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Game developers express concerns over trust following amended Unity Runtime Fee

On Friday (September 22), game engine Unity announced that it was making changes to its controversial upcoming Runtime Fee, and developers have been sharing their thoughts on the amended policy.

The original policy, which was announced on September 12, stated that all developers whose games hit certain thresholds (based on their lifetime installs and revenue) would be subject to a monthly fee calculated using the number of additional installs they’d accumulated. However, the revised version of the policy has changed things so that Unity Personal and Unity Plus users will be totally exempt from the fee. 

Additionally, the Runtime Fee will only apply to games created using the next Long Term Support (LTS) service releasing in 2024, meaning that games that have already been released will be unaffected by these changes unless they’re upgraded (the same goes for projects currently in the works, too). The fee itself can be paid via a 2.5% revenue share or a “calculated amount based on unique initial engagements”, and users will stay on the terms outlined on the version of Unity they’re currently using, for as long as they continue using it.

Some developers have reacted positively to these changes: “The new fees seem reasonable and well thought out, at least from my perspective,” Stellar Conquest developer Shaun Tonstad tweeted. “Of course, I can’t speak for others who might have different licensing expectations. Nice pivot, Unity. Now you’ll need to address [Terms of Service] changes to rebuild that trust.”

‘Trust’ has been a recurring theme in many developers’ responses: “This has the important element I wanted, which is that Gloomwood won’t be affected by the new fees as it’s on a previous Unity version. However, nothing they could have written would repair the damage to my trust,” Gloomwood developer Dillon Rogers wrote

“[From] what I read, the new policy seems more reasonable. No retroactivity, and other details I encourage you to read. However, trust is broken. It will be a long-term operation to earn it again. Proud of the dev community, everyone, also people inside Unity, [who] voiced their concerns!” Devteam Life responded

The Unity Runtime Fee is set to come into effect next year.

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