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Unity announcement outrages developers, backtracks within hours

Unity game engine announces a per-install charge for Unity projects, and quickly backtracks after a gamer and developer backlash
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Popular game engine Unity announced on September 12 that, starting in 2024, the company would charge developers “per install” of their created Unity projects – just a few hours later, the details were changed.

In a Unity blog post it was announced that the “standard rate” for the installation of a Unity game or project would be $0.20 – though there is some flexibility pricing, depending on a project’s profitability.

Axios writer Stephen Totilo shared in a tweet a few clarifications after reaching out to Unity:

  • If a player deletes a game and re-installs it, that's 2 installs, 2 charges
  • Same if they install on 2 devices
  • Charity games/bundles exempted from fees

That was the initial plan, but after significant backlash from both game fans and the Unity development community, the details have been changed, as Totilo once again clarifies in the Axios post ‘Unity rushes to clarify price increase plan, as game developers fume’.

The key updates are once again outlined on Totilo’s Twitter account:

  • Unity "regrouped" and now says ONLY the initial installation of a game triggers a fee
  • Demos mostly won't trigger fees
  • Devs not on the hook for Game Pass

Even with the backtrack, developers are outraged, and Garry Newman of Garry’s Mod fame even took to his private blog to write a post titled “Unity can get…” well, you can imagine the rest.

The Falconeer developer Tomas Sala has previously spoken highly of Unity, and why it is his game engine of choice. Since the announcement Tomas has tweeted: ‘Raise your hand if you are a publisher that just DM-ed their Devs "hey is it too late to port to Unreal?"’

Another anonymous dev that spoke with stated that the fee "screws over indies and smaller devs the most."

It’s been an incredibly controversial 24 hours for the Unity team, and it has left many developers wondering whether to abandon their Unity projects entirely. 

Meanwhile, Unreal Engine currently only charges developers royalties after the project has earned $1 million USD, as stated on the Unreal Engine website.