It can be tough to keep track of why game dev tools maker Unity upset an entire industry this week, but we’re here to help. Their planned introduction of a new Unity Runtime Fee – effectively charging Unity users a new per-install $0.20 for each user – has taken it’s tens of thousands of users by surprise and gone down like a foul smell in a spacesuit.
Want to know everything? Here – all in one place – is all you need to know.
September 12th: Unity to charge for installs with new Unity Runtime Fee
With predictions as to the exact nature of Unity’s new Muse and Sentis AI systems and its implication for developers bubbling under, all the talk of an upcoming Unity announcement was decidedly upbeat. However when the news eventually broke on September 12th AI innovation was pretty far from the top line takeaway… Instead of making things easier it looked like Unity’s new pricing structure – and the introduction of the Unity Runtime Fee – would make things a whole lot harder for aspiring devs…
With opinion swirling and the reasons behind Unity’s move growing increasingly confused we caught the mood of the moment and put all the facts in one place.
And it didn’t take long for a tidal wave of social comment to tell it like it is. Devs and publishers big and small took to social media to vent their confusion and anger and ask the questions that needed to be answered.
Unity take to X (formerly Twitter) to take the sting out of the story, addressing users’ concerns and claiming that 90% of users won’t see any kind of change. However the issue of them charging an unavoidable new fee for users too embedded within their platform to make a change does still rankle in the comments…
It just gets murkier and weirder. It’s revealed that John Riccitiello, Unity’s CEO sold shares in the company a week before dropping its pricing bombshell. While the reasons for the sale are most likely unconnected and the amounts fairly trivial (2000 shares) the timing is, at best, absolutely thoughtless. And the bigger picture of the CEO selling off 50,610 shares in the company he runs across its last tumultuous 12 months (during which the share price dropped 80%) isn’t exactly ‘a good look’.
September 14th. Unity closes two offices following death threat
Now things are getting bizarre. Unity are forced to temporarily close two of their offices – one which was set to feature an appearance from Unity CEO John Riccitiello himself – after death threats are received. Icing on the cake? Rumors suggest that the perpetrator was one of Unity’s own employees.
In an unprecedented move, game developers big and small come together to pen a single agreed Collective Letter to Unity. And rather than simply being a plaintive request for a change of mind, this one has a sting in its tail… Developers including Azur Games, Voodoo, Homa, SayGames, CrazyLabs and more remove ironSource and Unity Ads from their titles, shutting off Unity’s ads money tap until plans for the introduction of Unity Runtime Fee are “immediately canceled”
Yup, the European Games Developer Federation wants a piece of Unity too, addressing the concerns of their members at the highest level to decry the reliance on Unity’s systems and blame existing EU legislation for a scenario in which an American software giant is able to effectively hold the European development community to ransom.
September 15th. The experts speak out.
Multiple big names from around the games world step in with their thoughts and hopes for the future. Including Game Maker’s Toolkit founder Mark Brown, Miniclip’s Sérgio Varanda and Lightheart Entertainment’s CEO Kalle Kaivola all asking all the right questions.
More Unity bombshell news as it breaks…