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Source: SOPA Images / Getty / Unity

Unity, the cross-platform game engine that many popular games run on, is the current subject of ire on X (formerly known as Twitter) following the announcement of its new business model, including ridiculous new fees.

Spotted on Kotaku, Unity took a page out of Elon Musk’s book of sabotaging your own brand by introducing a new Runtime Fee tied to player’s game installations in a September 12 blog post.

Per Kotaku:

The new Runtime Fee, announced in a September 12 Unity blog, is based on the number of installations a game built with the Unity engine receives, as well as the revenue it generates. Though it won’t start until January 1, 2024, the Runtime Fee will apply to any game that has reached both a previously established annual revenue threshold and a lifetime install count. Games developed with the lower-cost Unity Personal and Unity Plus plans reach that threshold at $200,000 of revenue in one year and 200,000 lifetime installs, while Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise accounts must reach $1 million in revenue and 1 million lifetime installs for the fee to kick in.

As expected, the announcement of these new fees garnered many adverse reactions from Game Developers. Unity claims the new prices will help fund the development of new technology. Developers wonder if developing a hit game on Unity will cost them more money than they can bring in.

Per Axios Gaming’s reporting, under the new fee, “developers who use Unity’s free tier of development services would owe Unity $0.20 per installation once their game hit thresholds of 200,000 downloads and earn $200,000 in revenue.”

Developers paying $2,000 a year for a Unity Pro plan must hit higher thresholds but would be charged lower fees. The fees won’t kick in until the start of 2024.

Unity Scrambles To Explain The New Business Model

The company took to X to explain the new business model.

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 affect a small subset of current Unity Editor users. Today, a large majority of Unity Editor users are currently not paying anything and will not be affected by this change. The Unity Runtime fee will not impact the majority of our developers. T

he developers who will be impacted are generally those who have successful games and are generating revenue way above the thresholds we outlined in our blog. This means that developers who are still building their business and growing the audience of their games will not pay a fee. The program was designed specifically this way to ensure developers could find success before the install fee takes effect.

Social Media Reactions

As expected, the fallout to Unity’s news was swift. Video Game Awards creator Geoff Keighly wrote on X in reply to the news, “What a joke.”

I appreciate that louder voices than mine are pushing back on this Unity news. I’ve spent every moment of the last six years building my world and tools in Unity and honestly don’t have time or energy to be bothered with more corporate nonsense,” Indie Developer Dean Dodrill said. 


You can see more reactions in the gallery below.

Photo: SOPA Images / Getty