What is happening with Unity?

Sep 16, 2023 | News

Due to its new business plan, Unity has been given a lot to discuss on social networks and different specialized websites, but what exactly is happening?

On September 13, Unity announced a new charging system for video game studios based on the download numbers of games developed and published with the engine. The news immediately generated concern among all users who use or plan to use this engine for their projects.

First of all, and to stop echoing the misrepresentation, misinformation, and click-bait that the news has had, we must CLARIFY that the conditions for Unity to decide to start charging you as a developer or studio are not minor, so if you are beginning in this world, you want to use the engine, and you aim for significant sustained growth, I believe you could weigh this new rate that they intend to charge within your production costs, launch and maintenance strategies. Otherwise, you can always opt for another engine that best suits your needs.

But before continuing, let’s review the plan that Unity intends to launch from January 1, 2024:

Unity Runtime Fee Schedule
Check if the Unity Runtime Fee applies to your game and estimate any applicable fees. The fee applies to new installs beginning January 1, 2024, billed monthly.
Step 1: Check Your Eligibility
Your game must meet both revenue AND install thresholds for the fee to apply.
Unity Personal and Unity PlusUnity ProUnity Enterprise
Revenue Threshold (last 12 months)$200,000 (USD)$1,000,000 (USD)$1,000,000 (USD)
Install Threshold (lifetime)200,0001,000,0001,000,000
Step 2: Calculate the Fee
If your game meets both thresholds, the tiered rates apply and will be charged once per new install.
Unity Personal and Unity PlusUnity ProUnity Enterprise
New installs per monthStandard rate (if thresholds are met)
1–100,000$0.20 per install$0.15 per install$0.125 per install
100,001–500,000$0.075 per install$0.06 per install
500,001–1,000,000$0.03 per install$0.02 per install
1,000,001+$0.02 per install$0.01 per install
New installs per monthEmerging market rate (if thresholds are met)
1+$0.02 per install$0.01 per install$0.005 per install

 

Considering Unity’s detailed information, the condition of lifetime installations of the app and the revenue it has generated during the last 12 months must be met. So, for the Unity Personal or Plus license, the game must have at least 200,000 downloads and have generated at least USD 200,000 in its last year’s revenue; in this case, the studio must pay USD 0.20 for each new download, meaning if the studio has 100,000 new downloads in a month, it will have to pay Unity an additional USD 20,000 for its engine.

According to the information above, the cost and installation conditions improve if licenses such as Pro or Enterprise are purchased, which are USD 2,040 and USD 4,950 annually per user.

Now, if you are someone who plans to venture into this new world of video game development or you are just beginning to advance in your projects, these numbers are still far from your concerns, but those who have raised their voices, and rightly so, are the studies with existing projects since many of them have already met both, the revenue condition during 2023 and the facilities condition, which means that on January 1, 2024, they will have to deal with a new expense, far from contemplated in its cost structure and that it is not going to be a little thing.

Many studios have stated that they currently do not have download volume control when particular events occur, or that their games are published for free on platforms such as PlayStation Plus or Xbox Game Pass, where thousands of players can download the game for free for a limited time. Now, they will have to assume the consequences, paying significant amounts of money to Unity for players who are not generating any ROI from this new and unexpected fee.

The news had such an impact that many studios have postponed their games’ launch to port them to another engine, and even others assured that they will be operating with Unity until December 31, 2023, launching new versions in 2024 with another engine that fits them.

And if you thought this couldn’t get more chaotic, Unity temporarily closed two of its offices in Austin and San Francisco yesterday after its CEO, John Riccitello, stated that there were plausible death threats against the team that worked in said offices. Apparently, it has been confirmed that an employee of the company who worked at another headquarters was behind all this.

These are just statements and speculations. We will have to wait to see if, in the coming months, the company backs down on its new business plan or advances as planned. In the meantime, many studies are already looking for new alternatives to carry out their projects based on the announcements.

See you in the next one ^^