UPDATE: Unity has clarified the fee, saying that only the initial installation will be counted towards the cost. So, developers will not need to worry about users reinstalling the game causing another charge. Demos will also not be subject to the fee, nor will installs from Xbox Game Pass be counted. However, there has still been no clarification if developers would be on the hook for pirated copies of the game.
Unity has been a popular engine for professional and hobbyist developers for years, with many popular games coded with the engine. Today, Unity Technologies has announced a plan to charge developers a fee every time their game is installed onto a device, taking effect January 1, 2024.
This new plan will enact a flat fee developers must pay after their game has reached both a sales and lifetime downloads threshold, which will vary depending on the license purchased by the developer.
Personal users will see a flat 20-cent fee per install over 200,000 installs, and those who have made $200,000 USD within the last year. At the same time, Pro and Enterprise licenses will need to have 1 million dollars of revenue and 1 million downloads before seeing the fee, which will slide from 15 cents to 2 cents the more downloads they receive.
For clarification, those below the download threshold will not be calculated towards the fee, only those made after the download threshold.
However, there is no clear ending of when a game could no longer be subject to the fee after reaching the threshold, nor if the code inside the runtime would count pirated copies. Aggro Crab Games (developer of Another Crab’s Treasure) has voiced their concerns over the new fee in a tweet stating the potential costs they could receive.
This, of course, is multiplied as games on Xbox Game Pass would be subjected to the fee. If a fraction of those 25 million users were to install Another Crab’s Treasure, the developer could see a hefty fee cutting into profits and employee payments.
This change will not affect students and those who only create games as a hobby. It will instead look towards Indie developers and AAA developers who use Unity while giving preferential treatment to the higher-tiered licenses.
Aggro Crab is also putting a call to action for Unity to reverse this decision, lest many indie developers drop Unity to move onto another Engine that won’t be taking such a fee. We will monitor the situation and update as more information becomes available.
It is worth noting that charity games and bundles will be exempt from fees.
You can read the entire Unity Blog here and see the Aggro Crab Games tweet below.
— AGGRO CRAB (@AggroCrabGames) September 12, 2023
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.