The developer plans to provide an update within the next few days.
Image Credit: Unity, Enemies
Last week's Tuesday is poised to become a significant historical moment, forever marked as the day when one seemingly small decision managed to alienate a vast majority of a company's audience and dishearten thousands of loyal fans. As you may have already guessed, the event in question is the introduction of Unity's new Runtime Fee program for game developers, which essentially obligates developers to pay an additional "tax" to Unity based on the frequency of player downloads for their games.
In case you've been living under a rock for the past week, here's a quick recap: On September 12, Unity made an announcement that starting from January 1, 2024, developers of Unity-based games would be required to pay an additional fee, dependent on how frequently players install their games.
According to the announcement, Unity Personal and Unity Plus subscribers will face an additional fee if their games have generated $200,000 or more in the last 12 months and have at least 200,000 lifetime game installs. Meanwhile, Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise subscribers will incur an extra charge if their games have generated $1,000,000 or more in the past year and have reached a minimum of 1,000,000 lifetime game installs.
To no one's surprise, this new program sparked a substantial backlash within the community, with thousands of developers, Unity users, and others interested in the game industry criticizing the company's decision. This forced Unity to issue another announcement to provide further clarity on the matter.
As outlined in the second announcement, the fee will only be levied upon the initial installation of a game. However, the fee will still apply if a user acquires the game on an additional device. The statement also clarifies that demo versions will remain exempt from charges unless they are part of a full game download.
The update, however, made little to no improvement in the situation. Many prominent developers, including those behind games such as Among Us, Cult of the Lamb, The Last Night, Slay the Spire, and numerous others, as well as several mobile game developers, criticized the announcement for its vagueness and lack of substantial information. They called for a complete rollback of the new fee policy and even threatened to remove their games entirely if the new fees were implemented.
Image Credit: Unity, Enemies
On September 18, Unity issued another brief update on the situation, stating that they have listened to the community's criticisms and extended their appreciation to everyone who provided honest and critical feedback. According to a brief Twitter post by the developer, they are in the process of making policy adjustments and will provide further information in the coming days.
"We have heard you. We apologize for the confusion and angst the runtime fee policy we announced on Tuesday caused. We are listening, talking to our team members, community, customers, and partners, and will be making changes to the policy. We will share an update in a couple of days. Thank you for your honest and critical feedback."