In a surprising turn of events, Unity, the widely-used cross-platform game engine responsible for powering thousands of video games, has reversed its controversial “Runtime Fee” policy following immense backlash from the gaming community. This dramatic change comes after Unity faced severe criticism for its decision to charge developers up to $0.20 each time someone installed their game.
In a blog post, Marc Whitten, the head of Unity Create, which encompasses the Unity engine and editor teams, issued a public apology and expressed regret for not considering user feedback before implementing the contentious Runtime Fee policy.
As part of the reversal, Unity has introduced several significant amendments to the policy:
- Exemption for Unity Personal Plan Developers: Developers using the Unity Personal plan will no longer be subject to the Runtime Fee. This change aims to support smaller-scale developers who rely on the free plan.
- Increased Revenue Ceiling: The revenue threshold that triggers the requirement for developers to upgrade to a higher payment tier has been raised from $100,000 to $200,000. This adjustment provides more breathing room for developers to grow their games’ success without incurring additional charges.
- Removal of ‘Made with Unity’ Splash Screen: Game developers can now opt to remove the ‘Made with Unity’ splash screen, providing more flexibility in branding and presentation.
Moreover, the updated policy includes provisions for games that generate less than $1 million in revenue within a 12-month period. Such games will be exempt from the Runtime Fee, easing the financial burden on smaller game creators.
For Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise customers, the revised policy will take effect with the next Long-Term Support (LTS) version of the Unity engine, anticipated for release in the upcoming year. This delay allows these customers to prepare for the transition.
Unity has clarified that games and projects created using the current version of the game engine will not be subject to the Runtime Fee unless they decide to upgrade to a newer version. Additionally, games that do fall under the Runtime Fee policy will have the option to choose between two payment methods: either 2.5 percent of the revenue share or a calculated amount based on the number of new players engaging with the game. Unity assures developers that they will always be billed the lesser of the two amounts, promoting fairness and transparency.
This reversal comes just a week after a coalition of game developers, including those behind popular titles such as Among Us, Rust 2, Cult of the Lamb, and others, voiced their strong opposition to the initial pricing model. They argued that it would significantly impact their profit margins and hinder their ability to innovate and create compelling gaming experiences.
Unity’s swift response to user feedback and its commitment to fostering a more developer-friendly environment in the gaming industry demonstrate the company’s dedication to supporting the creative forces behind some of the world’s most beloved games.
As the gaming landscape continues to evolve, Unity’s willingness to listen and adapt serves as a reminder of the importance of community-driven discussions in shaping the future of game development and distribution.