Has the scandal caused by Unity come to an end? At the moment it seems so because the company had no choice but to reverse its scandalous collection policy that threatened the finances of editors and developers. Now, it will apply a new scheme that could well be accepted or rejected by the creative community given the trust that was lost.
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Unity apologizes and changes its scandalous charging policy
Through an open letter published on the official Unity site, Marc Whitten, president of Unity Creative, offered an apology to publishers and developers for the wave of criticism that his sudden Runtime Fee charging system caused: “I want to start with this : I’m sorry. We should have spoken to more of you and incorporated more of your feedback before announcing our new runtime fee policy. Our goal with this policy is to ensure that we can continue to support you today and tomorrow, and continue to invest deeply in our game engine.”
Unity reverses its controversial charging system
What does Unity’s new billing policy say?
To begin with, the Runtime Fee that caused the controversy did not completely die, but it will be considered in other user levels as an option. Let’s first go through the initial changes:
First, the Unity Personal plan will not only remain free, it will also see an increase in the reported income limit for those who want to use it from $100,000 USD to $200,000 USD, plus the use of the “Made with Unity” screen will no longer be required. ” at the beginning of the video game. Likewise, the company reported that “no game with less than $1 million in trailing 12-month revenue will be subject to any fee.”
Then, users of Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise, payment plans as well as games that generate more than $1 million, will be considered according to the terms and conditions of the engine version they used to create their video game. Initially, the intention of retroactivity is eliminated, so no video game made before January 1, 2024 will be subject to the fee collection policies. However, in the event that a game under these conditions is updated to a version of Unity equal to or later than the aforementioned date, the new terms and conditions will apply. Same situation for all video games made in Unity starting next year.
Now, the controversial Runtime Fee that will charge between $0.01 USD to $0.20 USD for each unique installation will become one of 2 options. In this case, Unity proposes that the developer, based on its installation or income reports, pay the total fee generated month after month or offer a participation of 2.5% of the total income for the company that owns the graphics engine. . In this regard, Unity indicates that the amount to be paid will be the lower of the 2 options, trying to favor developers.
Why Unity angered the video game industry?
Last week, Unity announced a new policy that would go into effect on January 1, 2024 that directly addressed subscription models like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Game Pass. Namely, the company’s intention was to charge a fee of between $0.01 USD to $0.20 USD for each time a video game created with its engine was installed.
After the first criticism and the start of the scandal, Unity reversed course and assured that the fee would only be charged for the first installation of a video game, this in response to concerns that it would be misused with the intention of bombing with downloads by groups of players knowing that this would impact the finances of studios and publishers. However, the change was not enough as publishers and developers pointed out that a charge per download, even initially and only, would be a hard blow to their finances.
Subsequently, some studios, such as the creators of the indie hit Cult of the Lamb, threatened to stop selling their video games because they would not give a single extra cent to Unity beyond what was previously agreed. Furthermore, the situation escalated to such a degree that a “credible” report of death threats led to the evacuation of the company building.
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