Also Valve, Epic, Apple, and any other platform that distributes Unity games.
Logo for Unity.

If you thought Unity lost their damn minds earlier this week, hold onto your butts because it got worse. Unity now says that platform holders such as Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will be the ones who have to pick up the tab and pay that new runtime fee on behalf of developers.

This information comes from an updated FAQ that Unity shared on their website. The FAQ says that the Unity runtime fee will be "charged to the entity that distributes the runtime." This means that Unity games sold on PlayStation will force Sony to cover that added cost. The same thing with Xbox and Switch forcing Microsoft and Nintendo to pay those fees respectively.

Not only that, but it would also presumably mean that other companies will also be "forced" to pay this fee if they distribute Unity games on their platforms. That is, Apple would have to pay for Unity games sold on the App Store. Google would have to pay for Play Store titles, Valve for Unity games sold and installed through Steam, Epic for Unity titles installed on Epic Games Store, and the list goes on.

Of course, this all probably comes as a surprise to these companies. None of the platform holders have indicated that they were even aware of this change in policy at Unity. It's even less clear if they are willing to comply with these policy changes and additional fees.

Unity's announcement of these per install fees spurred tons of backlash since being revealed on Tuesday of this week. Several developers have already said that they will switch game engines should these new fees be implemented. Still more have called into question how this will impact games offered through services like Game Pass. Of course, with Unity trying to push this fee onto the platform holders, it would be a safe assumption that Microsoft would be on the hook for charges amassed for every Game Pass install of Unity titles.

Unity has claimed that they will not apply this runtime fee to games installed from charity bundles. Unity also says that they will not apply this fee for most game demos or betas. Unity has claimed that they have fraud detection tools that should also mitigate issues from installs of pirated versions of Unity releases. How Unity will be able to differentiate from retail installs vs charity bundle installs was not clarified. It's very much comes across like a "just trust us, bro" sort of system.

With these new fees blindsiding everyone, I really cannot imagine there's very much trust left in Unity from either developers or platform holders.