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Unity Technologies, developer of the cross-platform game engine Unity, today announced a policy that will sting developers with a fee based on truly wild things like how many times a game has been installed. This one's likely to develop quickly, but we'll catch you up on the story so far.

In a blog post (spotted by Game Developer), the Unity Runtime Fee was unveiled, which would hit game devs with a financial cost "based upon each time an end user downloads a qualifying game". Apparently, this is because the Unity Engine is comprised of two substantial software components, the Unity Editor and Unity Runtime. When an end user (the player) downloads a game, this Unity Runtime code gets installed, and now the developer of that code wants to get paid for it.

Unity Technologies boldly declared: "Effective 1st January, 2024, we will introduce a new Unity Runtime Fee that’s based on game installs. We will also add cloud-based asset storage, Unity DevOps tools, and AI at runtime at no extra cost to Unity subscription plans this November."

Some caveats would allegedly "avoid impacting those who have yet to find scale, meaning they don’t need to pay the fee until they have reached significant success", and you can see what that looks like below:

  • Unity Personal and Unity Plus: Those that have made $200,000 USD or more in the last 12 months AND have at least 200,000 lifetime game installs.
  • Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise: Those that have made $1,000,000 USD or more in the last 12 months AND have at least 1,000,000 lifetime game installs.

Stephen Totilo of Axios is tackling the situation in real-time and reports Unity leadership has since "regrouped", and we'd imagine some level of walk-back is imminent. There are still plenty of questions in need of answers.

As you can no doubt imagine, this entire debacle has been a wild ride for the people who make the games we love. We've collected a small smattering of a much larger and ongoing discussion as we wait to see what shakes out once the dust clears.

[source, via,]