Last Tuesday, Unity – one of the most ubiquitous and well known engines for making games out there – announced a new pricing model that would take effect on January 1st of 2024. The pricing model would have been based on a per-install system – basically, every time a game got installed on a device past a certain threshold (both $200,000 in revenue and 200,000 in installs) developers would have to pay Unity a flat fee. Said fee went as high as 20 cents an install. Remember, not a purchase – an install. That meant that more consumers installing the game multiple times would charge the devs each time.
Today we announced a change to our business model which includes new additions to our subscription plans, and the introduction of a Runtime fee. We wanted to provide clarifying answers to the top questions most of you are asking.
Yes, this is a price increase and it will only…
— Unity (@unity) September 12, 2023
This led to a massive wave of criticism by just about every game developer under the sun, prompting calls to abandon Unity en masse and move to other game engines like Godot or Unreal. Questions about people maliciously installing a game over and over to rack up costs, the installation of demos, whether pirated copies would hit trigger the fees, and how Unity would even track all this information was answered murkily or not at all, with only a couple clarifications and improvements as days passed. Even after some mild walkbacks the backlash continued, people going so far as to accuse Unity’s CEO John Riccitello of insider trading for selling stock earlier this month before the announcement.
Between the complaints about the unilateral changes with little warning, Riccitello’s history at EA having devs worried about future nickel and diming, and more, Unity announced yesterday that it would be making changes to the policy that’ll be announced in the coming days.
We have heard you. We apologize for the confusion and angst the runtime fee policy we announced on Tuesday caused. We are listening, talking to our team members, community, customers, and partners, and will be making changes to the policy. We will share an update in a couple of…
— Unity (@unity) September 17, 2023
There’s no details on what that means exactly, especially since they didn’t state they’re doing away with the policy entirely. Now that the exodus from Unity has begun, quite a few are suggesting it continues, even if it’s done away with as a whole. We’ll be sure to update once Unity announces its new pricing models.
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