Saturday, June 15, 2024

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    Unity Revises Controversial Pricing Plan Following Backlash

    Unity apologizes and makes significant changes to its pricing plan after facing intense backlash from the development community.

    Unity, a leading game development platform, recently faced a storm of criticism from the development community after unveiling sweeping changes to its pricing model. Just ten days after the controversial announcement, the company is backpedaling and making significant revisions to its new pricing plan.

    The initial announcement by Unity, made last Tuesday, stated that starting from January 1st, 2024, developers would be required to pay an additional monthly Unity Runtime Fee for each new game installation once they exceeded certain revenue and lifetime installation thresholds. The reaction from developers was swift and fierce, resulting in some minor adjustments to Unity’s initial plan.

    Unity’s Marc Whitten has now published a post on the company’s website, addressing the concerns and announcing substantial changes to last week’s announcement. He began with an apology, stating, “I want to start with this: I am sorry. We should have spoken with more of you, and we should have incorporated more of your feedback before announcing our new Runtime Fee policy. Our goal with this policy is to ensure we can continue to support you today and tomorrow and keep deeply investing in our game engine.”

    As for the policy changes, Unity has made the following key revisions:

    No Runtime Fees for Unity Personal and Unity Plus: Unity will no longer charge per-install Runtime fees for developers using Unity Personal or Unity Plus. Additionally, the requirement for Unity Personal games to include the Unity start-up screen will be dropped. These changes will now primarily affect developers using Unity Pro or Enterprise.

    Thresholds for Runtime Fees: Runtime fees will only apply to developers crossing two key thresholds: generating $1 million USD in gross revenue over the “trailing 12 months” and achieving 1 million “initial engagements,” likely referring to installations.

    Impacting Games Built-in 2024 or Beyond: Runtime fees will only be applied to games created using Unity’s next Long-Term Support (LTS) version, scheduled for release in 2024 or later. This means that older versions of the Unity engine will not be subject to the new fees. Unity assures developers that they can continue using the terms applicable to their specific Unity editor version.

    Furthermore, Unity notes that developers using the new LTS version and surpassing the mentioned thresholds will have a choice between paying a Runtime fee based on self-reported monthly initial engagements or an equivalent fee of 2.5% of a game’s self-reported monthly gross revenue. They will be charged the lesser of the two amounts.

    While it is too early to determine the full reaction of the development community to Unity’s revised pricing terms, the company faces an uphill battle in regaining the trust and goodwill it lost following last week’s announcement.

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