Unity, makers of the popular game engine, announced earlier this week it’s getting ready to levy some pretty significant fees on developers, causing many to rethink whether it makes more sense to actually go with the main competition, Unreal Engine from Epic Games. It seems Epic isn’t wasting any time to help transition those creating projects for Apple Vision Pro.
According to Victor Lerp, Unreal Engine XR Product Specialist at Epic Games, the company is now “exploring native Unreal Engine support for Apple Vision Pro,” the upcoming mixed reality headset due to launch in early 2024.
Lerp says it’s still early days though, noting that it’s “too early for us to share details on the extent of support or timelines.”
Lerp posted the statement on Unreal Engine’s XR development forum. You can read it in full below, courtesy of Alex Coulombe, CEO of the XR creative studio Agile Lens:
— Alex Coulombe #UnrealFest (@iBrews) September 13, 2023
During Vision Pro’s unveiling at WWDC in June, Apple prominently showcased native Unity support in its upcoming XR operating system, visionOS. Unity began offering beta access to its visionOS-supported engine shortly afterwards, making it feel like something of a ‘bait and switch’ for developers already creating new games, or porting existing titles to Vision Pro.
As explained by Axios, Unity’s new plan will require users of its free tier of development services to pay the company $0.20 per installation once their game hits thresholds of both 200,000 downloads and earns $200,000 in revenue. Subscribers to Unity Pro, which costs $2,000 a year, have a different fee structure that scales downwards in proportion to the number of installs. What constitutes an ‘install’ is still fairly nebulous at this point despite follow-up clarifications from Unity. Whatever the case, the change is set to go into effect starting on January 1st, 2024.
In the meantime, the proposed Unity price increase has caused many small to medium-size teams to reflect on whether to make the switch to the admittedly more complicated Unreal Engine, or pursue other game engines entirely. A majority of XR game studios fit into that category, which (among many other scenarios) could hobble teams as they look to replicate free-to-play success stories like Gorilla Tag, which generated over $26 million in revenue when it hit the Quest Store late last year.