Unity recently announced it will change its fee structure to start charging developers each time their game is installed using the engine. Consequently, the company has closed several offices in the U.S. due to a “credible death threat.”
Note: Unity has made revisions to its original policy. See the latest here.
In an official blog post, Unity announced that it is introducing a new “Runtime Fee that is based upon each time a qualifying game is downloaded by an end user.” These new installation fees will begin at the start of next year, on January 1, 2024.
The policy dictates that developers will be billed for installations after crossing a minimum lifetime install count and a minimum revenue threshold from the past 12 months. The exact costs will vary depending on the plan chosen. See below:
- Unity Personal / Unity Plus – $0.20/install after $200,000 in annual revenue and 200,000 lifetime installs
- Unity Pro – $0.15/install after $1,000,000 in annual revenue and 1,000,000 lifetime installs
- Unity Enterprise – $0.125/install
Those subscribed to the Unity Pro and Enterprise plans receive a tiered fee structure that lowers their rates upon reaching various installation thresholds, including 100,000, 500,000, and 1,000,000. The company allegedly designed it this way in order to ensure that those who achieve significant success will be charged.
Of course, seeing as how the Unity Runtime did not have such costs prior to the new policy, a significant portion of the development community has been outraged over the changes.
Unity is considered one of the lowest barriers to entry for indies and runs most of that community’s games. These price changes hinder the ability of new talent to get in on the ground floor with their own creative endeavors.
Not only that, but Unity is one of the most popular game engines in the entire world, next to Unreal.
This is especially painful news to developers who have already invested years of effort into building current, unreleased projects with the Unity engine, and now have no choice but to continue with it in spite of the new policies.
To simplify the number of plans offered, Unity announced it will be discontinuing subscriptions to the Plus version. Existing members will be presented with an offer to upgrade to Unity Pro for a year at the same cost as their current Plus subscription.
Negative feedback from the developer community has gotten so bad that Unity has had to cancel a town hall meeting and temporarily shut down offices in Austin, Texas, and San Francisco, California in response to a “credible death threat.”