Unity has rolled back parts of its new term fee policy that would have charged game developers per game install. Now there is no fee for Unity Personal or Plus users. Pro or Enterprise users can opt for a 2.5% revenue share instead. The fee will only apply to future versions of Unity.
In an open letter, Marc Whitten, head of Unity Create, explained the changes. The term fee policy will not begin until the next Long Term Support (LTS) release of Unity, launching in 2024. There are no fees for all games created with previous versions of Unity, including the current LTS 2022. Only games created using the Unity Pro or Enterprise tiers are eligible for the free version, and no game with sales of less than $1 million in the last 12 months will be charged an additional fee.
Any developer who would be charged a term fee can opt for a 2.5% revenue share instead. Developers are always charged the lower of the two possible fees. Unity also changed the language from “installs” to “initial engagements.” According to Unity, this means “the moment a particular end user successfully and lawfully purchases, downloads, or interacts with a game supported by the Unity Runtime for the first time in a distribution channel.” Additionally, the basis for the runtime fee is self-reported, not by Unity raised.
How exactly self-reporting will work is still unclear, but Unity promised in a question-and-answer session: “We will work with customers and partners to develop tools and processes to make this as easy as possible for customers .” If developers don’t self-report, Unity collects its own data from the services the developer used.
As part of the open letter, Whitten apologized for the confusion and controversy. He wrote: “I just want to start with: I’m sorry. We should have spoken to more of you and considered more of your feedback before announcing our new term fee policy. Our goal with this policy is to ensure that we can continue to support you today and tomorrow and continue to invest heavily in our game engine. You are what makes Unity great, and we know we have to listen and work hard to earn your trust.”
Reactions from game developers ranged from relief to continued frustration. Developer and consultant Rami Ismail further said Twitter“You know what, at first glance I think this works? It’s effectively a 2.5% revenue share for earners over $1 million per year? No more backlash, LTS stability, no black box data, yes? I think this works for every use case.”
Not every developer is optimistic and many have continued to express concerns. Some developers, such as Gloomwood developer Dillion Rogers, said the changes did not restore trust. Rogers explained this Twitter“You can’t promise that you won’t silently remove important clauses from the T&Cs after you’ve already tried it. This damage is permanent.”
In the wake of the debacle, many developers have announced plans to switch to competing engines. For example, Brian Bucklew, developer of Caves of Qud, documented his attempt to convert the roguelike to Godot. Others have expressed interest in Epic’s Unreal Engine.
The products discussed here were independently selected by our editorial team. GameSpot may receive a share of sales if you purchase something on our site.