Unity promises changes to Runtime Fee, but devs in no hurry to accept apology: "The trust in your company is broken"
Unity has responded to backlash over its new Runtime Fee. The company claims it will be making changes to the policy, but developers still want per-install fees to be reverted.
It took Unity almost a week to issue a public apology about its controversial rollout of the so-called Runtime Fee, which implies charging developers based on game installs.
“We have heard you,” the company wrote on X (Twitter). “We apologize for the confusion and angst the runtime fee policy we announced on Tuesday caused. We are listening, talking to our team members, community, customers, and partners, and will be making changes to the policy.”
Unity promised to share an update in a couple of days. However, it is still unclear what changes it is going to introduce, leaving developers confused again.
We have heard you. We apologize for the confusion and angst the runtime fee policy we announced on Tuesday caused. We are listening, talking to our team members, community, customers, and partners, and will be making changes to the policy. We will share an update in a couple of…
— Unity (@unity) September 17, 2023
Last week, many game devs criticized the announcement of per-install fees. The biggest issue, despite the questionable nature of the entire Runtime Fee concept, was a trust breach. This also made some studios start considering migrating to other engines.
There is also an account called “Game Studios Disappointed By Unity“, which collects developers’ reactions to the Runtime Fee. More than 190 studios have already issued their public statements regarding this situation, including creators of games like Cult of the Lamb, Among Us, Darkest Dungeon, Slay the Spire, Phasmophobia, Human: Fall Flat, and Totally Accurate Battle Simulator.
— Game Studios Disappointed By Unity (@FuckedByUnity) September 16, 2023
Unity’s latest post also received backlash from the gamedev community. Tim Soret, founder of Odd Tales and creative director of The Last Night, wants the company to either fully revert the Runtime Fee or implement a standard revenue share.
“Also, respect the TOS of each version, and don’t try ever again any shady maneuver to conceal changes,” Soret wrote. “Just be honest, upfront, reliable. We need stability. Thank you.”
Keep in mind that the evolution of the engine since 2017 has been disappointing for most developers.
Obviously we want you to stay afloat by sharing our successes, but you need to act as a fair & reliable partner, focusing your efforts on your core business: game development.
— Tim Soret (@timsoret) September 17, 2023
Rami Ismail also said this is a trust issue, noting that it is “terrifying to think Unity leadership dragged this over the weekend leaving every studio out there with genuine existential concerns, and even now cannot simply go ‘our intent is to drop the per-install fee.'”
These four things are each unacceptable & devastating to trust *on their own* but somehow Unity managed to do a limit break and get all four in at once with a bonus multiplier for the backstab.
— Rami Ismail (رامي) (@tha_rami) September 18, 2023
Lonesome Village creator Ogre Pixel noted that developers want the pricing changes to be rolled back. “Respect the TOS of the older versions,” a statement reads. “The trust in your company is broken, ‘changes to the policy’ will not make a difference.”
Svyatoslav Cherkasov, co-founder of Lazy Bear Games (Graveyard Keeper, Punch Club), said the trust is “not something you can grant back by apologizing / reverting statements.” He added that “coming out of the blue with such radical changes and then trying to do other fast and kinda panic moves doesn’t increase the trust.”
League of Geeks studio director Trent Kusters noted that developers “understood the devastating impact and anti-developer sentiment” of the Runtime Fee model far better than Unity itself.
There wasn’t any “confusion”, @unity. In fact, the exact opposite is the concerning issue here;
That we all, very clearly, understood the devastating impact and anti-developer sentiment of your new pricing model far better than you ever did (or cared to) before rolling it out. https://t.co/yrh9xzVulZ
— Trent 🚀 Jumplight Odyssey – Early Access Out Now! (@TrentKusters) September 18, 2023
The Runtime Fee rollout also made big mobile devs and publishers unite by signing a collective letter against per-install fees. Companies like Azur Games, Voodoo, and SayGames decided to turn off Unity Ads and ironSource monetization in their games until Unity cancels its new pricing model.