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Game developers criticise Unity for “baffling” new fees

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Unity has clarified how the new Unity Runtime Fee will work following a searing response from developers who fear that the change will damage their livelihoods.

Unveiled on September 12, the Runtime Fee is in accordance with the number of player installations of a game that runs in Unity. For developers who subscribe to Unity Personal and Unity Plus, the thresholds are $200,000 in annual revenue and 200,000 lifetime installs before the charge starts being incurred.

However, for Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise developers, the thresholds are $1million in annual revenue and one million lifetime installs. That works out to hit the Unity Personal users the hardest and Unity Enterprise users will pay the least among the different subscriptions.


This was met with derision from developers, especially those on the smaller scale. Aggro Crab spoke out and said that its new game Another Crab’s Treasure will be launched on Xbox Game Pass, a service that has 25million subscribers.

‘Another Crab’s Treasure’ Credit: Aggro Crab

“If a fraction of those users download our game, Unity could take a fee that puts an enormous dent in our income and threatens the sustainability of our business,” it said.

Others debated the possibility of switching to Epic Games’ Unreal Engine or Godot for their current and future games. “It’s an absolutely baffling decision… Unreal suddenly looks like a viable alternative despite all the time I’ve sunk into learning Unity,” conceded narrative designer Andrew Jack.

There was also the concern that a customer could take out their frustration with a company through “install bombing”, repeatedly installing and uninstalling a game to generate fees that the developer has to foot.

It appears, though, that Unity is holding internal discussions to define what the Runtime Fee will affect for these developers. Unity senior XR tech specialist Antonia Forster took to X to explain that they “don’t have all the answers” but they are trying to clarify the price changes with their employer.


“Reinstalls will not be charged,” they said. “Fraudulent installs or ‘install bombing’ will not be charged… Automation / test installs will not be charged… Charities and charity bundles will not be charged.”

Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass Credit: Microsoft

Unity executive Marc Whitten also shared with Axios that developers who distribute their game through a subscription service would not have to pay the Runtime Fee. In the case of Xbox Game Pass, that would be charged to Microsoft.

Additionally, the Runtime Fee would not apply to demos but it would be attached to games who plan to launch in an early access period.

“Our core point with this is simply to make sure that we have the right value exchange so that we can continue to invest in our fundamental mission to make sure that we can deliver the best tools for people to make great games,” stated Whitten and he expects that only 10 per cent of Unity developers will face fees thanks to the aforementioned thresholds.

In other gaming news, roguelike rhythm shooter Mechabop got a lot of love on social media for its “peace out” mechanic that pauses an enemy’s movement if a peace sign is thrown up at just the right time.

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