Skip to main content

Unity clarifies what types of game installs count toward its new Runtime Fee

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.”

Update: In the day since the Unity Runtime Fee’s announcement, developers have continued to rally against the new fee. Another Crab’s Treasure’s Aggro Crab, Among UsInnersloth, Game Dev Tycoon’s Greenheart Games, and more have released official statements on the matter, condemning Unity’s decision. On top of that, Unity provided more context on what counts as a game installation to Axios on Tuesday night, some of which doesn’t completely line up with what a Unity spokesperson told Digital Trends.

First, Unity’s Marc Whitten told Axios that Unity won’t make developers pay a fee for players who uninstall and re-install game on the same device; they will have to pay if the game is installed on a second device like a Steam Deck, though. Then, when it comes to demos, Whitten elaborated a confirmed that Unity would still charge a fee if “the demo is part of a download that includes the full game.” Finally, when it comes to subscriptions, Unity now says the fees won’t be the responsibility of developers, but the distributor that runs the subscription service.

Editors' Recommendations

Tomas Franzese
Gaming Staff Writer
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
Netflix launches its new video game platform on Android devices
Netflix gaming service on Android.

Netflix announced that its new gaming initiative has officially launched today, November 2nd. Five games are currently available on the mobile platform, including Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3: The Game. Netflix promises to add more titles to the platform later on.

In August, Netflix rolled out its gaming service in Poland as part of a test. Originally, only players in Poland had access to Stranger Things 1984 and Stranger Things 3: The Game. However, now the service is available worldwide and has added three new games to the platform: Shooting Hoops, Card Blast, and Teeter Up. The only requirement to play these games is to have a Netflix account and an Android device. The games do not require an additional fee in order to play them and there are no microtransactions.

Read more
What we want to see from 2K Games’ new NFL game in 2021
nfl 2k5 2k games

Fans will soon have another football offering to choose from as 2K Games once again partners with the National Football League. The game publisher's newly announced deal with the NFL is to produce multiple titles. The first of these games will be released in 2021, so players won't have to wait long. However, this won’t be a return of where the company left off in 2005 with NFL 2K5. As the official announcement points out, the multi-year deal is specifically for “non-simulation” titles, which means that 2K won’t directly compete with Electronic Arts' Madden series for now.

To clear up any confusion, EA issued a statement stating that its licensing deal is still in effect. The company confirmed that it is still the "exclusive publisher of NFL simulation games," as it has for the past 15 years. It also states that the partnership has always allowed for the development of non-simulation titles by other studios.

Read more
Counter-Strike 2 is now available on Steam for free after surprise launch
A team groups up in Counter-Strike 2.

With little more than a slight tease beforehand, Valve just launched Counter-Strike 2 on Steam.
Counter-Strike 2 - Launch Trailer
Counter-Strike is Valve's long-running competitive multiplayer shooter series. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has stayed near the top of Steam's player count charts ever since it launched in 2012. After over a decade of dominance, Valve first announced Counter-Strike 2 as a free, sequel-level upgrade to Global Offensive earlier this year. After some slight teases earlier in the month, Valve finally decided to surprise launch the game on September 27.
Counter-Strike 2 builds upon Global Offensive in Valve's newer Source 2 game engine. Outside of the obvious visual upgrades that change brings, Counter-Strike 2 adds to its predecessor with a new CS Rating system, overhauled maps, and tweaks to core mechanics like smoke grenades and the tick rate at which the first-person shooter operates. Valve also promises that the game features "upgraded Community Workshop tools," so we should get some entertaining Counter-Strike 2 mods.

Valve intends for players to smoothly transition from Global Offensive to Counter-Strike 2 as the game has simply updated to make the transition, and all items players obtained in the former work in the latter. Hopefully, this approach works out better for Valve than it did for Blizzard with Overwatch 2 last year. 
Counter-Strike 2 is available now on PC via Steam. It's a free-to-play game, although players can buy a Prime Status Upgrade for $15 that grants buyers the titular moniker. Having Prime Status grants exclusive items, item drops, and weapon cases and makes the game more likely to matchmake you with other Prime Status Counter-Strike 2 players.

Read more