Game developers shocked by new pricing method of platform Unity 17:59 in Economy, Tech Developers build games on the software platform with a subscription. But from next year, some users will have to pay per download of their games.

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There is unrest in the gaming world. Developers are dissatisfied with the Unity platform. This large software company announced on Wednesday that it will use a different pricing method from next year. Game studios can develop new games on the platform, they can use technical tools there and therefore do not have to do everything themselves.

Currently, developers only pay for a subscription they take out. For a pro subscription this is approximately $1900 per year. From January 1, an additional amount will be added: they will have to pay every time a game is downloaded. This does not apply to all users; the additional costs will only be charged above a certain threshold.

With the Unity Pro subscription (which many developers use), you reach this threshold when your game has been downloaded 1 million times and has generated $1 million. From that moment on, an additional payment must be made, from 2 to 15 dollar cents per installation.

According to Unity itself, 61 percent of all developers use the platform. For example, the popular games Pokemon Go, Genshin Impact and corona-hype Among Us were created with the platform.

After the criticism, Unity emphasized yesterday that not all users of the platform will pay per download. 90 percent of developers will not be affected, the company wrote in a post on their blog.

Really shocked

Yet it is bad news, according to game developers. “There is a lot of unrest within our company now,” says Matthijs van de Laar of developer Twirlbound, which has been based entirely on Unity for the past ten years. Twirlbound’s games do not often reach the threshold that will lead to additional payments, but their confidence in Unity is still very damaged.

Thomas Huster of Total Mayhem Games has also started to doubt the software platform. “We are now forced to think about whether we want to do business with such a party that changes the rules of the game out of nowhere.” The platform is extremely important for the game maker. “All our games run in Unity and everything we release is made with it. We are really shocked.”

And switching to another platform is not easy, says Huster. “A lot of time and money goes into retraining and developing the skills in that engine. It would take at least six months.”

The company had released a new game a few days earlier. “This is free for the first month, but after that it is paid. The launch was successful, but it now appears that success can also have negative consequences. That is a big risk for a small studio.”

No future

Derk de Geus is afraid that this announcement from Unity may herald a new development and that the amounts may increase in the long term. One of the games he developed for his company Paladin Studios was downloaded almost twenty million times.

“With Unity’s new arrangement, we might have to pay 4,000 euros per month,” says the game developer. “You have to realize that some games have little to no turnover, but are installed millions of times. That is harmful for developers.”

Yet he understands that something needs to be done at the platform. “Unity is making a lot of losses, which I find problematic. If the tools you use don’t make a profit, they may not have a future.” Other platforms choose different payment methods.

For example, competitor Unreal charges 5 percent of the revenue from a game, instead of an amount per installation. That’s better, De Geus thinks. “Yet it is less bad than most people think,” he puts Unity’s move into perspective. “Because of the threshold, it will only apply to a small group.”

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