Hundreds of Game Developers Protest Unity Fees
On September 15, 2023, hundreds of game creators joined a strike of Unity Technologies’ advertising network to protest the company’s controversial changes to its game engine license model. Fewer than two dozen studios started shunning Unity Ads at first, but the movement quickly gained steam, and by September 19, more than 500 studios had joined.
On September 14, Unity revealed a new “runtime fee” that it plans to charge per copy to all game developers whose Unity-powered games reach a certain level of success. This started the debate. The company said that the fee is meant to help pay for the costs of running its game engine and infrastructure, but devs have criticized the move as unfair and unworkable.
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People who are against the runtime fee say that it will hurt small and independent creators the most, since they may not be able to pay the extra fees on top of the costs of making and releasing games. They also say that the fee will make creators less likely to use Unity to make big and new games since they won’t want to take risks if they think they might be charged for success.
Unity has apologized for the way it told people about the runtime fee and offered to change its policy because of the boycott. But the company hasn’t said much about the planned changes yet, and the boycott is still going on.
The Unity protest shows that game makers are getting more and more upset about the rising costs of making and selling games. In the past few years, game systems like Unity have become more powerful and complex, but they have also become more expensive to use. This makes it harder for smaller and independent writers to compete with companies with more resources.
The Unity protest also shows how important open-source game engines like Unreal Engine and Godot are. These platforms give developers a free and open option to Unity. As developers look for ways to lower the costs of making games, they are becoming more and more popular.
It is still unclear how Unity will react to the boycott, but it is clear that the company will need to make some big changes to its license model if it wants to keep the support of the game developer community.