We told you last week that Unity, which is the engine on which Pokemon GO runs, would change their pricing policy and introduce a ‘charge-per-install’ system. Many trainers in the GO Community speculated whether Niantic wanted to continue using the Unity engine or if it would look for an alternative. This policy was set to take effect on January 1, 2024. It didn’t give game developers very much time to decide what they would do.
FacePunch Studios (developers of Rust 2) and other developers have threatened to remove their Unity-based games.
Trainers of Pokemon GO feared the introduction of more premium events and subscriptions. They also feared a rise in the price for premium items. This would have been especially controversial, given this year’s changes to remote raid pass costs.
Intended Policy Changes
According to the original announcement, the following modifications were announced:
Developers will be charged a fee per game install in addition to their subscription fees for commercial usage. The developer will have to pay this royalty once they’ve generated $200,000-$1,000,000 over the past 12 months, and between 200,000-1,000,000 installs in their lifetime. Fees can vary from $0.005 up to $0.20 for each install depending on developer subscription plans and number of installations.
|Unity Personal and Unity Plus||Unity Pro||Unity Enterprise|
|Unity Runtime Fee thresholds to be met|
|Revenue Threshold (USD)||$200,000 (last 12 months)||$1,000,000 (last 12 months)||$1,000,000 (last 12 months)|
|Install Threshold||200,000 (life to date)||1,000,000 (life to date)||1,000,000 (life to date)|
|Installs over the Install Threshold||Standard monthly rate|
|1-100,000||$0.20 per install||$0.15 per install||$0.125 per install|
|100,001-500,000||$0.075 per install||$0.06 per install|
|500,001-1,000,000||$0.03 per install||$0.02 per install|
|1,000,001+||$0.02 per install||$0.01 per install|
|Installs over the Install Threshold||Emerging market monthly rate|
|1+||$0.02 per install||$0.01 per install||$0.005 per install|
The gaming community has been in a real uproar over this, with a great deal of distress and panic from the game developers. The developers were worried that fraud could cause costs to increase exponentially and that the system might be abused. They also wanted more information on how it would affect charities and giveaways. Free-to-play games were worried that charging would undermine the ethos and slant of their game. Smaller/indie devs wondered what impact this might have on them in the long run.
After devs asked for more details, they then provided some clarifications. The following is directly from Unity’s Twitter/X account.
- This price rise will affect:
The price increase is very targeted. In fact, More than 90 percent of our clients will be unaffected by the change
. Customers who will be impacted are generally those who have found a substantial scale in downloads and revenue and have reached both our install and revenue thresholds. This means a low (or no) fee for creators who have not found scale success yet and a modest one-time fee for those who have.
- Fee on new installs only: Once you meet the two install and revenue thresholds, you only pay the runtime fee on new installs after Jan 1, 2024. It’s not perpetual: You only pay once for an install, not an ongoing perpetual license royalty like a revenue share model.
Installs will be counted based on the following criteria: If install and revenue thresholds have been met, then we only count new net installs starting January 1, 2024. Developers are also not liable for any runtime fees on:
- Re-install charges – we are not going to charge a fee for re-installs.
- Fraudulent installs charges – we are not going to charge a fee for fraudulent installs. We will work directly with you on cases where fraud or botnets are suspected of malicious intent.
- Charges for trials, demos and automated installs
– we are not going to count these toward your install count. Early access games are not considered demos.
- Play online games
– we are not going to count web and streaming games toward your install count either.
- Charity-related installs – the pricing change and install count will not be applied to your charity bundles/initiatives.
Axios also sent them the following:
This fee is only applicable to initial installations of games. Developers are no longer responsible for Xbox Game Pass installation fees. Instead, these charges will be passed on to platforms like Xbox. Demos are also exempt from fees unless they’re part of an entire game demo. The fees will not apply to games sold in bundles for charity.
Unity has been silent since the announcement of the clarifications. They only shared this information on Twitter today.
Unity seems to have accepted that the new policy could potentially cause disastrous effects for developers and impact existing games. Will be interesting to find out what will change in this policy and their plans for the future. It is an apology but it still leaves a future that’s very uncertain for all games running on Unity, such as Pokemon GO.
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