Game creation engine Buildbox has added a revenue share model to its pricing, prompting a backlash from users of the software. Depending on the tier you opt for, Buildbox could be taking up to 70% of your game's profits in less than two months.
What is the new Buildbox revenue sharing model?
Per a blog update from Buildbox CEO Jonathan Zweig, Buildbox will be making changes to its revenue sharing model starting from July 1st. From that point onward, all games created using the Free tier will work on a 70-30 revenue split, with Buildbox taking 70% of profits and the developer retaining 30%. If you're a Plus subscriber, that amount flips around and you get a 70% share, and if you're on the Pro plan, you'll get 90%. The company doesn't disclose its revenue share for the Free tier on its pricing page, choosing instead to simply list the revenue sharing amount as "Default".
Under this new model, if you were to create a game in Buildbox's Free tier and then list it on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, here's how the money breakdown would work. First, you'd have to give 15% of your profits (assuming you make less than a million on your game) to Apple or Google. After this, Buildbox would take 70% of what's left over. As an example, if you made $100, you'd give $15 to Apple or Google, then $59.50 to Buildbox. This would leave you with $25.50 of your first $100. It's worth noting here that for the Pro tier - the one that gives you the highest revenue share - you'll be paying $225 for a year of Classic and $500 for a year of 3D engine Buildbox 3. You can't pay for smaller increments. The Pro tier is a little more forgiving at $90 and $190, respectively, and you can pay monthly for that tier if you wish, although it has a higher 30% revenue share.
In addition, Buildbox says that the revenue share is based on your plan at the time your game gets 1000 ad impressions. At that point, you can't upgrade and receive a higher revenue share. If you downgrade, however, you will be downgraded to a lower revenue share. For the sake of comparison, here are the rates for a few Buildbox alternatives. Unity doesn't ask for a revenue share at all, and Epic's Unreal Engine asks for 5%, but only after a game has made a million dollars in revenue. Game Maker also doesn't require a revenue share, although you do need to pay a premium when porting to other platforms. Godot is a free, open-source engine which makes no mention of royalty payments on its FAQ page.
Why has Buildbox made this change?
In the aforementioned Buildbox blog post, Zweig says the change has been made in order for Buildbox to ensure it is "making enough money to stay in business". The company says it's planning to put all of the revenue it earns back into its products. In particular, Zweig says revenue will be invested in the Buildbox asset store, the new ad monetization solution (which Zweig says will be "easier to use than anything we've offered before"), and something called "Buildbox World". Zweig says the company will be sharing more info on Buildbox World soon.
It's worth noting that Zweig says these changes won't affect any Buildbox game exported before July 1st this year. Even if you update your game in any way, as long as it was exported prior to July 1st, you'll still get 100% of the revenue from them. However, if you create and export a game after this date, you'll be subject to the new revenue share tiers. As you might imagine, these terms have not met with a positive reception from members of the Buildbox community. Buildbox's competitor Construct is even currently offering six months for free if you're a Buildbox customer who's unhappy with the new revenue models. We've reached out to Buildbox for clarification and comment on this story, and we'll bring you more as soon as we get it.
How do you feel about these new revenue tiers? Let us know in the comments below!