Unity is one of the most popular engines/platforms used by games developers. However, the new fees that it introduced this week are causing an almighty hoo-ha in development circles – and could be an issue for music companies too.

From the start of January 2024, there will be a ‘Unity Runtime Fee’ that will charge developers each time a game made using Unity is downloaded.

The fee will only be levied once games reach certain milestones depending on which version of Unity their developers used: $200k of revenues in the last 12 months and at least 200k lifetime installs for its lower tiers, and $1m / 1m respectively for its higher tiers.

Games developers have been criticising the move already (a search for ‘Unity’ on Twitter will give you a sense of their grievances).

But here’s the music angle: in recent years, a number of music labels have hired Unity developers or worked with Unity developers on projects for artists. Will the economics of these projects suddenly look difficult?

A question in Unity’s FAQ about how ‘non-gaming applications’ are impacted by the new fee notes that “The Unity Runtime fee does not apply to our film, gambling, or education subscription plans at this time”.

Music? Unclear. But the uncertainty could be good news for rival Epic Games, and its Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN) ecosystem, which is one potential alternative.

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