even piracy. Tomas Sala, the developer behind the Falconeer franchise, also tweeted about it. He states he’s worried about paying exorbitant fees in the future because he’s given away so many keys to charity. “This is ball-and-chaining me for an engine I already pay every year”.

In the end, the Runtime Fee will also punish developers who release and don’t receive much in the way of revenue but do see high install counts. This scenario is not uncommon in the indie space bolstered by Xbox Game Pass and Humble Bundle. For now, the company keeps its decision, but this is definitively something that will generate some buzz in the industry.


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