Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Unity promises further changes to new install fees policy

Unity has released a statement on the social media platform Twitter after developers called on the company to revert their new install fees policy.

The statement, which can be read below, has the company apologizing for the confusion that has come with the announcement of the runtime fee policy, which would see developers having to pay Unity for repeat installations.

According to the tweet, Unity is “listening” to team members and the community and will be making further changes to the policy. What these changes are remains to be seen, but will be announced in a few days time.

Of course, considering the overwhelming amount of games developed on Unity — including indie developers — it comes as no surprise that the answers to Unity’s tweet are full of developers who are asking for the company to drop the fee in its entirety.

On September 22, Unity responded to criticism with an open letter to the community, penned by Unity Create lead Marc Whitten. In this post, Whitten tried to clarify points about the policy, while also listing some concessions the company is willing to give after the backlash.

“I want to start with this: I am sorry,” Whitten wrote. “We should have spoken with more of you and we should have incorporated more of your feedback before announcing our new Runtime Fee policy. Our goal with this policy is to ensure we can continue to support you today and tomorrow, and keep deeply investing in our game engine.”

“Our Unity Personal plan will remain free and there will be no Runtime Fee for games built on Unity Personal. We will be increasing the cap from $100,000 to $200,000 and we will remove the requirement to use the Made with Unity splash screen.”

“No game with less than $1 million in trailing 12-month revenue will be subject to the fee. For those creators on Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise, we are also making changes based on your feedback. The Runtime Fee policy will only apply beginning with the next LTS version of Unity shipping in 2024 and beyond. Your games that are currently shipped and the projects you are currently working on will not be included – unless you choose to upgrade them to this new version of Unity.”

“For games that are subject to the runtime fee, we are giving you a choice of either a 2.5% revenue share or the calculated amount based on the number of new people engaging with your game each month. Both of these numbers are self-reported from data you already have available. You will always be billed the lesser amount.”

The letter also invited Unity users to attend a fireside chat with Whitten to ask questions about the policy, which took place on the evening of the 22.

What remains clear is this: trust in Unity remains broken as ever.

[Original article starts here]

Unity Technologies, the creator of the cross-platform game engine Unity, has been reported to have made amends to their new install fees policy.

Yesterday Unity announced that they would introduce a new ‘Runtime Fee’ charge for developers in January 2024. The charge would be based on the number of players installing developer titles using the Unity game engine. The fee would vary depending on multiple factors, such as the game’s popularity, whether it’s free-to-play and more.

But, as it turns out, Unity have made some amends to their install fees policy. According to Axios, Unity changed the policy so that it will now only charge for the first, initial installation. This is to stop re-installs resulting in multiple fees, as well as prevent “install-bombing” — a term used to describe uninstalling and re-installing a game and thus charging developers with each installation.

Yet even with these new tweaks to the Unity install fees policy, it doesn’t change the fact that Unity will still charge developers an install-based fee. Nor does it prevent a charge from happening if a player installs a game on another device, such as Steam and PC, or PC and mobile, etc.

As to be expected, developers — ranging from triple-A to indie — are far from pleased about the shocking decision and have taken to social media to criticize the decision.

Furthermore, GameDeveloper reported that in an email sent to them from a Unity spokesperson, the fees are meant to impact developers with “successful games” that are “generating revenue way above the thresholds.” As such, developers who are quoted to be “still building their business and growing the audience of them games” will not have to pay a fee, nor will they be as affected by Unity’s new policy.

Unity also clarified that “qualifying charities will not be charged for installs”, such as developers which take part in fundraisers and participate in bundles such as Humble Bundle. According to GameDeveloper, Unity aims to provide developers with a way to highlight which titles are part of charitable events

Yet even with this level of tweaking from Unity, it’s been made abundantly clear that some developers are looking to make changes away from the game engine and publisher.

Some are looking for new engines to move to, whereas others, like Cult of the Lamb developer Massive Monster, have declared they will be deleting their game come January 1st due to these changes.

What Unity’s next move is yet to be revealed, but what remains for certain is this: none are entirely happy with this new policy, and the trust between the game software maker and developers is at an all-time low point.

[Article updated on 18/09/2023]