Unity has officially changed the details of its controversial Unity Runtime Fee. But will the new Unity fee policy changes be enough to satisfy developers?
Unity has been facing backlash from developers big and small for the announcement of their Unity Runtime Fee. This new policy, in its original form, would have charged every developer using the Unity engine who met a certain threshold $0.20 per game install. And it was up to Unity to determine the number of installations.
After backlash from many developers using the Unity engine, such as the creators of Among Us and Cult of the Lamb, Unity announced that it would be changing the policy internally while taking into account the feedback from developers.
How is Unity changing its new policy?
Only developers using Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise will be charged the Unity Runtime Fee after the most recent changes. Additionally, fees will never exceed 2.5% of the game’s monthly gross revenue.
Developers using Unity Personal do not qualify for the Unity Runtime Fee policy. The developers that do qualify are now given the choice between a flat rate of 2.5% of the game’s monthly gross revenue, or a fee based on legitimate first-time installs of the developers’ games. Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise’s actual runtime fees remain unchanged from the initial announcement.
The Runtime Fee will also not apply to any existing titles that use currently supported versions of Unity. The policy will not be retroactively charging developers for any past sales. Once a Unity Pro/Unity Enterprise developer starts a new project in 2024 or updates an existing title to the latest Unity version, the project will qualify for the fee.
Do reinstalls and pirated installs still count toward the Unity Runtime fee?
No, reinstalls and pirated installs will not be counted towards the Unity Runtime Fee. Only legitimate first-time installs will be counted.
During the initial announcement, one of the major concerns was Unity charging fees for reinstalls, as well as pirated downloads. In the changed policy, only first-time installs will now be counted. These are defined as games acquired through legal means for the first time on a unique platform. Unity recommends that these figures should be self-reported by the developers.
For example, if someone buys a copy of a game on Steam and the PlayStation Store, these would count as two separate installs of the game. However, if they bought a cross-platform game, such as a Game Pass title that was playable on both PC and Xbox after a single purchase, it would only count as one install.
Aggro Crab, one of the developers affected by the initial policy, was happy with many of the policy changes. However, the developer also says the policy is still not perfect, and that it will be making an informed decision on how they develop its next project.
This seems to mirror the attitudes of many developers, as while there is gratitude for the additional changes, the overall disposition towards Unity remains damaged.