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Unity says controversial Runtime Fee will have "minimal benefit" in 2024

"While we did not expect the introduction of the fees to be easy, the execution created friction with our customers and near-term headwinds."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

November 10, 2023

2 Min Read
The Unity logo overlaid on a motherboard
Composite image via Unity

Unity has told shareholders the controversial Runtime Fee it introduced back in September will only have a "minimal benefit" over the next fiscal year.

Unity Create president Marc Whitten unveiled the new policy on September 12 and said it would enable Unity to "make more money" that would be reinvested in the game engine. In its original form, the per-install fee would have charged developers once their projects crossed specific revenue and install thresholds.

The move sparked a huge backlash, with major developers lambasting Unity for introducing the half-baked policy without consulting the community. As the company initially floundered and failed to provide answers to questions such as how the fee would impact devs on subscription platforms like Xbox Game Pass, a number of high-profile creators threatened to abandon the engine altogether.

Unity backtracked almost two weeks later and introduced a reworked version of the Runtime Fee that attempted to address those concerns. The company also apologized for sidelining developers.

Unity's Runtime Fee won't have a major impact until 2025 at the earliest

Despite tanking its reputation to push the Runtime Fee through, Unity doesn't believe the policy will have a major impact on its business until at least 2025.

"At the end of September, we introduced runtime fees on the Editor to complement our seat-based subscriptions, a critical step to make Create a sustainable business," wrote the company.

"While we did not expect the introduction of the fees to be easy, the execution created friction with our customers and near-term headwinds. We expect the impact of this business model change to have minimal benefit in 2024 and ramp up from there as customers adopt our new releases."

In the same letter to shareholders, interim Unity CEO Jim Whitehurst said the company will be restructuring its business to refocus its product portfolio. As a result, he believes layoffs are "likely" and indicated that some Unity products will also be discontinued.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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