Unity’s New Fee Plan and How It Affects Developers

Unity’s out-of-blue addition of charge fee baffles every single developer who used Unity to make their game.

By AtillaTuran, Posted 14 Sep 2023

Unlike AAA games, most indie and small developers depend on reachable and affordable game engines to start working on their games. On the other hand, established game developers who have experience, tend to use their own engines to provide games to the masses, however, small or one-person developers really need to use provided engines that are available to everyone. That is when Unity comes along and helps them out in this regard. Unity used to be, and still is, one of the best game engines to work on if you were new or experienced enough to push the boundaries.

Unity as a whole has a great history. The engine itself is very flexible and can be modified well enough to make it unique in the eyes of developers. Some of the best-rated games of Unity are Hollow Knight, Cult of the Lamb, Cities: Skylines, Cuphead, Rust, Tunic, Subnautica, and more. These games are considered the pinnacle in the genres they are included in and there are a lot of people who tend to purchase and install these games.

The “purchase” and “install” are quite important words for these developers now as Unity’s own plan to charge certain fees will be live on the 1st of January, 2024. Despite Unity’s claim that it affects a very small bit of people, this is bad news for all the developers included in the long run.

Unity, Download Fee, Charging Fee, Indie Developers, Stock Share, CEO, NoobFeed

What is Unity’s new fee plan? Unity seems to have made a U-Turn with their actions, so let’s start from the beginning and eventually talk about the current situation. According to their announcement a few days ago, Unity planned to cut a certain amount of money from the developer whenever the game gets installed. This included with or without a third party’s involvement, meaning that even if the game is installed through piracy, it would have been trigged as a “downloaded game” anyway and charged the developer for it.

While this fee is very small, about 0,2 after 200k of downloads per month, these games are always downloaded no matter what. So in the end, a game can be expected to be downloaded more than 1 million times in a month. This ends up hurting the developers financially as the download numbers rise, and Unity will start to take more cuts.

Not only does this apply to newly released games, but the games that have been widely available to everyone for the past ten years or so are also under the rule of the charge fee, making developers forcefully accept the newly established rule. After the announcement, almost all of the developers were furious about the change and stated their frustrated thoughts on social media to let people know this was not okay.

Companies like Innersloth, who are the creators of the Among Us, were not affected, however, they still made a post about the announcement and said it would completely destroy anyone with a limited budget or just started making a new game. When asked about what developers can do, the answer was to change to Unreal Engine as soon as possible.

This creates a huge problem for the people who developed their titles and made them available for free services like Steam giveaways, Epic free weekends or Xbox Live passes, as their titles could be downloaded for free and directly make the developers lose money on sight. There are also some people who tend to not respect developers and come up with a plan of “download-bombing” a certain game. The process is to get a game and keep deleting and downloading the game over and over to make the creators lose money on purpose.

Unity, Download Fee, Charging Fee, Indie Developers, Stock Share, CEO, NoobFeed

Seems like the backlash of the new rule has come up very quickly as Unity made another post about the matter, stating a few things that have changed with the fee system. Unfortunately, the fee system is here to stay, but only for the restricted first, individual installs of the game. Although this would definitely stop griefers and prevent people from download-bomb the creators, developers are still not fond of the fee system and still saying that it should not have existed in the first place.

We shall wait and see if there is any other change to the matter, it is highly unlikely since the whole Unity staff finds themselves right with the choice of stepping backward and still not dropping the charge fee from downloads. Seems like most of the developers will now choose different engines and opt for alternatives while making their games, unless Unity changes its mind once again, of course.

Atilla Turan (@burningarrow)
Editor, NoobFeed

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