At this point, you’ve probably already heard the gist of it: Unity introduced a policy last week that affects a large number of their developers, making them pay for each time someone installs their games, as well as removing Unity Pro and forcing everyone to be online when using it.
Unity has decided to make a statement that they’re making changes to the policy, and if you guessed it was vague corporate nonsense, you’d be right.
Today, Unity said they apologize for the “confusion and angst” surrounding their new policy. They said they’re listening, talking to the team, community, customers, and partners to make changes, and will update everyone in a couple of days.
This means they’re probably not rolling back their policies but changing them ever so slightly to try and get people to quiet down.
What Led to this Statement?
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…
— Unity (@unity) September 17, 2023
Over the past few weeks, there have been quite many interesting developments at Unity headquarters. First and foremost, John Riccitiello had come to the Unity offices to do a planned town hall, only to tell the team that a credible death threat was placed upon them, closing two offices temporarily, with many employees choosing to stay home after.
This death threat was completely uncredited, with no source being cited other than Riccitiello himself, so you can choose to interpret that however you wish.
Given that the new policy has already broken the trust of so many developers, I prefer to interpret that as a get-out-of-jail-free card rather than an actual threat being taken seriously.
Ask him how many games he’s made.
I do this because it’s my calling. He is a suit who wants to take as much money from you as he can@johnriccitiello is the definition of everything that is wrong with the video game industry
— Redigit🌳 (@Demilogic) September 16, 2023
As for what caused the statement, ironically enough, Unity has lived up to its namesake, causing complete unity against them in the gaming community.
I have not seen a single person from gamer to game developer defend or praise this change, and the widespread consensus is that even if they roll back this change, they’ve already broken everyone’s trust, and no one will want to use their engine.
This has led to almost every developer under the sun criticizing Unity and its CEO to no end, including Terraria developer Redigit making his statement and standing beside everyone affected by this change, despite Terraria not even being made in Unity.
This change affects everyone because it sets a dangerous precedent for the future, and pushing back on it now is the way to tell big corporations that trying to squeeze every penny from their users like this will not work.
No one should ever trust you. Even if you revert every change aspiring developers should still switch to different options.
You guys are a cancer and deserve to die out. https://t.co/Gw4wCAx2Zq
— Mutahar (@OrdinaryGamers) September 18, 2023
This pushback caused them to make this vague corporate statement, which isn’t helping. If you want a really in-depth blog post about how bad this situation is, I’d recommend reading this one from Tom Francis.
As for what “community and customers” they’re listening to, I don’t know, but if I were them, I’d be trying to roll back the changes as soon as possible. Potentially, introducing a new policy that is even better for developers would really be the only way people will ever touch Unity again.
If you want more updates on the Unity situation or are a big fan of the games made in it, here are some great articles to check out on Indie Game Culture.