Unity recently announced a new pricing policy that has sparked panic and concern among game developers. The policy, set to take effect on January 1, 2024, introduces an “installation fee” model, which means developers will have to pay royalties for each game installation once they reach a certain threshold of revenue and installations.
Several game development companies, including FacePunch Studios, the creators of Rust 2, have already announced their decision to stop using Unity for creating new games. Worries revolve around potential false installations and the possibility of increased costs for developers. Smaller and independent developers, in particular, fear the long-term impact of such a policy change.
In response to the protests, Unity has provided some clarifications. They stated that over 90% of their customers will not be affected by this change, as the policy targets developers who have achieved large download and revenue scales. The fee will only be charged for new installations after January 1, 2024, and will not apply to re-installations, false installations, trial versions, demos, online and streaming games, as well as charitable installations.
Unity also clarified that fees will not be charged for game installations through Xbox Game Pass, as platforms like Xbox bear the responsibility for that. Demos will only be subjected to fees if they contain the full version of the game. Games offered in charitable bundles will be exempt from fees.
Despite these clarifications, the gaming community remains dissatisfied, prompting Unity to issue an apology. They admitted that their new policy has caused confusion and concern and promised to implement changes. However, the details of these changes have not yet been announced.
The future of games relying on the Unity engine, such as Pokémon GO, remains uncertain. The impact of Unity’s pricing policy and subsequent modifications will need to be closely monitored by both developers and players.