Unity
Unity

Unity will start Charging Developers each time their Game is Installed

What To Know

  • This levy will come into effect once the sales figures surpass a threshold of $200,000 in revenue over a span of 12 months or when the total installations reach 200,000.
  • Unity introduced this new fee on its official website, dubbing it the “Unity Runtime Fee,” alluding to the Unity Runtime code that orchestrates the execution of each game on player devices, a component hitherto bereft of monetization.
  • ” In a conversation with the industry news outlet Game Developer, the President of Company Create, Marc Whitten, asserted that the company’s objective was to “enhance the equilibrium of the value exchange” between Unity and developers.
  • As Rami Ismail, a seasoned game developer and consultant, cogently remarked on the matter, “If you are a Unity-affiliated studio, your prospects appear bleak should you ever incur the ire of your userbase.

The corporation responsible for the Unity Engine, a prominent game development tool widely utilized by autonomous studios, has unveiled a contentious new tariff. Commencing on the 1st of January, Unity will impose fees upon developers for every instance of a game employing their engine that is downloaded. This levy will come into effect once the sales figures surpass a threshold of $200,000 in revenue over a span of 12 months or when the total installations reach 200,000.

The charges will fluctuate contingent on the developer’s licensing arrangement with Unity, potentially ascending to a staggering $0.20 per installation. This announcement has provoked a storm of indignation and incredulity within the game development community.

Garry Newman, the mastermind behind the immensely successful creation known as Garry’s Mod, took to Twitter to express his astonishment, exclaiming, “Unity can arbitrarily impose a tax for each installation? They possess the unilateral authority to enact such measures? They have the prerogative to levy any sum they desire? Are we expected to place our faith in their tracking mechanisms?”

Meanwhile, Tony Gowland, an indie developer, retorted, “We have expended significant sums to secure our Pro licenses upfront, under the presumption that any ensuing revenue would be rightfully ours. And now, after two years of painstaking development, they can arbitrarily levy this back-end tax if our game happens to achieve success? Unacceptable.”

Game developers furious as Unity Engine announces new Fees

Unity introduced this new fee on its official website, dubbing it the “Unity Runtime Fee,” alluding to the Unity Runtime code that orchestrates the execution of each game on player devices, a component hitherto bereft of monetization.

The company articulated in its blog post, “A fee tied to installations empowers creators to enjoy the sustained financial rewards stemming from player engagement.” In a conversation with the industry news outlet Game Developer, the President of Company Create, Marc Whitten, asserted that the company’s objective was to “enhance the equilibrium of the value exchange” between Unity and developers. Later in the interview, Whitten added, “We aspire to augment our financial resources so as to continue investing in the engine.”

Numerous developers have raised logistical quandaries concerning this levy. Will developers be subject to charges each time a player reinstalls the game on a new piece of hardware? Furthermore, how will this policy impact developers whose games become part of subscription services like Xbox Game Pass or charitable game collections such as Humble Bundle, wherein they may suddenly become liable for a multitude of downloads?

As Rami Ismail, a seasoned game developer and consultant, cogently remarked on the matter, “If you are a Unity-affiliated studio, your prospects appear bleak should you ever incur the ire of your userbase. Instead of denting your Metacritic rating through a coordinated review campaign, they can now inflict severe financial repercussions by orchestrating a mass installation onslaught.”

Originally launched in the year 2005, Company stands as a versatile, cross-platform game engine designed to be cost-effective and adaptable. It garnered widespread adoption within the burgeoning independent game design community and served as the foundation for acclaimed titles such as Cuphead, Rust, and Pokémon GO.

The company recently introduced Muse and Sentis, two AI tools tailored to facilitate the development of AI-driven games and experiences.

However, Unity has been compelled to downsize its workforce in recent times, citing the decelerating economy as the impetus. In May, Unity executed the dismissal of 600 personnel, equating to 8% of its workforce, following a prior wave of 300 layoffs in January.

During that period, John Riccitiello, Company’s CEO, conveyed in a missive to employees, “We conducted a comprehensive reassessment of our objectives, strategies, goals, and priorities in light of prevailing economic conditions. While we remain steadfast in our overarching vision, we concluded that we need to exercise greater discernment in our investments to emerge as a more robust entity.”

In August, the company reported revenue figures amounting to $533 million for the second quarter of 2023, but concurrently recorded net losses totaling $193 million.

The implications of an ongoing per-installation levy are profound for game developers, prompting many to utilize social media platforms as a forum to petition for elucidation regarding how Company intends to monitor downloads and safeguard the interests of studios whose games are featured in bundles, subscription services, or adopt alternative business models such as free-to-play at later stages in their life cycle.

In an acerbic commentary on the matter, Rami Ismail emphasized, “There is no conceivable manner in which Unity engaged in substantive consultations with any developer prior to instituting this policy.”