If you’ve been present on social media lately you may have noticed the team behind the Unity Engine receiving a noticeable amount of backlash over some new policy changes. The game creation engine, which is used by many indie developers in the industry, announced a plan to charge developers who use their software every time players install their games. Not purchased, but installed, meaning that theoretically, you could bankrupt an independent game company by simply reinstalling their game repeatedly.
This decision was universally panned by the gaming community, which viewed the policy as potentially predatory for smaller developers. After some well-intentioned browbeating, Unity Create lead Marc Whitten released an open letter to the community, in which he both apologizes for the misguided decision and announces changes to the policy intended to be more favorable to independent developers.
“We should have spoken with more of you and we should have incorporated more of your feedback before announcing our new Runtime Fee policy.” Marc Whitten says in the opening paragraph of the letter. “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.”
The letter then goes on to announce changes to the Unity Personal plan, the license most often used by independent developers. The personal plan will be increasing it’s eligibility, allowing for companies that made up to $200,000 in revenue in the last 12 months to use the license. This is a significant increase from the $100,000 revenue cap currently in place. Unity Personal plan members will also not be subject to the Runtime Fee policy.
“No game with less than $1 million in trailing 12-month revenue will be subject to the fee.” Whitten clarifies.
The letter then goes on to explain some changes to Unity Pro as well, clarifying that the Runtime Fee will only be present in games shipping with the 2024 version of Unity. Games already on the market will not be subject to the Runtime Fee unless the creators choose to upgrade to the next version of the Unity LTP. For games that will be subject to the Runtime Fee policy, Whitten explains a few optional ways in which developers can choose to cover the 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.”
Whitten closes the letter with an open invitation to a quote “Live Fireside Chat” hosted by Jason Weimann today at 4:00 pm ET/1:00 pm PT. The letter then closes with a link to more information on Unity pricing changes.