clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Unity vows to change controversial new pricing policy

No details yet, but update coming in ‘a couple of days’

The words Unity and the company’s logo, which is basically outlines of a box, on a black background. The text is in white. Image: Unity Technologies
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Unity Technologies will make changes to its wildly unpopular install-based fee policy, the company said Sunday in a post on the platform formerly known as Twitter. The update comes days after Unity announced plans for a new pricing structure, which would add a fee for developers after every install once a revenue and download threshold was met.

On Sunday, the company apologized for the “confusion and angst” that its new policy caused. There’s no update just yet, but Unity said that further details are coming in the next “couple of days.” The company said, “We are listening, talking to our team members, community, customers, and partners, and will be making changes to the policy.”

It may be too late. Unity already showed that it’s willing to make major changes to the terms with which developers signed onto the engine. Some developers are calling for a total reversal of the policy.

Game makers have said the new policy could financially devastate studios, and that it broke the trust of developers who signed with Unity expecting terms to remain consistent. Several major developers have vowed to move their projects to a different engine should Unity not reverse its announced policy update, while large mobile game publishers and developers turned off their ad programs in protest.

Days after the announcement, Bloomberg reported that Unity had closed several offices in Austin, Texas, and San Francisco over what was described as a “credible death threat.” Unity later confirmed that it closed over a “potential threat.” San Francisco police later said Unity reported that “an employee made a threat towards his employer using social media.”

Update: On Monday, Bloomberg published a report outlining the “tentative new plan” for Unity’s runtime fees. Bloomberg obtained a recording of an all-hands meeting where CEO John Riccitiello told staff its may limit fees to “4% of a game’s revenue for customers making over $1 million,” and noted that the installations racked up to meet the threshold won’t count toward the fees — meaning that developers will pay for installs only after meeting the requirements.

Bloomberg also reported that Unity may ask its developers to “self-report” the data necessary to track installations.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon