Unity announced they would be changing their pricing plan again, this time to even more anger and backlash. This time, a fee will be charged for every download over a certain quota, even on the free tier.
Starting in January 2024, the company will begin charging what it’s calling a “Unity Runtime Fee” that is based on the number of users installing games built on the widely-used engine… The Runtime Fee will kick in after developers cross specific revenue and install thresholds that scale with different subscription plans. For those on Unity Personal or Unity Plus licenses, the fee will kick in after a project crosses both $200,000 in revenue over 12 months and 200,000 total installs.
This decision is actually so baffling, no developer I’ve seen responding to this has a positive word to say about it. Not to mention it seems ripe for exploitation and the lack of clarity in the methods of which they collect said install data is suspicious, how are you supposed to trust that their numbers are even correct?
Projects currently developing in Unity – which is a ton – won’t have the luxury to shift engines, but many have expressed decisions to move to another engine with their next project. It’s just not feasible for devs to trust that Unity keeps their interests in mind in the future.
Unity was supposed to be the “in” for indies, a lightweight engine with a host of helpful tools, features and online resources, a champion of the people, but now all it cares about is their stock price and locking down community tools and passion projects.
They will probably walk this back to some degree but I don’t think developers will trust their word on anything again.
Also @keydemographics Unreal is free up until you earn 1 million USD, at which point I believe they take 5% of the royalty. Good deal imo.
it’s awesome how they think they can pull this back like any other platform holder doing some horseshit and going “whoops haha” after, but there’s no walking this back. Your clients aren’t easily distracted consumers, nor are they content creators culturally locked to your ecosystem, they’re mostly professional developers and publishers refactoring your engine’s viability and aptness on a regular basis per-project, and now you have things like that Devolver tweet implying they’ll likely avoid pitches that include Unity from now on.
So yknow, good fuckin work there, i’m sure you can deal without one of the biggest indie publishers in the industry along with everybody else considering you a shady sleazy parasite. Your enterprise users and AI investments will definitely stick with you and make up the difference
Literally every short-term gain you can think of, even in the cruelest coldest of corporate ways, will vanish in months, a couple years at the most, to say nothing of the hella class actions already being drafted because “teehee we worded our EULA so we can do this” doesn’t actually hold up in court if you actively threaten to fuck over uh, an enormous fraction of an entire mass media industry arbitrarily, and fuck over the capital of other corps in particular. Almost like there’s a reason the CEO sold an eye-watering value in stocks just before this.
Christ, you thought pump-n-dumps peaked in the early 2020s with NFTs, check this action out.
I have to believe they thought that this would be something that their investors, if nobody else, would receive well. 2000 shares at a previous high of $39 a share is just shy of $80,000. A life changing amount for some and probably the equivalent of Riccitello getting his income tax back for the year (if he pays any at all). The share sell seems more like a hedge than dump imo.
Something that was mentioned to me is that this decision may have been an attempt to target something like Genshin Impact (built in Unity) and try to skim off some profit from the top of that product. But like… I don’t know, even if that’s true, which it very well may be, this is SUCH a horrible way of doing that? If you want to target large companies like MiHoYo or their products, there are definitely ways of doing that that does not involve this kind of scheme. Like this totally sweeps in a bunch of smaller fish and punishes them severely. I really don’t know what they thought would happen here. It’s just so unbelievably bad.
I haven’t looked at Unity’s financials because I think I would rather go to the dentist but if shareholders are really leaning on them to scare up a new revenue stream, double-dipping on their current clients is a quick and dirty solution to the problem that might mollify shareholders.
Reading the article, it looks like this was the final sell of a total of 50,610 shares sold off in the past year, which would total around $1.9m. Definitely a much bigger bag and more of what I was expecting when I saw that 2000 figure. I think you’d be right in calling this a dump, just one which Riccitello has clearly managed intelligently.
Now, are these shares just all RSUs given to him 5 years ago to encourage him to put the foot on the gas, and now they’ve all vested AND been held for a year so he doesn’t have to pay capital gains on short-terms assets? Who can say.
The article mentions that he hasn’t purchased any shares, but that’s not a smoking gun if those shares were all allocated under a compensation share scheme.
Who is actually going to use Unity after all this? This is essentially Unity getting one last squeeze of money out before no one ever uses them again. The engine market is more competitive then ever before right now it just seems completely self sabotaging. I can only think that some chuckle head did some sort of survey that showed studios wouldn’t switch due to needing to learn an entire new engine.
Nobody. The Cult of the Lamb devs are out. The Metal: Hellsinger devs are out. The Among Us devs are very upset. My understanding is that Unreal is substantially more complicated than Unity but Unreal is a super marketable set of skills. I would imagine publishers are probably willing to take a chance on Unreal.
Some of the indie developers I follow on Twitter are migrating to Godot, too. More accessible than Unreal, and for all that Godot has its own problems, I’m sure some devs are just eager to escape the big industry engines entirely after this.
Tim Sweeney’s still majority shareholder of Epic (54%, I think) and Fortnite prints money, so I think folks would be fairly safe switching to Unreal from a “not having the deal Darth Vadered on you” perspective, but I certainly wouldn’t be in a big hurry to cut deals with anybody right now.