Unity Will Charge Sony, Microsoft, Apple, and Netflix Runtime Fees

Unity charging Sony Microsoft Apple and Netflix
Unity charging Sony Microsoft Apple and Netflix

Unity Technologies announces it will charge companies the runtime fees for games included in subscription services. This includes Sony’s PlayStation Plus, Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, Apple Arcade, and Netflix Games. While this addresses one concern of some Unity developers, it’s unclear how these major tech companies will react to Unity’s decision.

Unity will charge subscription services runtime fees

Unity invited controversy when it announced it would start charging developers a runtime fee when customers install a game made with Unity. In addition, some developers were worried that this would affect games on subscription services like Game Pass and PS Plus. These platforms also typically pay a lump sum, with developers getting little to no money from individual downloads.

However, Unity Technologies recently released an FAQ clarifying that it would charge the subscription services rather than the developers. The FAQ listed Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Plus, Apple Arcade, and Netflix Games as examples. However, that is by no means an exclusive list.

Interestingly, FAQ also says that “the entity that distributes the runtime” is responsible for the fee. That could imply that storefronts like Steam and the Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch storefronts are also on the hook. However, that may be a case of unclear phrasing.

Either way, it is unlikely that major software companies will be happy to pay this new runtime fee. This decision could lead to Microsoft, Sony, Apple, and Netflix pulling games from their subscription services. If the fee applies to Steam and console storefronts, Valve and console makers may drop Unity games altogether. While that seems unlikely, Unity developers may have cause to be worried.

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