Unity Under Fire For Introducing Game Download Royalty Fee

Unity has come a long way. A few years back the engine was introduced to the world as a humble place for upcoming developers to fiddle around and make games in. As the company has grown, it seems greed has taken over and now Unity wants all their money.

Starting on 1 January 2024, a new Unity Runtime Fee will apply to games that meet a minimum revenue threshold and have sold enough copies to hit a quota that pays the company royalties. This new Unity Runtime Fee will also live separately outside of the usual subscription model developers already need to pay in order to use the engine.

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The new royalty fee will apply to games made in Unity Personal and Unity Plus that have made $200,000 or more in the past 12 months and have at least 200,000 lifetime downloads. It will also apply to Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise games that have made $1,000,000 or more in the past 12 months and have at least 1,000,000 downloads.

Once a game hits those numbers, depending on which subscription the studio uses, Unity will then take a fee from every new download starting at that point. This fee will be $0.20 per game install.

At most, the studio will need to pay Unity $0.20 per download if they subscribe to the cheapest, lower-tier “Unity Personal and Unity Plus” service. If they pay for Unity Pro and Unit Enterprise, this royalty rate changes as the game gets more downloads. It could reach $0.01 after 1,000,001+ downloads.

Unity claims that this royalty fee is being used to pay for its Unity Runtime service which gets installed each time a user downloads and installs a game. The company is calling this an “initial install-based fee”.

Of course, the announcement didn’t go down well with developers. Many believe the system is going to have a negative effect on studios. Many believe that in today’s landscape with subscription services, piracy, free-to-play games and charity bundles, these install costs can outweigh the money developers are making on games.

Xbox Game Pass, for example, could see users download a Unity-based game five million times. The money the studio made from Microsoft for adding the game onto the service, won’t be as lucrative if Unity is taking a fee for every Game Pass download.

One developer is concerned that studios that sell their games very cheaply will greatly suffer from this system. There’s also a lot to consider when it comes to how this fee is added. Refunds, demos, trials and other downloads will also trigger the fee. So studios will now have to consider the loss for things which are out of their control.

This new system might seem like a small issue for large developers but we know Unity is adopted mainly by indie devs. Studios who don’t have endless budgets to make games. This new system will change how they work and how much you’ll pay for games.

Source: Blog

Marco is the owner and founder of GLITCHED. South Africa’s largest gaming and pop culture website. GLITCHED quickly established itself with tech and gaming enthusiasts with on-point opinions, quick coverage of breaking events and unbiased reviews across its website, social platforms, and YouTube channel.

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