Other Unity Game Engine Endangers Itself

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Unity has decided to start charging game developers each time a user installs a qualifying game. The criteria that a game has to meet to trigger the new Unity Runtime Fee are as follows: a revenue of $200,000 over a 12-month period and 200,000 installs over its lifetime. This is for the Unity Personal and Plus membership tiers. If these criteria are met, developers will have to cough up $0.20 for each install. Unity Pro and Enterprise members will have to meet a threshold of $1,000,000 in revenue and 1,000,000 installs over a 12-month period to trigger the Unity Runtime Fee, but will pay reduced rates compared to smaller developers; as little as $0.01 per install if the game has over 1,000,001 installs per month. These changes come in to effect on January 1, 2024.

One of the biggest issues with this change to Unity's pricing structure is that it applies to all games, even those that were released years ago. Developers who have existing games running on Unity have no way of opting out of the new Terms of Service. According to the Unity Runtime Fee FAQ page, this doesn't mean that developers will have to pay for installs that happen before January 1, 2024. However, it will use historical install data to determine whether the game meets the threshold or not. Unity has also had numerous layoffs in recent history, with Unity CEO John Riccitiello saying that this was done in a bid to set the company up for higher growth.

Much of the backlash at the Unity Runtime Fee has been aimed directly at Unity boss Riccitiello who once insulted game developers who do not monetize their games with microtransactions. The new Unity pricing structure aligns well with Riccitiello's belief that games need to create an "engagement loop" to drive microtransactions.

At this time, Unity based developers are less than pleased....
 
They are getting greedy. Engine is just so-so too.
 
I imagine a lot of mobile and PC game makers will not be happy with Unity charging $0.20 for each install because many gamers own more than one mobile device, console, and PC, so many players may cause the game maker to be charge an extra few dollars if their game is installed on many devices which the same gamer owns.
 
While I do think intimidation WAS/IS a good idea, sending a death threat of any kind (even over a DEPRAVED policy like that) is going WAY TOO FAR!!!! There are better ways to intimidate the ba****ds into undoing their... thing...
 
They said they will update the policy:

"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 days. Thank you for your honest and critical feedback."
 
They need to roll a critical 20 to fix it lol
 
On one hand I can understand the backlash. No one like a to have the goalposts changed without warning. Especially when this would be retrospective.

On the other hand is it not up to Unity how they run their business? Unity has the largest market share of all major game engines (38%) and they are entitled to make money from their engine. Naturally, developers are entitled to walk and go elsewhere.

Were the suggested changes that punitive? At the upper end of the scale you’re looking at 20 cents per initial install. That’s insignificant even for a $10 game (2%). And the income would go towards improving the engine allows even better games to be made.

Appreciate if you’re f2p or a mobile developer this additional charge would sting; but with monetisation it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Often think that gamers think everything is free. Sadly there are costs and someone has to pay.
 
They posted this:

To our community:


I’m Marc Whitten, and I lead Unity Create which includes the Unity engine and editor teams.

I want to start with this: I am sorry.

We should have spoken with more of you and we should have incorporated more of your feedback before announcing our new Runtime Fee policy. Our goal with this policy is to ensure we can continue to support you today and tomorrow, and keep deeply investing in our game engine.

You are what makes Unity great, and we know we need to listen, and work hard to earn your trust. We have heard your concerns, and we are making changes in the policy we announced to address them.

Our Unity Personal plan will remain free and there will be no Runtime Fee for games built on Unity Personal. We will be increasing the cap from $100,000 to $200,000 and we will remove the requirement to use the Made with Unity splash screen.

No game with less than $1 million in trailing 12-month revenue will be subject to the fee.

For those creators on Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise, we are also making changes based on your feedback.

The Runtime Fee policy will only apply beginning with the next LTS version of Unity shipping in 2024 and beyond. Your games that are currently shipped and the projects you are currently working on will not be included – unless you choose to upgrade them to this new version of Unity.

We will make sure that you can stay on the terms applicable for the version of Unity editor you are using – as long as you keep using that version.

For games that are subject to the runtime fee, we are giving you a choice of either a 2.5% revenue share or the calculated amount based on the number of new people engaging with your game each month. Both of these numbers are self-reported from data you already have available. You will always be billed the lesser amount.

We want to continue to build the best engine for creators. We truly love this industry and you are the reason why.

I’d like to invite you to join me for a live fireside chat hosted by Jason Weimann today at 4:00 pm ET/1:00 pm PT, where I will do my best to answer your questions. In the meantime, here are some more details.*

Thank you for caring as deeply as you do, and thank you for giving us hard feedback.

Marc Whitten
 
CEO stepping down, read from nintendolife:

In the wake of Unity's highly controversial policy regarding runtime fees, which it has now altered based on community backlash, its CEO and President John Riccitiello has now stepped down. In addition, he has also stepped down from his position on the board of directors as chairman.

As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, the change is effective immediately with James M. Whitehurst stepping up as the interim CEO and President while the firm seeks out a permanent replacement. Roelof Botha, the lead independent Unity board director, has also been appointed chairman.

Here's what Whitehurst had to say regarding the situation:

"I am confident that Unity is well-positioned to continue enhancing its platform, strengthening its community of customers, developers, and partners, and focusing on its growth and profitability goals. I look forward to working closely with the board and our talented global team to execute on our strategy, and I anticipate a seamless transition."
Meanwhile, Riccitiello himself has commented on his departure, stating his gratitude for his time spent at the firm for the better part of a decade:

“It’s been a privilege to lead Unity for nearly a decade and serve our employees, customers, developers and partners, all of whom have been instrumental to the Company’s growth. I look forward to supporting Unity through this transition and following the Company’s future success.”
Unity's recent policy change, which effectively charges developers a fee for each time a game utilising the engine is installed, was met with harsh criticism from developers, with some even stating their intention to move away from the Unity engine entirely for future projects. This eventually led to multiple apologies from Unity and an overhaul of its pricing structure.

Of course, the timing of Ricitiello's departure could well be entirely coincidental; he has been serving in the same role since 2014, after all. However, there is generally a period of transition when someone in such a high position opts to leave, and the abrupt nature of this change in leadership perhaps indicates a link to Unity's recent policy debacle.
 
Will this change Unity? Yes. Will things be better for people wanting to make games with it? Unlikely but possible.
 
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