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Pokémon GO’s future at stake, how Unity’s new pricing could cost Niantic millions

Trainers, today we’re diving into some news that has the potential to shake up the world of Pokémon GO. If you’re wondering how a game engine can impact your Pokémon GO experience, you’re in the right place. Unity, the game engine behind Pokémon GO, is making some significant changes to its licensing model, and this could have ripple effects on the game we all love.

For those who aren’t familiar, Unity is a game development engine that allows for the creation of 2D and 3D games across various platforms. Be it Windows, Mac, Linux, or mobile devices, Unity’s got you covered. It boasts a slew of features like a visual editor, asset management, and version control, making game development more accessible than ever. It’s no wonder that it’s the engine behind popular games like Angry Birds 2, Temple Run, and of course, Pokémon GO.

The big news? Unity is shifting from a plain monthly license cost to a per-game install fee. This change affects any game developed using Unity, and Niantic, the company behind Pokémon GO, has until January 1, 2024, to either transition to a different game engine or start paying these new fees.

Let’s talk numbers. The new model could charge as much as 20 cents per install per month, translating to a whopping $20 million based solely on Google Play Store installs. The likely range is between 1 to 6 cents per install per month, which could still set Niantic back around $1 million a month.

What gets interesting here is the uninstall-reinstall scenario. If you’re one of those players who’ve taken to uninstalling and reinstalling the game as a fix for various issues, this could mean an additional cost for Niantic. So, the common recommendation of “just reinstall the game” could actually start costing the company money.

Well, the answer isn’t straightforward. On the one hand, this cost could incentivize Niantic to optimize the game better, minimizing the need for reinstalls. On the other hand, these costs could be passed on to players in the form of in-app purchases or even subscription models.

The good news is Niantic has some time to figure things out. They’ve successfully transitioned their game engine for Ingress in the past, which might suggest a feasible pathway for Pokémon GO as well.

Unity’s new licensing model is undoubtedly a game-changer, and it’ll be fascinating to see how Niantic adapts. Whether it’s shifting to a new engine or optimizing the current one, these changes could have a lasting impact on how we play Pokémon GO.

So, Trainers, what are your thoughts on these developments? Sound off in the comments below and let’s get the discussion rolling.

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Dejan Kacurov

Hey there, I'm Dejan! Let me take you through my life, where family, gaming, and CrossFit play prominent roles. Since day one, I've been surrounded by the love and support of my family. Growing up, every moment spent with my parents and siblings was filled with warmth and laughter, creating memories I hold dear. As a parent now, I've experienced a whole new level of love and responsibility. My two wonderful kids bring endless joy and a sense of purpose to my life. In the digital realm, I found my passion - gaming. Whether I'm conquering the world of Apex Legends or embarking on adventures in Pokemon Go, gaming fuels my sense of adventure and competition. Beyond the virtual world, I discovered the exhilaration of CrossFit. The challenging workouts, camaraderie with fellow fitness enthusiasts, and constant drive to push my limits have become an integral part of my life. Balancing family time, gaming, and CrossFit has been a journey of self-discovery. Each passion complements the other, bringing fulfillment and joy to my daily routine.


  1. I hate these changes to Unity licensing as much as the next person but you aren’t understanding how the model actually works. Also there is a licensing tier that is not affected by the Unity Runtime Fee which is Industry. Niantic is either already using that or Enterprise. If they are using Enterprise then they are likely to be subjected to the fee, but the way it works is only if you go over the thresholds, both at the same time. Seeing as it is PoGO we are talking about here it is likely that they are making more than 1 million in the last 12 months off POGO, the lifetime downloads will only start counting from 0 at the beginning of the new year and only new installs will count. Since they merged with ironsource they probably have some kind of device fingerprinting meaning the reinstall on the same device won’t add to the total installs. And it’s a monthly check, not that they are going to charge a recurring monthly fee. So if in the first month of 2024 they get over 1 million downloads, which I don’t think will be possible since they probably already have the majority of their player base acquired, they would only pay 12.5 cents per install past the first million and less and less as it goes up per new install. That is only the case if they are making over 1 million dollars in the last 12 months via the game.

    They are probably fine but it will be slightly more than before. However at the amounts of money they are making it’s likely to feel like a rounding error. That’s assuming a lot of things, including that they are already not on the tier of licensing that isn’t affected by the fee at all.

    The absolute sketchiest part of this is how will they track installs. The only way I can see is what most people consider Spyware. That is what I hate most about this change.

  2. You’re wrong about how this works, they already said reinstalling want trigger additional fees. You really should do more research before writing on article. I can’t believe anything else you said because I already know you got some basic facts wrong, so what else did you get wrong?

    1. Can you blame the article this change was released and communicated terribly.

      So many open ended questions.

      Primary concern is how to dispute or verify the install count claim. Just gotta blindly trust Unity on that it seems.

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