A group of developers is fighting back against Unity’s plan to charge for game installs by cutting off the ad and monetisation revenue they would have been sending to the engine provider.
So far 16 studios have switched off the Unity Ads and IronSource SDKs in all their titles, and say they will not restore them until the new conditions behind the few are reconsidered, MobileGamer.biz reports.
The studios within the group includes: Azur Games, Voodoo, Homa, Century Games, SayGames, CrazyLabs, Original Games, Ducky, Burny Games, Inspired Square, Geisha Tokyo, Tatsumaki Games, Kayac, New Story, Playgendary, and Supercent.
This collective has also posted an open letter calling for other developers to do the same, and a form where companies can pledge their support.
Earlier this week Unity announced that, as of January 1, 2024, it will charge a fee every time a Unity-built game is installed on an end user’s device.
In its FAQs, Unity gave the example, a developer signed to Unity Pro (which would pay lower fees) and had reached one million downloads and $1 million in yearly revenue. If such a studio reached 300,000 installs in one month (100,000 of which from emerging markets, which also lowers the fee), that company would be charged $23,500.
“With one stroke of the pen, [Unity has] put hundreds of studios at risk, all without consultation or dialogue”
The move was met by immediate backlash, with complaints that studios can’t control or predict monthly installs and fears that these fees could cripple companies.
Unity attempted to clarify its plans, emphasising that reinstalls on the same device, game demos, and charity bundles would be exempt, and that the thresholds mean the fees will affect an estimated 10% of developers.
These statements have done little to address the concerns of outraged developers, as evidenced by this collective’s boycott.
In its open letter, the group says Unity’s claim the Runtime Fee will only affect 10% of studios is “not just misleading, it’s patently false.”
“We strongly oppose this move, which disregards the unique challenges and complexities of our industry,” the group wrote.
“While we’ve always viewed our work as a collaborative effort, this decision blindsided us. With one stroke of the pen, you’ve put hundreds of studios at risk, all without consultation or dialogue.
“To put it in relatable terms—what if automakers suddenly decided to charge us for every mile driven on the car that you bought a year ago? The impact on consumers and the industry at large would be seismic.”
It later added: “The Runtime Fee is an unacceptable shift in our partnership with Unity that needs to be immediately cancelled.”
Unity merged with monetisation tools provider IronSource in July 2022 – another move that met with developer backlash due to its first product being classed as malware.
Unity later claimed to GamesIndustry.biz that this was due to “bad actors” who abused IronSource’s platform.
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