Developers of games using the Unity Engine will have to pay a fee for each install from January. This decision has angered developers across the industry, forcing Unity to clarify the company’s stance and future policies. [Thanks, Axios!]
The new Unity pricing plan is requiring developers to pay a fee for every install of a game built using the engine. This is a fixed fee per install, charged after a developer reaches a threshold of income per year and number of lifetime installs. This fee decreases for developer making their game under a Pro or Enterprise subscription, meaning the burden of costs seemingly fall on smaller developers.
When the new policy was first announced, there was initial confusion over what Unity considered an installation. Early on, developers reported that each time a user installs a game would incur a fee. This would mean that a single purchased copy installed on two devices would be subject to two charges. Demos were also claimed to count as installs, as would downloads through subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Plus.
This would have a huge impact on the games industry due to how many games are built using the engine. Unity has been used by indie developers of all shapes and sizes, but it can also be found in games as big as Genshin Impact and Pokemon Go.
Unsurprisingly, developers have not been happy with this decision. This has resulted in Unity issuing clarifications to their new pricing plan, in a FAQ on their website. Charges for multiple installs have been dropped after developers felt that this could be abused by malicious users. Demos no longer count, although if a demo is a full game download with locked off content, it will. Game Pass downloads will still count, but the burden of the cost will be passed to Microsoft instead.
This has failed to placate developers, however. Some indie developers who have used Unity have talked about pulling their games from sale, including Cult of the Lamb developer Massive Monster.
Unity stated that the new install fee model will start on January 1, 2024.