16 Studios Boycott Unity in Protest of New Runtime Fee
In a controversial move that has sparked outcry within the gaming industry, a group of over a dozen game studios have initiated a boycott of Unity, one of the most popular game engines. The boycott comes in response to Unity’s recent announcement of changes to their licensing fees, specifically the implementation of a per-install fee for developers whose games exceed a certain number of installations.
Unity’s New Runtime Fee Policy
Under the leadership of former EA CEO John Riccitiello, Unity has proposed a new Runtime Fee policy that has raised concerns among game developers. This policy has the potential to drastically increase the licensing fees paid by developers, thus impacting their profitability and sustainability.
Of particular contention is the introduction of pay-per-install fees. Previously, developers were charged a license fee based on sales. However, under the new policy, developers will be required to pay a license fee for each user installation, regardless of whether the game is purchased or acquired through other means. This change could potentially have negative consequences for subscription services such as PS Plus, as Sony may choose to exclude Unity-based games to avoid the associated licensing fees.
Boycott and Unity’s Bottom Line
Sixteen studios have taken a stand against Unity’s new Runtime Fee policy by joining the boycott. These studios have turned off Unity Ads and IronSource monetization in their games, hoping that hitting Unity’s bottom line will force the company to reconsider its decision. While the current participants in the boycott primarily consist of mobile game developers, they have made a collective call for other developers from across the gaming industry to join in.
In their pursuit of fair and reasonable licensing fees, the studios have posted a collective letter urging unity and solidarity among developers. The letter, which can be accessed here, outlines the detrimental impact Unity’s new policy may have on developers across the industry.
The Impact on the Gaming Industry
The Unity engine has long been a popular choice for many smaller developers due to its comparatively low licensing fees. However, the introduction of the new Runtime Fee policy has already led to a strong reaction from some developers. Mega Crit, the developer of the acclaimed game Slay the Spire, publicly announced on Twitter that they will no longer use Unity for their upcoming game unless the policy is reversed.
Given the backlash surrounding Unity’s new policy, it is anticipated that developers may seek alternative game engines. This could present an unexpected opportunity for Epic Games and its popular Unreal Engine, which may become more appealing due to its previously more affordable licensing fees.
The boycott of Unity by 16 studios in protest of the new Runtime Fee policy has brought attention to the challenges faced by game developers. The controversial changes to Unity’s licensing fees have not only sparked concern among developers but also highlighted the complexities and financial implications of using popular game engines. The coming weeks will reveal whether the boycott and collective efforts of developers will prompt Unity to reconsider its Runtime Fee policy or if alternative engines will rise in prominence amid the ongoing controversy.