Unity Under Fire By Developers With New Price Model, Clarifies Updated Fee Plan

It has been a tumultuous 24 hours for game engine tech company Unity with the announcement of a brand new price model yesterday afternoon that would charge developers a fee for each install. Game creators are outraged, with some threatening to use another less greedy game engine, according to Axios.

This new fee plan from Unity would kick off in the new year on January 1st and would charge $0.20 per install for developers with a Unity Personal/Plus account after a game meets a threshold of $200,000 in revenue per year and 200,000 installs. For those developers with Unity Pro/Enterprise accounts, these fees are much lower at $0.01 per install, but only if a game surpasses two million installs and generates more than $1 million in revenue per year. Unity states that these fees are essential for funding its tech.

Developers were seemingly finding out about the new price model in real-time with all of us. The Unity engine game creators were rightfully mad on Twitter with the implications of the rollout, especially for developers that are offered a base amount in their Game Pass deal, releasing demos, offering thousands of keys as a part of charity bundles, and possibly.

One other main concern of the initial announcement is the possibility of the price model being abused by “gamers” install-bombing a game from a developer they don’t agree with Giant Bomb’s Jeff Grubb notes a user could set up a reinstall script that would charge a developer endlessly if fees were implemented on every single install a game gets.

Hours after the initial announcement, Unity started to scramble to hopefully appease developers, with Unity senior vice president of Create services, Marc Whitten, revealing to Axios that developers would only be charged on the initial install;  a second charge would happen if a game is installed on another separate device like Steam Deck for the PC platform. Whitten goes on to say that demos would exempted unless the first taste of the game comes with the full game or games in early access.

Whitten adds that developers will have to notify Unity when their game is being utilized to raise money for a charity in a bundle in order to be expected from the fees. Those with Game Pass, PlayStation+ or other subscription deals will still get charges for game downloads. Still, thankfully, not the developers themselves won’t be getting the fees but rather the distributing partners on the deal platform like Microsoft, Sony, etc.

“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. It’s not fun to get angry feedback on any particular day. I think that is us need to clarify some of these points. But we’re listening and we will continue to make sure that we deliver the best that we can.” Whitten said in an Axios interview.

Speaking to PocketGamer.biz, Unity CEO John Riccitiello called those who fail to monetize games “fucking idiots,” so this decision should not surprise those familiar with EA’s former CEO.