Unity set to change controversial fee on developers, here’s how

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Unity is changing its controversial Unity Runtime Fee after a week of persistently negative feedback from developers.

The company behind the popular game engine Unity sparked an enormous controversy when it announced plans to add a new fee for developers based on the number of times a game was downloaded. Days after announcing the controversial new policy, Unity is reportedly planning to update its new runtime fee to be more palatable for the developers. This comes after a recent apology from the company on social media that was vague in terms of offering any solution.

The apology acknowledged the criticisms and feedback from the community and promised updates in the coming days. Gaming journalist Jason Schreier reported on the planned changes for Bloomberg.

How is Unity changing its fee policy?

The revised Unity Runtime Fee will cap the amount of money it takes from developers and retroactive fees will not be charged for past sales. No changes to the policy have been finalized yet.

According to the report, Unity’s new policy limits fees to 4% of a game’s revenue from developers who earn more than $1 million. It will also not have fees for game installations until after developers have cleared a 1 million downloads threshold. The policy was previously set to charge developers up to $0.20 every time their game was downloaded.

Additionally, the process of tracking downloads will now rely on user reports as opposed to Unity’s data. However, no changes to the Unity Runtime Fee itself have been made official yet. The company is reportedly strategizing the changes and how they will be announced after the significant controversy that followed the initial introduction of the policy.

When does the Unity Runtime Fee go into effect?

The Unity Runtime Fee is still set to take effect on January 1, 2024.

More changes to the policy are reportedly being discussed but there are still no plans to stop the policy altogether.  Concerns voiced by developers such as the per-installation fee and questions of who pays the fees for downloads through services such as Game Pass remain unclear.

If the policy rolls out as it is on January 1, 2024, the impact on the game development industry could be significant. Major developers have discussed making major changes to their games on social media, including the developers of Among Us. Time will tell how this policy changes, who will be impacted, and how many developers move away from the Unity game engine as a result.

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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