Unity clarifies new runtime fees, but fails to stem tide of anger | Pocket Gamer.biz

Unity Responds to Backlash Over New Runtime Fees on X

Game development platform Unity has taken to X (formerly Twitter) to address the concerns and confusion surrounding their recently announced Unity Runtime Fees. The controversial fees have received significant backlash from developers, with some even calling into question their legality.

In an attempt to clarify their position and alleviate speculation, Unity posted a statement on X. However, the statement does little to address the most contentious aspect of the fees: developers being charged a $0.20 fee for each new app install they acquire.

The post from Unity reads as follows:

We want to acknowledge the confusion and frustration we heard after we announced our new runtime fee policy. We’d like to clarify some of your top questions and concerns:

Who is impacted by this price increase: The price increase is targeted and will affect a small percentage of our customers. More than 90% of our customers will not be affected by this change. The fees will only impact developers who have achieved significant scale in downloads and revenue, reaching both our install and revenue thresholds. This means that creators who have not yet achieved widespread success will face little to no fees, while those who have will pay a modest one-time fee.

Fee on new installs only: Once you meet the thresholds for installs and revenue, you will only be required to pay the runtime fee on new installs starting January 1, 2024. This is not an ongoing royalty or revenue share model; it is a one-time fee per install.

How we define and count installs: Assuming the install and revenue thresholds are met, we will only count net new installs on any device starting January 1, 2024. There are several exceptions where you will not be charged a runtime fee, including re-install charges, fraudulent installs charges, trials, partial play demos, automation installs (devops), web and streaming games, and charity-related installs.

Developers Express Concerns Over Unity Runtime Fees on X

The response from game developers to Unity’s attempt to clarify the new runtime fees has been less than favorable. Many are raising concerns about the impact on professional users versus hobbyists and the tracking of installs. The inclusion of an exception for charity-related installs has also generated discussion.

Tiani Pixel pointed out that Unity is widely used by hobbyists and students who may not be releasing games, rendering the data on revenue thresholds and impact irrelevant for them.

MrFish also questions how Unity tracks installs, adding to the uncertainty surrounding the fees. There are fears that Unity’s tracking methods may lead to violations of GDPR.

One noteworthy inclusion in Unity’s statement is the clarification regarding charity-related installs. Rami Ismail highlighted the potential financial burden this could place on developers participating in charity bundles. Unity’s direct response to Ismail’s concerns suggests an awareness of the negative reaction from the game industry.

As frustration among game developers continues to grow, it is clear that this controversy will persist for the foreseeable future.