It's been a pretty rough week for Unity and all of the developers who build their games on the engine. After introducing a new Runtime Fee based on the amount of times a game is installed, developers lashed out at the potential changes and their capability of driving smaller indie studios into the ground, specifically ones that offer up their games on subscription services like Game Pass. Many devs threatened to delay projects to switch to different engines, and it was an all-round disaster for Unity's image.
Fast-forward a few days and Unity has now decided to radically alter these upcoming changes, claiming it's "sorry" for not listening to its users and taking feedback into account. This was explained in an open letter on the official website by Unity Create lead Marc Whitten, who details some of the changes being made to the new Runtime Fee policy, the majority of them seemingly beneficial for smaller creators.
For starters, it's explained that there will be no Runtime Fee for those building their games with Unity that are on the Unity Personal program. This plan will also remain free for those that wish to use it, and the revenue cap for games built on the plan has been increased from $100,000 to $200,000. This essentially means that smaller studios and hobbyists will not be affected by this new Runtime Fee policy in the slightest, and no game with less than $1 million in trailing 12-month revenue will be affected either.
There are also a couple of positive changes for those on the Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise plans too, as it's explained that any game currently being built on Unity will not be subject to this new Runtime Fee policy. Only games that are either upgraded to or built on the new version of Unity shipping in 2024 will need to pay these new fees. Unity is also giving developers whose games are affected by these new fees a choice between a simple 2.5 percent revenue share, or fees based on the number of new people engaging with their games.
These rolled back changes seem to have gone down well for the most part, as Unity seems to have steered itself away from another barrage of fury. Still, this whole debacle has permanently damaged the trust between Unity and its users, and trust is difficult to win back. It's managed to placate the thousands of developers threatening to ditch the engine, but one wrong move and this entire fiasco will almost certainly come back to haunt Unity in the future.
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