Unity Rethinks: Plans to Revise Its Controversial New Pricing Program


Unity has declared its desire to change the contentious pay-per-install model that caused a significant uproar among game creators in reaction to overwhelming criticism. The decision was made after Unity received a lot of criticism, with some developers threatening to pull their games from the engine out of displeasure. In addition to the negative feedback, a prospective class-action lawsuit was also suggested.

Unity’s official statement on X (formerly Twitter) expressed apologies for the misunderstanding and pain brought on by the runtime fee policy’s initial announcement. After having discussions with its staff, the local community, customers, and partners, the corporation promised to alter the policy. In the upcoming days, Unity promised to provide an update on the modified policy.

When Unity first presented its new price structure, which included a pay-per-install approach, the uproar broke out. After a certain number of downloads and income benchmarks were reached, creators would be charged for each installation of a Unity game, according to the original proposal. Even while Unity claimed that only 10% of its customers would be impacted, it was unclear exactly how it planned to track installs and differentiate between “valid” and “invalid” ones.

Beyond purely financial issues, the developers had other worries as well. Many people were upset because the new pricing structure broke with the transparency Unity had outlined in its terms of service. Users could continue to utilize the terms that were appropriate for the version of Unity they were using because Unity had previously promised to notify users of any changes to its terms of service.

Unity had, however, erased the GitHub repository it had used to track modifications to the T&Cs, and in April 2023 it released a new T&Cs document that removed the provision allowing developers to use earlier T&Cs. Instead, it added a section that made a suggestion about the contentious runtime fees.

When a group of 19 developers, most of whom were headquartered in Europe and focused on creating mobile games, issued an open letter pleading with Unity to reconsider its previously announced pricing model changes, the criticism took on a new intensity. These businesses, who are responsible for thousands of games with billions of downloads, removed Unity’s ad monetization in their projects right away. This coordinated action attempted to stop Unity from making more money off of its games.

The developers vented their aggravation and stressed that every project that didn’t produce enough revenue per user will be affected by Unity’s new rules. The confrontation between Unity and its user base significantly escalated as a result of this coordinated effort.

Unity acknowledged the anxiety and misunderstanding brought on by the initially proposed runtime cost policy in its most recent message. Unity promised to update the policy and share any modifications in the upcoming days. However, the official announcement omitted to describe the nature of these adjustments.

According to a Bloomberg article, Unity is tentatively contemplating several adjustments. For clients earning more than $1 million annually, Unity intends to cap costs at 4% of game sales. Additionally, installations will not be retroactively counted once the revenue criterion has been met. In contrast to retroactively applying the costs to already-released games, this signals that Unity is capping the fee at 4 percent for games earning over $1 million and will only evaluate installs made after January 1st, 2024.

The report also stated that Unity intends to rely on user self-reporting to track game installs rather than employing proprietary software. Unity persisted in emphasizing that these adjustments were intended to increase income from its highest-grossing games, focusing in particular on well-known mobile games created in Unity.

Although the specifics of the revamped price scheme have not yet been made public, it seems that Unity is making an effort to solve some of the most pressing issues expressed by developers. The relationship between Unity and the game developer community may have been seriously damaged, and it will probably take time for the firm to regain that confidence.

In conclusion, Unity’s decision to change its pay-per-install model demonstrates the significant influence of developer input and the coordinated protests by businesses. The results of these changes may alter the dynamics of the game production industry in the future and will impact Unity’s connection with its user base.

Image: Unity

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