Unity Announces Runtime Fees Will No Longer Exceed 4% Of A Developer’s Revenue

CEO John Riccitiello believes the company could've handled the situation better.

Story Highlights

  • Unity has announced changes to its recent controversial price hike.
  • The new runtime fees will no longer exceed more than 4% of a company’s revenue.
  • Additionally, user revenue and installation counts will now be self-reported.
  • Unity is also taking a “show, don’t tell” approach with its attempt at community relationship-building

Today, in an all-hands meeting with its staff, Unity Software Inc., the company behind the Unity Engine, announced it’s reversing the most major aspects of the controversial pricing scheme. The current plan is to limit the fees to a total of 4% of a developer’s revenue if they make more than $1 million. Unity also mentioned that it would not include installations of games made prior to this change going live in its threshold requirements

These amendments were made because the company came under fire last week. This was after it announced a massive change to its pricing scheme. Unity stated it’d charge customers a runtime fee that’d apply every time a player downloaded a game on their device. After a lot of backlash from game developers, Unity issued an apology. The company stated it’d take the feedback into consideration when making changes.

As initially reported by Bloomberg, these changes have not yet been revealed publically. Marc Whitten, an executive at the company, mentioned that they’re still being run by partners. Unity wants to avoid last week’s communication mess, which led to them needing to clarify multiple times. This only added more fuel to the fire. There were still several concerns regarding the pricing policy, which was fairly disliked to begin with.

One major concern that video game developers had, was how Unity would collect the data to see if a game had reached the required threshold of installations and revenue. Initially, the company claimed it’d use its proprietary tools for this purpose. But this meant developers had no real way of ensuring the data Unity was receiving was correct. They simply had to go with whatever number the company gave.

Whitten has clarified to management that users of the engine would now self-report the data. CEO of Unity, John Riccitiello, also emphasized the point of the policy is to generate more revenue from the engine’s biggest customers. He added that more than 90% of Unity’s users won’t be affected by it. That’s because they simply don’t meet the thresholds put in place to even be eligible for the fees. The CEO also stated: 

I don’t think there’s any version of this that would have gone down a whole lot differently than what happened. It is a massively transformational change to our business model. But, I think we could have done a lot of things a lot better.”

Reportedly, several employees asked what measures Unity has in mind to bounce back from these changes.  At least in terms of user trust. As pointed out by many game developers, choosing an engine for a video game is a massive investment of both time and money. And for Unity to announce such sweeping changes that could drastically affect some studios, is a massive blow to the company’s relationship with its customers.

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Executives are seemingly going with a “show, not tell” approach, and plan to choose their words in future communications more precisely. Even with its recent apology, Unity managed to get developers and community members riled up because of the poor wording.  So, it makes sense why they’d want to lay low until they’ve got something definitive to announce. 

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Rabiya is a versatile writer at eXputer who can cover everything from guides to tier lists and the hottest news in the gaming industry. Rabiya earned her Bachelor's in English Literature, further enhancing her writing skills. With hundreds of hours on Persona 5 and Genshin Impact, Rabiya has proudly played video games for eight years. Follow Rabiya's gaming activities on her Steam and Xbox Profiles!

Experience: 2+ Years || Mainly Covers Tier Lists & Guides || Education: Bs English Literature, Ms. Applied Linguistics, Writing & Editing Course, English for Journalism.

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