Unity’s new pricing update sparks controversy among developers
Unity, one of the most popular game engines in the world, has announced a new pricing and packaging update that will affect games that exceed certain revenue and install thresholds, according to the official blog post. It seems that this update aims to "align Unity's success with the success of our customers" and to "ensure Unity remains a sustainable platform for all developers".
The update introduces a runtime fee for games that generate more than $200,000 in revenue and have more than 200,000 installs in a month. The fee varies depending on the game's install count, ranging from $0.01 to $0.20 per install. Only games that meet the following thresholds qualify for the Unity Runtime Fee:
- Unity Personal and Unity Plus: Those that have made $200,000 USD or more in the last 12 months AND have at least 200,000 lifetime game installs.
- Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise: Those that have made $1,000,000 USD or more in the last 12 months AND have at least 1,000,000 lifetime game installs.
The update has generated a lot of discussion and criticism from the developer community, especially from indie developers who fear that the fee will hurt their profitability and creativity. Many users have expressed their opinions and concerns on Reddit, where the post has received hundreds of upvotes and hundred of comments.
This announcement has also unexpectedly sparked concerns among /r/gachagaming subreddit dwellers, as rerolling (effectively, reinstalling the game, over and over for a better account) is a very common practice in the community. The post has garnered hundreds of upvotes and comments combined.
Some of the common questions and issues raised by the users are:
How will Unity track and enforce the fee? What if users install games offline or on multiple devices?
How will the fee affect games that are sold at low prices or have large install bases? What if users uninstall and reinstall games frequently?
How will the fee impact Unity’s reputation and competitiveness? Will developers switch to other engines, such as Unreal Engine or Godot?
How will the fee affect the quality and diversity of games made with Unity? Will developers avoid making innovative or experimental games that might attract a large audience?
With the removal of Unity Plus, would that mean if developers want to remove Unity splash screen branding logo, they need to subscribe for Unity Pro ($2040/year)?
The update is expected to take effect in January 2024, giving developers some time to adjust their plans and expectations. However, many developers are already unhappy and worried about the future of Unity and their games.
The change doesn't really affect you if you are below threshold.
Will this fee apply to games using Unity Runtime that are already on the market on January 1, 2024? Yes, the fee applies to eligible games currently in market that continue to distribute the runtime. They will look at a game's lifetime installs to determine eligibility for the runtime fee and bill the runtime fee based on all new installs that occur after January 1, 2024.
Unity Runtime Fee: Starting from January 1, 2024, Unity will charge a small flat fee for each game install after the game has passed a minimum revenue and lifetime install threshold. The fee varies by region and subscription plan.
Unity Subscription Plans Update: In November 2023, Unity will add new tools and services to its subscription plans at no extra cost. These include Unity DevOps, Unity Asset Manager, Unity Sentis, and Team Administration.
Unity Plus Retirement: Unity Plus is no longer available for new subscribers as of September 12, 2023. Existing subscribers will receive an offer to upgrade to Unity Pro for one year at the same price.
- So, are you using Unity3D right now?
- What do you think about these upcoming changes?
- Any plans on looking into different Game Engine?
- Would you consider joining the Godot Community?
Update!: Marc Whitten wrote a blog post in September 22, 2023 as an open letter to the Unity community.
Here are the main points from Marc Whitten's statement:
Runtime fee is here to stay, with extra caveats, self-reported, or you can switch to 2.5% revshare instead.
Marc apologized for not speaking with more users before announcing the new Runtime Fee policy. The goal of the policy was to support users today and invest in the Unity engine.
Unity Personal will remain free with no Runtime Fee for games built on it. The revenue cap is increasing from $100k to $200k and the Made with Unity splash screen will be removed.
No game with less than $1 million in trailing 12-month revenue will be subject to the fee.
The Runtime Fee policy will only apply to the next LTS Unity version shipping in 2024. Games currently shipped and in development will not be included unless upgraded to the new version.
For games subject to the fee, users can choose either a 2.5% revenue share or an amount based on new monthly active users. Both numbers are self-reported. Users will be billed the lesser amount.
Marc invited users to join a fireside chat at 4:00 pm ET to answer questions and provide more details.
Please refer to the official blog post for more detail.