Unity Revises Controversial Install Fee Policy amidst Developer Backlash

The initial policy update involved charging developers a fee for every game installation, a move that sparked widespread discontent.

Game engine developer Unity has announced revisions to its contentious runtime installation policy, following a wave of criticism from the developer community. The initial policy involved charging developers a fee for every game installation, a move that sparked widespread discontent.

Unity Create President Marc Whitten addressed the community in an open letter, stating, “We should have spoken with more of you and we should have incorporated more of your feedback before announcing our new Runtime Fee policy.” The revised policy, set to be implemented in January 2024, exempts developers using Personal or Plus plans from the per-install fee and will not apply to existing games.

Details of the Changes

The company has made significant adjustments to the original plan, including the introduction of a choice for developers between a 2.5% revenue share or a calculated amount based on the number of new people engaging with a game each month. Whitten emphasized, “Both of these numbers are self-reported from data you already have available. You will always be billed the lesser amount.” Additionally, the revenue threshold for the application of fees has been raised, with only games generating at least $1 million being subject to the charge, a substantial increase from the initial $200,000 threshold.

Community Response and Future Implications

The response from the developer community to the amendments has been mixed, with some appreciating Unity's efforts to address concerns, while others remain skeptical. The policy alterations come as Unity aims to balance its support for developers and the continued investment in its game engine. The upcoming implementation of the revised policy will surely be closely watched by the industry to gauge its impact on both Unity and the broader game development community.