Effective January 1, 2024, we will introduce a new Unity Runtime Fee that’s based on game installs. We will also add cloud-based asset storage, Unity DevOps tools, and AI at runtime at no extra cost to Unity subscription plans this November.
Basically Unity plans on making devs pay for everytime a user installs their game. Not whenever a user buys their game, but every single time it’s installed on a new computer.
This means that if you make a game in Unity (and it sounds like it retroactively applies to ones you might have already) you will be put under financial risk for:
- Being Free to Play
- Players who install your game on more than one device
- Players who uninstall and reinstall your game later
I don’t know if I need to tell anyone that this is bad news for anyone who uses or has used Unity as a platform and I feel it is my duty to warn the people on this site to avoid any future use of it and to do whatever they feel is necessary to mitigate any losses that might incur from Unity games they might have already released. Again I’m not sure if they’re gonna try to charge games retroactively but I wouldn’t put it past them.
For any new devs, I would recommend switching over to a different engine. My personal recommendation would be Godot. But there is also Unreal (Free to Start), RPG Maker (One time Payment, I recommend waiting for a sale or bundle before buying), Ren’py (Free Visual Novel Maker) or Twine (Free Interactive Story Maker).
Good Luck to everyone out there.
EDIT: PeachClamNine on the Discord sent some lovely instructions on how to easily transfer to Godot from Unity:
Open Source Import Package 1
Open Source Import Package 2
EDIT September 22nd: Good news for people who have already released games on Unity: “We will make sure that you can stay on the terms applicable for the version of Unity editor you are using – as long as you keep using that version.” This will hopefully mean that Unity will not attempt to retroactively charge you for installs for games made before this pricing change or games made using the current version of Unity. I would still recommend that any new projects should stay as far away from Unity as possible, even if they decide to walk back the entire “runtime fee” scam. Unity has shown that its current administration is fundamentally against the interests of both developers and end users and should not be trusted to do fair business with whatsoever.
And I was having such a rotten day. I look forward to the long-term, positive changes this will force on the game dev industry.
Not gonna lie, a lot of unity games I’ve seen had more graphics or optimisation issues over time due to falling behind other engines, so this is a great way for them to shoot themselves in the foot. The entire point of offering sweetheart deals to smaller devs is to get young developers to turn pro within your own software ecosystem.
While this is an absolutely ridiculous move by Unity, it should be pointed out that these install fees don’t go into effect until A) your title surpasses 200,000 total installs AND B) your title surpasses $200,000 yearly revenue.
For most people here I doubt this will be a major issue - even if you monetize your game and put it in a popular bundle or something later, you’d still need a significant amount of actual buyers to hit the revenue threshold. For a game that could pass as a bit more mainstream, however, adding your game to a service like Apple Arcade or Game Pass would be very dangerous, as would making a monetized free-to-play game as unpaid players generally make up 95-99%+ of total installs.
What about LÖVE? Is that even a consideration for game developers or no?
Oh and by the way, Unreal Engine is not really good because the scripting engine is buggy and I had no idea how to fix the engine to actually compile my scripts…
As Jimbobvii said, this won’t affect the majority of devs here since you have to hit both the milestones before you’ll be billed. That being said, this is a terrible choice on Unity’s part but it’s in line with other really annoying choices their CEO has been pushing so… not surprised but still disappointed.
I think this will push a lot of people to godot or unreal. Personally I’m going to be giving unreal a go since photon seems wild and I don’t really have faith in Unity to make good decisions.
PeachClamNine on the Discord sent some lovely instructions on how to easily transfer to Godot from Unity:
Open Source Import Package 1
Open Source Import Package 2
feels a bit gross that every unity game would be phoning home and that (I assume) it has that capability before the need for it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they collected and sold a bunch of data like every tech company, it’s not like we could check if they only send data related to the install.
feels like everything that isn’t FOSS just decides to do something like this
Let’s hope they change their mind soon (no rush)
This is a shame. No love lost for Unity itself, but it was a competent option for making a decent game rather quickly. Definitely going to look into Godot for future projects.
I completely agree. Unity pulling this stunt is just another example among many of a proprietary licensed project attempting something egregious down the line and forcing users to accept it retroactively. For that reason I won’t be touching GameMaker or RPG Maker even though I doubt they’d do the same.
I used LOVE for the game jam this year! I definitely like it, but you do have to hand roll almost the entire project yourself. I think its a fantastic option for small projects.
To top it all off, Unity’s CEO (John Riccitiello, former CEO of EA when it was voted America’s worst company in 2012 and 2013) sold 2,000 shares just 6 days before this announcement. Purely coincidental I’m sure. Here’s a google spreadsheet someone made as an example of how much Unity wants to charge developers.
As a sidenote, I find it funny that Italy, Spain and Portugal are classed as “emerging markets” as per Unity’s FAQ. I’m sure there’s many other countries I’ve missed that would object to that too:
"Standard fees apply to app installs in the United States, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Emerging market fees apply to app installs in all other countries."
If anyone is looking to get into game dev, or switch away from Unity, Godot would be my first choice. It’s the only one I know of that supports C# (there’s probably others, but Godot seems to be the most popular) so you can apply the same coding knowledge, and with it being free and open source I find it highly unlikely they’d ever try something like this.
More news: When asked how they are tracking installs, Unity said they are using their own “proprietary data model” and can’t give details. Meaning that the entire process is blackboxed to the public and that, for all we know, Unity could simply be making up how much they want to charge people and just saying “Trust us, Bro”.
It’s a shame that this is happening, and I’m actually glad that I made my game in Godot Engine (Even if I don’t plan to monetize my games lmao).
But still, I’ve never seen a company where you’ll get punished for downloads that people downloaded your games.
Good question, how the heck will they know if someone downloaded a unity program? How do they expect developers to keep track? I mean I can see it for apple store, or google play? I get the threshold, it applies for 200,000 downloads and a minimum revenue, but how do they keep track of both?
you forgot the fact he wanted to make reloading a microtransaction in shooters by limiting ammunition unless you pay for a refill
simple: like mcafee, just use spyware so when someone gets it, it pings unity over it like how mcafee had built in spyware and viruses so once it expired, it unleashed hell on your PC and you got spammed with emails and video calls to renew yor mcafee
So does this mean free games on Itch suffer the wrath of payment? Either way thank god I never made something in it. Fucking bums.
If the game reaches the income threshold from donations then yes. Unity has at least backtracked on free games though, not that this makes this new policy any less bullshit:
On the plus side, Unity are doing a great job at advertising other game engines. Can’t wait for the wave of new games made in Godot, Defold and LÖVE etc.
Good news for people who have already released games on Unity: “We will make sure that you can stay on the terms applicable for the version of Unity editor you are using – as long as you keep using that version.” This will hopefully mean that Unity will not attempt to retroactively charge you for installs for games made before this pricing change or games made using the current version of Unity. I would still recommend that any new projects should stay as far away from Unity as possible, even if they decide to walk back the entire “runtime fee” scam. Unity has shown that its current administration is fundamentally against the interests of both developers and end users and should not be trusted to do fair business with whatsoever.
Based hardliner. lmaoing @ forgivenesscucks rn