Last week, Unity dropped a developer bombshell with a new runtime fee for its game engine that would be charged every time a title is installed – which one developer summed up as an “absolutely disastrous decision”. Now the company appears to be backtracking, promising policy changes that will be revealed soon.
“We hear you. We apologize for the confusion and anxiety caused by the per-run policy we announced on Tuesday,” the company said in a statement. contribution to X. “We’re listening, talking to our team members, community, customers, and partners, and we’ll be making policy changes. We’ll share an update in a few days. Thank you for your honest and critical feedback.”
We heard you. We apologize for the confusion and anxiety caused by the run fee policy we announced on Tuesday. We’re listening, talking to our team members, community, customers and partners, and we’ll be making policy changes. We will share the update in a few…
— Unity (@unity) September 17, 2023
News of the fee structure caused an uproar in the developer community, which quickly closed positions against Unity. “We’ve never made a public statement before. You behaved so badly,” he wrote Kill the tower dev Meta Crit. “There’s no way Unity talked to a single developer before launch,” added Rami Ismail. In protest, many developers turned off Unity ads, and others considered a class action.
Unity announced the changes after a difficult few years, when Apple’s privacy change cut off much of its advertising revenue. Last year, the company’s stock price plunged and the company began layoffs that affected 8 percent of its workforce, or 600 employees. It also had controversy surrounding CEO John Riccitiello after he called out game developers not considering monetization.f—ing idiots.”
After the initial uproar, Unity tried to clarify its policies, saying it would only charge for initial installs, charities would be exempt, and demos wouldn’t count. Owners of subscription services would have to pay the fee, not developers.
However, some developers who were committed to Unity and its previous pricing structure said they are still reeling. “I’ve put years and years of work into it. I’ve done it on a simple seat license that I’m happy to pay for. Now that I’m close to release, they’ve brought me something new. Not a price increase (but) a fundamental change in the way we do business. I have no options, I can’t go back, I can only bend over and (pay),” he wrote Falconer dev Tomáš Sala.
It remains to be seen whether Unity’s changes will appease developers. “Be honest, direct, reliable. We need stability,” one developer wrote in response to the company’s post.