Unity clarifies which game installs developers will pay a fee for

Unity angered lots of game developers earlier today when it unveiled its upcoming Unity Runtime Fee program, which takes a cut every time a Unity game is installed. It is particularly harsh for smaller developers using Unity Personal, as they will be $0.20 per install if their game makes over $200,000 within 12 months and gets over 200,000 lifetime game installs. There has been a lot of confusion over what exactly Unity defines as a “game install” in an industry full of subscription services, game bundles, and piracy. Digital Trends reached out to get clarification on what counts, and Unity responded.

When it comes to the multitude of ways players can acquire games, Unity says developers don’t need to worry about fees related to trials, bundles, and giveaways. That said, developers who put their games in a subscription service like Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Plus Premium will need to take these fees into account.”Demos, trials, game bundles, and giveaways like the Humble Bundle do not count as installs,” a Unity spokesperson tells Digital Trends. “Subscription services, like Game Pass, do count as an install.”

The Unity logo that accompanied the Runtime Fee announcement.

Then comes the question of piracy, as many developers are concerned that people who illegally download their games could rack up Unity Runtime Fee expenses. Unity believes its fraud detection systems are already strong, but it will establish a process for developers to submit concerns to Unity’s fraud compliance team.

Regarding fraud or piracy, we do already have fraud detection practices in our Ads technology which is solving a similar problem, so we will leverage that know-how as a starting point,” a Unity spokesperson tells Digital Trends. “We recognize that users will have concerns about this, and we will make available a process for them to submit their concerns to our fraud compliance team.”

The chart with Unity runtime fees
This chart breaks down the fees Unity game developers will have to pay. Unity

Hopefully, these clarifications can give Unity developers more compressive insight into where exactly they should expect Unity Runtime Fees. It’s definitely a system that seems like it will negatively impact smaller studios the most, and when asked about that, Unity’s spokesperson said the following: “The pricing was designed to ensure developers could find success before the install fee takes effect. The developers who will be impacted are generally those who have successful games and are generating revenue way above the thresholds. This means that developers who are still building their business and growing the audience of their games will not pay a fee.”

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