Unity, a company that makes a suite of video game development tools, has recently sparked a major controversy in the industry after announcing changes to its pricing model. Under the new model, Unity plans to charge developers on a per-install basis after certain revenue and game download thresholds are met.
Sentiment regarding the new pricing has been largely negative, with reports of death threats to the company as developers and video game professionals respond on social media with calls for Unity to reconsider since the changes could threaten the already thin profits of indie games. Developers are concerned that Unity has implemented these changes unilaterally, violating trust while offering virtually no time for developers to prepare for the potential costs. Many developers have spoken out against the change, urging Unity to retract the new model or risk indie developers porting their games to other engines.
Unity has offered some clarifications and retractions to the new pricing, but some developer concerns, like how Unity intends to track valid installations and separate them from exempted installations, remain unaddressed.
Sep 25, 2023
After Unity announced, then modified, then reannounced its new runtime fee program, the video game development community wanted to know how and why this disastrous rollout happened. In addition to the letter Unity Create president Marc Whitten published on Friday, he also held a live fireside chat on YouTube in which he addressed some of the community’s biggest questions and concerns.Read Article >
One of the first things Whitten did, both in his letter and during the chat, was offer an apology.
Unity is undergoing yet another layoff, and this time it’s going to affect about 25 percent of its entire workforce, or around 1,800 employees. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company, which makes the popular game engine Unity, said it’s making the cuts “as it restructures and refocuses on its core business, and to position itself for long-term and profitable growth.”Read Article >
Unity has been through several rounds of layoffs within the past year, with the most recent one affecting 265 workers last November. However, it’s still not clear whether Unity is cutting 1,800 additional workers on top of the layoffs it announced last year. We’ve reached out to Unity for clarification.
Nov 28, 2023Unity confirms layoffs.
Unity said in its Q3 earnings that it would “likely” be doing layoffs, and now the company officially plans to cut 265 jobs, according to Reuters. Unity also plans to close offices in “approximately” 14 locations, per an SEC filing.
Nov 9, 2023
In its Q3 earnings report published Thursday, game development software company Unity announced that it will “likely” be implementing layoffs as part of broader cost saving measures.Read Article >
In the report, the company says it is assessing its product portfolio “to focus on those products that are most valuable to our customers” and is “evaluating the right cost structure that aligns with the more focused portfolio.” It plans to make changes during the fourth quarter, and they will “likely include discontinuing certain product offerings, reducing our workforce, and reducing our office footprint.” The company expects to complete its changes before the end of Q1 2024.
Oct 10, 2023
Unity’s CEO is out, but that may not matter for game developers frustrated with the company.Read Article >
John Riccitiello has announced he is retiring from his role as the CEO of beleaguered game engine software company Unity. Riccitiello, who previously held the top job at Electronic Arts when it was voted the worst company in America and had some controversial ideas about game monetization, will retire as CEO effective immediately but remain as a Unity employee until April 2024.
Oct 9, 2023
Unity, the company behind the game development engine of the same name, has just announced that its president, CEO, and chairman John Riccitiello “will retire” effective immediately.Read Article >
“The Board will initiate a comprehensive search process, with the assistance of a leading executive search firm, to identify a permanent CEO,” reads the press release, adding that James Whitehurst will step in as interim CEO, president, and board member. “Mr. Riccitiello will continue to advise Unity to ensure a smooth transition.”
Sep 22, 2023Read Article >
The new plan is a drastic departure from what was initially announced. Now, users on the Unity Personal subscription plan will not be charged the new fee, and Unity will increase the revenue cap on games made with that plan to $200,000.
- Ash breaks down why Unity devs are mad.
We’ve literally just now gotten word that Unity has changed its disastrous new pricing model after developers' protests, which you can read about from Ash Parrish here.
Sep 18, 2023
Unity plans to change its forthcoming pay-per-install program following widespread criticism from game developers.Read Article >
“We apologize for the confusion and angst the runtime fee policy we announced on Tuesday caused,” Unity posted on X (formerly Twitter). “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.”
Sep 18, 2023Now Unity says it’s changing the new pricing policy.
After nearly a week of indie developers tearing down Unity’s new pricing policy that was set to take effect on January 1st, the company now says, “We have heard you.” Unity’s pricing scheme that was set to take effect in 2024 would have established a convoluted setup charging game makers for downloads and installations.
Unity didn’t hint at what the changes are or reference the protest that saw some prominent devs disable its ad monetization tools, only saying it will release the details “in a couple of days.
Sep 15, 2023
The game developers affected by Unity’s new pricing model are striking back. A collective of developers across 19 companies, mostly based in Europe and mostly developing mobile games, has put out an open letter urging Unity to reverse course on its recently announced pricing model changes. The letter contains some of the same sentiments expressed by other developers this week but with one big twist.Read Article >
“As a course of immediate action, our collective of game development companies is forced to turn off all IronSource and Unity Ads monetization across our projects until these changes are reconsidered,” the letter read.
Earlier this week, Unity, the company that makes the Unity video game engine popular with indie developers, announced that it was changing its pricing model. The changes included a pricing scheme that sought to charge developers on a per-install basis for games that met specific download and revenue thresholds.Read Article >
Unity wanted to charge developers for game installs without seemingly taking into account the many reasons a game might be installed without being purchased. Unity’s new model could theoretically result in situations where developers would be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees without the revenue to pay for it.
The Unity pricing debacle has taken an unfortunate, dangerous turn. In a new report from Bloomberg, the company has reportedly canceled a town hall meeting due to what the publication called credible death threats. According to Bloomberg, Unity CEO John Riccitiello was set to address employees Thursday morning, but the companywide meeting was canceled and two of Unity’s offices were closed because of the alleged threats.Read Article >
Earlier this week, Unity, makers of a video game engine popular among indie developers, announced that it was making changes to its pricing model. In addition to charging yearly subscription fees, Unity is planning to implement a pay-per-install pricing scheme, charging developers each time a game is installed on a device once that game has met specific download and revenue thresholds.
Sep 14, 2023“We have never made a public statement before. That is how badly you fucked up.”
Mega Crit, developers of Slay the Spire — a rogue deckbuilder that has a permanent spot on my Steam Deck — has weighed in on the Unity situation with a clear, concise, and seemingly justified ultimatum. The quote is one for the ages, but the whole statement is great.
Sep 12, 2023
Popular video game engine Unity is making big changes to its pricing structure that’s causing confusion and anger among developers. On Tuesday, Unity announced that on January 1st, 2024, it would be implementing a pay-per-download pricing scheme that would charge developers a flat fee any time a game using Unity software is installed.Read Article >
“We are introducing a Unity Runtime Fee that is based upon each time a qualifying game is downloaded by an end user,” the company shared on its blog. “We chose this because each time a game is downloaded, the Unity Runtime is also installed. Also we believe that an initial install-based fee allows creators to keep the ongoing financial gains from player engagement, unlike a revenue share.”