When Unity introduced its new Unity Runtime Fee program earlier today, which takes a cut each time a Unity game is installed, it infuriated many game makers. Smaller creators using Unity Personal will be charged $0.20 per install if their game earns over $200,000 in a year and receives more than 200,000 lifetime installs, which is extremely severe.
In a market dominated by subscription services, game bundles, and piracy, there has been some misunderstanding around what exactly Unity counts as a “game install.” Unity responded to Digital Trends’ request for clarification on what counts.
Unity claims that developers don’t have to be concerned about costs associated with trials, bundles, or giveaways when it comes to the variety of ways consumers can purchase games.
However, game creators must consider these costs when adding their titles to subscription services like Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Plus Premium.”Demos, trials, game bundles, and giveaways like the Humble Bundle do not count as installs,” a Unity representative told Digital Trends. Installs for subscription services like Game Pass are taken into account.
Then there’s the issue of piracy, since many developers worry that those who forcibly download their games would end up having to pay the Unity Runtime Fee.
Unity will set up a way for developers to express issues to Unity’s fraud compliance team even though it feels its fraud detection technologies are already robust.
“Regarding fraud or piracy, we do already have fraud detection practices in our Ads technology which is solving a similar problem, so we will leverage that know-how as a starting point,” a Unity spokesperson tells Digital Trends. “We recognize that users will have concerns about this, and we will make available a process for them to submit their concerns to our fraud compliance team.”
Hopefully, these clarifications can give Unity developers more compressive insight into where exactly they should expect Unity Runtime Fees. It’s definitely a system that seems like it will negatively impact smaller studios the most, and when asked about that, Unity’s spokesperson said the following: “The pricing was designed to ensure developers could find success before the install fee takes effect.
The developers who will be impacted are generally those who have successful games and are generating revenue way above the thresholds. This means that developers who are still building their business and growing the audience of their games will not pay a fee.”