Unity runtime fee policy changes detailed in new report

The updated runtime fee policy will reportedly only target users earning over US $1 million.
Unity Runtime Fee update september 2023

Unity has reportedly reworked its controversial runtime fee policy, revealing a significant overhaul to staff during an internal meeting. Per details revealed by Bloomberg, the backtracking includes a higher threshold for payable fees, no retroactive download counts, and required self-reporting from developers.

When the new policy is implemented on 1 January 2024, it’s expected that it will now only impact Unity developers making above US $1 million, with fees capped at 4% of a game’s total revenue. In addition, the count for downloads will only begin from January 2024, and downloads will no longer be tracked by proprietary Unity tools. Rather, users will be required to self-report game installations.

Previously, the terms of the new runtime fee policy would have allowed Unity to track game installs and charge users for any amount of installs above a certain threshold – although severe and widespread backlash on social media forced changes.

When the runtime fee policy was announced earlier in September 2023, game developers worldwide rallied against the changes, claiming Unity had broken their trust by attempting to unfairly monetise games in a way that would jeopardise the sustainability of small studios.

Read: Game developers rally against Unity game engine pricing changes

Following several days of turmoil, this outrage also became very real when a ‘credible’ death threat was made against Unity’s offices, forcing evacuation. Later, it was alleged that this threat originated within the company itself.

Per Bloomberg, Unity CEO John Riccitiello led staff in an all-hands meeting to address the furore this week, where he acknowledged that the company “could have done a lot of things better” in its initial announcement. That said, he claimed there wasn’t “any version of this [policy] that would have gone down a whole lot differently than what happened.”

“It is a massively transformational change to our business model,” Riccitiello said.

For now, changes to the runtime fee policy are yet to be publicly announced, as Unity is reportedly meeting with partners and developers to discuss their implementation, and whether changes will make an impact to the reception of the new policy. On Twitter, the company recently confirmed a public update will be released in the coming days.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.