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Gaming Company Self-Immolation of the Day: Unity have lost their fucking minds, update: Unity announces 25% reduction in workforce (1,800 employees)


Firewithin

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I was JUST about to post this!

 

I'm gonna break my own rule for this thread :p

 

The information in the ResetERA thread is goddamned insane:

 

https://www.resetera.com/threads/unity-is-changing-its-developer-fee-to-20¢-per-install-after-200k-year-income-threshold-is-met-up-developers-concerned-over-game-pass-installs.763499/

 

To summarize what Unity plans to do:

 

* Unity will charge a one-time fee per player based on them installing (and initializing) the game
* Fee scaling is dependent on revenue thresholds. $200k/200k installs for Personal, $1M/1M for Pro
* For Pro/Enterprise, the cost scales downwards to $0.02/$0.01 per install, but for Personal it remains at $0.20
* Unity Plus is getting retired, the 100k rev limit on Unity Personal is being replaced with the payments above

 

The definition of "installation":

F52PbtxWQAAuFhG?format=webp&name=small

 

It applies to games THAT ARE ALREADY ON THE MARKET:

1vXrgC.png

 

 

Game Demos? YUP - THOSE TOTALLY COUNT AS INSTALLATIONS!

 

Unity appears to be "estimating" the number of installations for which a developer will be financially liable, but won't share any information on its "proprietary" data model:

 

The net result is that developers have no real way of disputing a Unity bill.

 

Installing on your local machine for development and testing? PAY UP, BUDDY - THAT'S AN INSTALLATION RIGHT THERE!

image0.png

 

The ResetERA thread mentions that patches/updates will also count as installations according to posts on the Unity Discord server, but I haven't seen any confirmation of that.

 

Axios's Stephen Totilo contacted Unity directly for clarifications:

 

The response from developers has been nothing short of apoplectic:

 

Aggro Crab:

Unity announced that they'll soon be taking a fee from developers for every copy of the game installed over a certain threshold - regardless of how that copy was obtained. We and a lot of other developers have a highly anticipated game coming to Xbox Game Pass in 2024. Another Crab's Treasure will be free to install for the 25 million Game Pass subscribers. Unity could take a fee that puts an enormous dent in our income and threatens the sustainability of our business. And that's before we even think about sales on other platforms, or pirated installs of our game, or even multiple installs by the same user!!! This decision puts studios in a position where we might not be able to justify using Unity for our future titles. If these changes aren't rolled back, we'll be heavily considering abandoning our Unity expertise. We're calling on Unity to reverse the latest shortsighted decisions that seem to prioritize shareholders over their product's actual users.

 

InnerSloth (Among Us):

F53CxmAaIAAthCp?format=png&name=small

 

Dillon Rogers (Gloomwood):

F527gK0agAAWfj0?format=png&name=medium

 

 

Several other developers posted in the ResetERA thread as well and said that this could very well drive them out of business entirely.

 

Devolver Digital having a bit o' fun as usual:

image0.png

 

Of course, Tim Epic's company (rightfully) managed to work their way into this debacle:

 

An example of the financial impact:

 

IF THIS IS TRUE, THEN I AM WELL AND TRULY SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I TELL YOU!

 

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  • Commissar SFLUFAN changed the title to Gaming Company Self-Immolation of the Day: Unity have lost their fucking minds

From post on the Unity message boards:

 

Quote

A developer's full Steam game costs $10 per unit
A free demo is available
The developer is on the Personal/Plus plan from Unity
1 million people download the demo
Of those 1 million, 30,000 people then purchase the full game
The gross revenue is $300K
The net revenue to the developer is $210K, after Valve's cut
Since the download count and revenue are above the thresholds, the per-install fee kicks in
The number of installs above the threshold is 1,000,000 - 200,000 = 800,000
At $0.2 x 800,000, the developer now owes Unity $160,000 even though the majority of the demo users were not paying user

 

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2 hours ago, Brian said:
FINANCE.YAHOO.COM

On September 6, 2023, John Riccitiello, President and CEO of Unity Software Inc (NYSE:U), sold 2,000 shares of the company.

Someone decided to sell before the news released. 

 

My understanding is that it's part of a pre-arranged structured trading plan and not a timed sale.

 

He also still owns 3,211,394 shares :p

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6 minutes ago, stepee said:

Sometimes these companies really just shoot their shot and see if they get away with it or not lmao

 

I have just obtained a real-time photo of Unity's Chief of Public Relations:

 

Spoiler

Vfin-1686419067476.png?quality=lossless

 

This entire mess is practically a play-by-play repeat of the OGL debacle for Hasbro/WOTC a few months ago.

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OLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLO

 

Unity expects MS/Sony to pay the activation fee for titles on Game Pass/PS Plus:

 

Quote

As for Game Pass and other subscription services, Whitten said that developers like Aggro Crab would not be on the hook, as the fees are charged to distributors, which in the Game Pass example would be Microsoft.

 

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From Obsidian's Josh Sawyer:

 

Quote

 

I love that there’s a stream of updates from 3rd parties that are all like

 

I talked to Unity and they clarified that:

 

1) the bad thing is even worse 
2) the less bad thing is the same amount of bad  
3) there’s a new secret 3rd bad thing that’s the worst thing you’ve ever heard

 

 

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1 hour ago, Firewithin said:

I know games can be delisted but can they be outright removed from someone library? 

 

I know that Steam users can request that a game be removed from their libraries, but absolutely no client (Steam/XBL/PSN) would dare dream of entertaining a developer request to remove their game from a user's library simply from a reputational damage standpoint.

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36 minutes ago, Commissar SFLUFAN said:

Developer of Gunpoint and Heat Signature:

 

missing-image.png

 

This feels like Unity writing themselves into an OGL 1.1 corner. Like they saw how well pulling the rug out from under D&D devs went, so they figured someone should hold their beer.

 

Same question I asked last time. Even if Unity backtracks on this new licensing, why should anyone plan around a Unity that feels they have the right to change up the terms for projects new and old at a whim?

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How is this legal? I'd be curious to read the EULA for unity developed games. It's fucking wild that they could tell developers of already published games that they suddenly owe them more money after the fact, especially if it isn't about new sales but simply new installs.

 

It seems like pretty much any court would strike that down without a second thought if anyone decided to sue.

 

In my experience as a bar manager, it would be like if my beer distributor suddenly decided they were going to add a 5% royalty to every one of their beers I sell after I've already bought it. They would have no legal standing to demand that.

 

They must have one of those catch-all things in their contract that hardly anyone ever reads all the way through that says something like "terms subject to change at vendor discretion," but those kinds of terms are rarely ever held up in court if the new terms are deemed unreasonable, which these clearly are.

 

This reeks of someone at the company just saying "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

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10 hours ago, Commissar SFLUFAN said:

 

I know that Steam users can request that a game be removed from their libraries, but absolutely no client (Steam/XBL/PSN) would dare dream of entertaining a developer request to remove their game from a user's library simply from a reputational damage standpoint.

 

Unity: Great, Valve will cover the cost!

Valve: ... no.

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1 hour ago, crispy4000 said:

 

Unity: Great, Valve will cover the cost!

Valve: ... no.

 

I'm at pains to discern the nature of the financial event that compels Unity to think that it has a claim to the revenue from Microsoft/Sony/GeForce, etc. for simply for hosting games that use its engine on their subscription/streaming services.  As succinctly stated by a ResetERA poster:

 

Quote

A developer signs a royalty contract with Unity, then signs a distribution contract with a platform holder, and then the transitive property kicks in and Unity is entitled to royalties from the platform holder? Because I don't see the legal paper trail that entitles them to a penny in that case unless there's a clause in the new EULA that requires subscription distribution agreements to include a Unity carveout or it's a breach of contract, and trying to enforce that retroactively is just cracking open pandora's box even more than they already are, never mind what a ridiculous poison pill it is for developer interest going forward.

 

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This is such a poorly thought out approach that I honestly wonder who among them thought this wouldn't break the internet? Someone at Unity had to know this would prove massively unpopular and lead to first a PR crisis and second, if major changes aren't made, a mass exodus from the platform. 

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12 hours ago, Ghost_MH said:

 

This feels like Unity writing themselves into an OGL 1.1 corner. Like they saw how well pulling the rug out from under D&D devs went, so they figured someone should hold their beer.

 

Same question I asked last time. Even if Unity backtracks on this new licensing, why should anyone plan around a Unity that feels they have the right to change up the terms for projects new and old at a whim?

 

I've seen a lot of new interest from devs in Godot which is an up and coming open source game engine, released under perhaps the most permissive license out there (MIT Free). It's still fairly new, but is probably at the useable point.

 

It'd be awesome if this pushed more game devs to start writing in games in Rust, but sadly that's probably not going to happen because it's too much of a switch and the game engines are not quite mature enough. Bevy (also open source) is actually really good from a design standpoint, but is still too volatile and missing a fully featured editor.

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Garry Newman (of Garry's Mod fame) has weighed in:

 

Unity can get fucked

 

Quote

 

Yesterday Unity announced that starting next year, all games that use their engine will pay a tax per user install. The tax has a high-profit threshold before it kicks in, which I think they assumed would make it okay.

 

Over the last 24 hours there have been many reasons pointed out why this is a bad idea. Tracking installs is messy. Piracy, reinstalls, new computers, giveaways, bad actors. There are a lot of reasons why it isn't feasible.

 

It makes you wonder how they could think it's a good idea. And maybe it is a good idea if you think of Unity as a mobile game engine. If you view it through that lens maybe it makes sense to them.

 

Maybe they forgot about PC gaming. Again.

 

The Cost

 

Let me be clear.. the cost isn't a big issue to us. If everything worked out, the tracking was flawless and it was 10p per sale, no biggy really. If that's what it costs, then that's what it costs.

 

But that's not why we're furious. It hurts because we didn't agree to this. We used the engine because you pay up front and then ship your product. We weren't told this was going to happen. We weren't warned. We weren't consulted.

 

We have spent 10 years making Rust on Unity's engine. We've paid them every year. And now they changed the rules.

 

Broken Trust

 

Unity has shown its power. We can see what they can and are willing to do. You can't un-ring that bell.

 

If you'd have asked me last week whether it was in Unity's power to start charging us PER SALE of our games, I'd have said that was crazy and no.

Surely that's not possible.

 

That would be like Adobe charging all users of Photoshop per image view.. and trying to invent a system in which they can track and invoice you every month. And not only the new images, but all the images that you created over the last 20 years. Then automatically invoicing you every month.

 

But that's what happened. And now we know they can do that, and that they're willing to do that. Unity is the worst company to be in charge of the Unity Engine.

 

The trust is gone.

 

Retrospect

 

It's our fault. All of our faults. We sleepwalked into it. We had a ton of warnings. We should have been pressing the eject button when Unity IPO'd in 2020. Every single thing they've done since then has been the exact opposite of what was good for the engine.

 

We had 10 years to make our own engine and never did. I'm sure a lot of game companies are feeling the same today.

 

Let's not make the same mistake again, Rust 2 definitely won't be a Unity game.

 

 

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  • Commissar SFLUFAN changed the title to Gaming Company Self-Immolation of the Day: Unity have lost their fucking minds, update: Unity announces 25% reduction in workforce (1,800 employees)

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