One indie developer shows how they would have to pay millions of dollars under this new fee.
There has been quite a bit of an uproar these past few days due to the Unity engine. This is a popular game engine that allows development studios to craft some thrilling gameplay experiences. While we’ve seen a wide range of studios and even genres released using the Unity engine, there is now a sudden problem. As reported, Unity is introducing the Unity Runtime Fee starting in January 2024. That gives Unity the ability to reap more money from successful titles. However, it’s proving to be anything but popular for the development teams that actively use Unity to develop games or provide updates to their recent releases.
If you haven’t already read about the Unity Runtime Fee, this is a fee that Unity receives from titles that reach a minimum revenue from the number of installations the game receives. Essentially, this was established to help further support Unity, as right now, it appears the profit received is not enough to maintain Unity. Of course, since the initial announcement and outrage from studios surfaced online, the folks behind Unity have made a few adjustments to their upcoming Unity Runtime Fee.
Today, we know that the fee will only count towards initial game installs to combat malicious groups that might reinstall games to cause development studios to repay fees. Likewise, thanks to VGC, we’re finding out that games featured on subscription services like Xbox Game Pass would require the service holder to pay the fee from installations rather than the development studio. However, even though Unity might only count the initial install for the game, it will count installs across multiple platforms. Essentially, it looks like if a player downloads a copy of a game through Steam on their PC and their Steam Deck, then it looks like that will be considered two installations.
As a result of this new push for the Unity Runtime Fee, we’re seeing more studios protest. In fact, we have the studio behind Cult of the Lamb, Massive Monster, alerting fans to install the game soon because starting on January 1, 2024, the title will be delisted. We’re sure that this is just the start of several development studios delisting their game in protest of the Unity Runtime Fee. So, it will be interesting to see if the game engine starts to see a mass exodus of studios. At any rate, we’ll continue to monitor the news regarding Unity and what the future may hold regarding the upcoming Unity Runtime Fee.