It hasn’t even been a week since Unity’s announcement of a change to its developer pricing policyand the commotion and the criticism generated have led them, it seems, to think better. Late on Sunday, the company announced through its social networks changes to its decision to start charging in January a percentage of each of the installations of games developed with its engine from a certain number of installations. In addition to apologizing.
Since last Tuesday, when the changes that Unity planned to apply were made public, until now, there has been criticism, more or less vehement, from independent developers and video game creation studios of all sizes. Also the announcements of withdrawal of titles created with Unity, because in addition the proposed changes had retroactive effect. All while the messages between developers looking for other engines and exploring their possibilities multiply. This is what is happening with the open source engine Godot, the great beneficiary of the scandal.
The criticism did not stop there, but Unity’s management even decided to temporarily close two of its offices in the United States after receiving death threats, which they considered credible. Hours after announcing this closure, it was learned that its author had been arrested: a company employee through social networks, possibly upset by the changes.
Meanwhile, at Unity they claim to have heard the criticism, and they apologize «for the confusion and concern caused by the installation fee we announced on Tuesday«. They also point out that they are “listening, talking to our team members, our community, our customers and our partners, and we will make policy changes. We will share an update in a couple of days«. We will therefore have to wait a few days to see what they will propose to the community of developers who, in large part, no longer trust them and have announced their departure to other platforms.
We have heard you. We apologize for the confusion and angst the runtime fee policy we announced on Tuesday caused. We are listening, talking to our team members, community, customers, and partners, and will be making changes to the policy. We will share an update in a couple of…
—Unity (@unity) September 17, 2023
When less than two hours had passed since its publication, which in Europe arrived close to midnight, Unity’s message exceeded one million views and comments about it have been occurring since yesterday. Because Unity’s clarifications over the past week have not been enough. Directly, studios from all countries have announced their abandonment of the platform for future developments.
We have been faithful defenders of Unity for +10 years but we have been turning our noses up for some time with their latest decisions and this was the last straw. We are going to switch to Godot with the project that we currently have in development, bibah the open source ????
— Valeria Castro (@Noval33t) September 13, 2023
Among those who have announced their abandonment of Unity is the Rust 2 development studio, Facepunch Studios. The developers of the very popular Among Usdeveloped from Unity, are also considering withdrawing the game for a while due to this change, according to IGN.
Buy Cult of the Lamb now, cause we’re deleting it on Jan 1st. ? https://t.co/nSWg9DP0sh
—Cult of the Lamb? ? (@cultofthelamb) September 12, 2023
Several developers and studios also began to take action against the company. Thus, a group of developers from 19 companies, most of them from Europe and dedicated mainly to the development of mobile games, signed an open letter in which they ask Unity to reverse its change in pricing model.
But also, in the text they assure that «As an immediate measure of action, our collective of game development companies is forced to disable monetization of all IronSource and Unity Ads advertising in our projects until these changes are reconsidered«.
Some of the signatory companies are Voodoo.io, Azur Games and SayGames. Each of these three has more than 100 games with billions of downloads in total. In all of them, in addition to those of the rest of the signatories, Unity will be prevented from getting more money.
The signatories of the letter are also asking other studios to join both their letter and their measures: «If you share what we feel, we ask you to join us. Disable Unity monetization until a fair and equitable solution is found«.
Everything indicates, given the organized commotion, that Even if Unity decides to back down, the damage to the company has already been done. Very few developers, if any, will trust them again. It may be the beginning of the end for a platform that has seen the birth and growth of several of the main games released this year, and the time for platforms like Godot or Unreal to welcome their large group of dissatisfied customers.