Unity Announces New Policies on Runtime Fees



By: Jason Siu



3 min read

Home » News » Unity Announces New Policies on Runtime Fees
Unity has announced sweeping changes to its runtime fee policy

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Unity has finally revealed changes to its controversial Runtime Fee policy, which was originally announced September 12. Since then, there have been plenty of game publishers and developers openly speaking out against the policy, with some developers even seeing how much work it will take to port their game to another engine. Others, who aren’t even directly affected by Unity’s runtime fee policy, have opted to financially support other engines. Needless to say, what Unity announced was not a good idea and detrimental to the gaming industry as a whole.

An awaited response from the company was finally issued today. The Unity Personal plan will remain free moving forward, and there will be no Runtime Fee for games built on Unity Personal. In addition, the cap is being increased from $100,000 to $200,000 and Unity is removing the requirement to use the “Made with Unity” splash screen. Games generating less than $1 million in revenue over the past 12 months will not be subject to the fee.

For those using Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise, the new Runtime Fee policy will take effect beginning with the next LTS version of Unity shipping in 2024 and beyond. Games that have already been shipped and projects currently in development will not be included, unless those developers decide to upgrade to this new version of 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,” Marc Whitten said in the statement.

For games that are subject to the runtime fee, Unity is giving a choice of either a 2.5% revenue share or the calculated amount based on the number of new people engaging with the game each month. Both of these numbers will be based on self-reported data and will always be billed the lesser amount.

Marc Whitten and Jason Weimann will host a live fireside chat today at 1:00pm Pacific/4:00pm Eastern.

In my view, this move falls short of adequately addressing the community’s concerns. Much of the trust is already lost, and it seems like many of these moves are being done to protect Unity from possible lawsuits with its original policy. Time will tell, however, if enough developers are willing to invest the time and effort to switch off Unity.

We reached out to Brian Bucklew of Freehold Games to get his thoughts on the new policy:

Unity is trying to frame this as a discussion about cost, but this whole week has been a referendum on trust. Unity has changed nothing substantial about the terms, other than to add a revenue cap and make it non retroactive (which was hardly enforceable in any case). There’s no reason to leave a facially absurd install based fee in unless they fully intend to leverage it later. They’ve breached the trust of the community and they’ve made absolutely no changes to the terms that would prevent them from going right back to their original intent after the current, historic PR blowback subsides. In my view, they’ve done nothing to indicate they don’t intend to as soon as they can.

Unity’s going to try to sit on this new TOS till it simmers down, and I don’t really think publicly yelling at them will move the needle.

What will move the needle, and what I personally plan to do, is start real, large scale investment in alternatives. There are lots of exciting ones like Godot, and it won’t take much investment to make Unity a distant memory. Enterprise and web technologies all sit on FOSS stacks, to their great benefit, and it’s time for games to go there as well.

Brian Bucklew, Co-Founder Freehold Games

Updated September 23, 2023: Added a quote from Brian Bucklew of Freehold Games.

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With over 20 years of online publishing experience, Jason Siu is currently the Content Director at VerticalScope and used to spend most of his time writing about cars. His work can be seen on websites such as AutoGuide, EV Pulse, FlatSixes, Tire Authority, and more. As the former co-founder of Tunerzine.com and West Coast Editor of Modified Magazine, he has also authored two books for CarTech Books. In his spare time, he founded FullCleared to indulge in his passion for writing about games. Although Jason is a variety gamer, he generally prefers RPGs.

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