It only took just over a week for Unity to make changes to its brand new Runtime Fee policy, but that’s exactly what it has done.
Announcing the changes in an open letter published today on the Unity Blog (shared on social media), the revamped model includes some pretty sweeping changes from the initial policy. Unity Create lead Marc Whitten started the letter off with an apology, acknowledging that “We should have spoken with more of you and we should have incorporated more of your feedback” before making last week’s announcement.
Some of the changes sound much easier to stomach than those in the previous policy; Unity Personal subscribers will no longer be charged the fee, and the cap will be increased to $200,000 as opposed to $100,000. Games with less than $1 million in a 12-month revenue will not be subject to the fee, either. And the fee will also only apply to games made in the new version of Unity, which launches in 2024.
Whitten’s statement also mentions that “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,” meaning that the fees will no longer be applied retroactively to games already on the market and made in Unity.
For games that will be subject to the fees, developers will no longer be charged per install; instead, devs be able to choose to be charged either a 2.5% revenue share or a “calculated amount” which will be based on the number of new people playing the game per month, and that the numbers will be self-reported by the developers themselves.
Of course, this may all sound much better, and the response this time around has been much better, but time will tell if the damage has already been done with Unity’s initial announcement.
The initial policy would have effectively charged developers a fee every time a game built in Unity was installed (depending on the number of installs and sales, etc.) from January 2024. Multiple developers took to social media to call out Unity for the sudden change — which would also have applied retroactively to games already released, and games that are uninstalled and reinstalled.
Unity has issued an updated FAQs page going over the changes — these clarify that the fee would only ever apply on an “initial engagement” and also provide a Runtime Fee Estimator.
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