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Now that Unity have seemingly settled on a new pricing structure it is time to look at the pricing differences between Unreal Engine and Unity. We will run through 5 different scenarios describing game development studios of different sizes.

First a quick overview of pricing structures. For game development projects Unreal Engine has two plans, a 5% royalty on revenue over $1M USD and a custom negotiated license. On the Unity front, there is a free tier available, then paid per seat Pro and Enterprise licenses as well as the newly added runtime fee. To calculate the runtime fee eligibility and total payment amounts there is now a fee calculator available.

Scenario 1

Single developer, under $200,000 USD in revenue.

Unreal: $0

Unity: $0

Scenario 2

Small team of 6 developing PC title. $1.5M revenue on $100,000 units shipped, developed over 2 years.

Unreal: 5% of 500,000 = $25,000

Unity: 6 Copies of Pro x 2 years: $2,048 x 2 x 6 = $24,480 + 0 run-time fee == $24,480

Scenario 3

Small team of 6 developing mobile title. $1.5M revenue on 10M ‘engagements’, developed over 2 years.

Unreal: 5% of 500,000 = $25,000

Unity: 6 copies of Pro x 2 years: $2,048 x 2 x 6 = $24,480 + (2.5% runtime fee of $3,125 / month = $37,500 = $61,980

Scenario 4

Medium sized team, developing PC title, 15M revenue on 1M shipped, developed over a period of 3 years:

Unreal: 5% of 15M = $750,000

EDIT – This was a mistake, didn’t take into account first 1M free revenue, the result should be:

Unreal: 5% of 14M = $700,000

Unity: 30 copies of Pro x 3 years = $183,600 + 9,000 runtime fee x 12 = $108,000 = $291,600

Scenario 5

The Genshin Impact type runaway success, 200 developers, 4 years development time, 50M engagements and $500M revenue:

Unreal: 5% of 500M = $25,000,000 (although most likely would move to custom license)

EDIT – Same mistake as scenario 4

Unreal: 5% of 499M = $24,950,000 (although most likely would move to custom license)

Unity: 200 copies of Pro and $2,040 x 4 = $1,632,000 + $110,833 runtime fee x 12 = $1,329,996 = $2,961,996

The interesting conclusion from the exercise is that in most scenarios, Unity remains a cheaper option than Unreal Engine, although interestingly enough, the demographic hit the hardest by Unity are smaller successful mobile developers, which make up the bulk of successful Unity developers. You can learn more about Unreal vs Unity price comparisons and how the numbers are calculated in the video below.

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