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  • Taisiia Dobrozorova

A Fresh Look at Unity's Pricing Model: Gaining New Perspectives

October 14, 2023

On September 13, 2023, Unity announced a bold change to its pricing strategy, making a seismic move that sent shockwaves through the game development industry. In a departure from its legacy of annual flat rates, Unity has announced a move to a pay-per-install model, effective January 1, 2024. The excitement surrounding this announcement sparked discussion and debate within the game development community.

Unity Pricing Model
Unity's Pricing Model. Source:

Unity's decision, while met with a cacophony of opinions, was undoubtedly strategic. As a publicly traded company, Unity Software Inc. has found itself at an inflection point that requires adaptation to meet the industry's dynamic needs. Despite the enthusiasm of opinion, our goal in this discourse is to analyze the nuances of Unity's new pricing paradigm and express our unwavering support for this evolution, no matter how controversial it may seem.

Unity's Responsive Approach: A New Horizon

In response to the outcry, Unity has taken a stand. Recognizing concerns raised by developers, Unity management has revised its approach. At a key staff meeting, Unity presented a revised plan capping commissions at 4% of game revenue for developers generating more than $1 million. This step is calculated to be 1% lower than the commission offered by Unreal Engine.

Mark Whitten, President of Unity Create, took a proactive step by directly engaging with the community through a fireside chat and a published letter.

open letter Unity
"An open letter to our community" by Mark Whitten

Whitten admitted with surprising candor that he failed to gather adequate feedback before the program was first launched. The revised pricing model aims to create a concept of "shared success" by giving developers the choice of paying based on monthly game participation or a flat 2.5% of all revenue.

Unity plan revised

Importantly, Unity clarified that the new fees would only apply to games that exceed $200,000 in revenue and 200,000 installs—a revelation that allayed many concerns in the developer community. Unity's commitment to addressing issues related to changes to terms of service and tracking mechanisms underscored their willingness to change the situation in response to developer concerns.

Unity's Financial Trajectory

Unity's strategic move, although met with early turbulence, was firmly based on financial prudence. The company's financial report for August painted a picture of robust growth, with record revenue of $533 million—a staggering 80% increase from the previous year. This financial recovery, coupled with Unity's calculated price change, meant a concerted effort to drive sustainable growth and innovation.

  1. Diversification Strategy. Unity's move to a pay-per-download model demonstrates their adaptability. This change adds a new revenue stream to existing subscription plans, ensuring financial stability.

  2. Equitable Pricing. Unity's evolution focuses on fairness. Linking costs directly to project success fosters equity in the developer ecosystem. High-yield projects now contribute proportionally, fostering mutual growth.

How can it impact game studios and developers?

For smaller studios: Independent developers, often cited as the source of innovation in the gaming world, are vocal about their concerns. The new pricing structure could pose a serious threat to smaller games where costs could outweigh revenue due to frequent installations.

This vulnerability occurs when a player uninstalls a game and then reinstalls it, which counts as two separate installations. For these smaller studios, without reliable fraud detection resources, this poses a significant risk, potentially stifling their creative endeavors.

For larger studios: Conversely, the impact on larger studios, while significant, may not be as devastating. Harry Newman, head of Rust and Facepunch Studios, estimated that under the new model, Facepunch Studios would owe Unity approximately $410,000. Despite the significant amount, it is relatively affordable for a larger studio.

However, concerns loom over Unity's unilateral imposition of these fees and the reliability of the tracking system introduced, raising questions about the fairness and accuracy of the system.

Impact on Emerging Markets: Developers in emerging markets face a unique situation. In this case, lower installation costs above the threshold may provide breathing room, making it relatively more manageable for studios in these regions. This distinction recognizes the diversity of economic landscapes and aims to maintain a level playing field for developers around the world.

The discussed pricing model, while posing challenges, represents a turning point for game developers to rethink their strategies and adapt to the evolving industry environment.

Unity and the Game Development Community

In the midst of the storm, our studio strongly supports Unity's new pricing model. The Unity engine has become a cornerstone of the game development industry, powering 6.45% of Android and iOS apps, a testament to its reliability and versatility. Unity's support for over 25 platforms, including major operating systems and game consoles, has simplified our development process, allowing us to focus on creating immersive experiences for players around the world.

HitBerry Games' Verdict

In conclusion, Unity's price change, while initially met with skepticism, is a testament to the company's commitment to sustainable growth and innovation. As Unity aligns its financial structure with usage and diversifies its revenue streams, the game development community will benefit from a more stable and vibrant ecosystem. The evolution of Unity is not just a paradigm shift; This is a testament to the company's resilience as it strives to empower developers and shape the future of gaming.

Let's embrace this evolution together and continue creating extraordinary experiences for players worldwide.

Connect with us, and let's shape the future of gaming, one game at a time.



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