The contentious Unity Runtime Fee issue has taken a turn for the worse, with the game engine creator being forced to shut down offices after receiving what it describes as “credible death threats”.
The game engine had planned on hosting a town hall to address concerns over regarding the new Runtime Fees but closed down offices in Austin, Texas, and San Francisco, California, after receiving said death threats.
We want to acknowledge the confusion and frustration we heard after we announced our new runtime fee policy. We’d like to clarify some of your top questions and concerns:
Who is impacted by this price increase: The price increase is very targeted. In fact, more than 90% of our…
— Unity (@unity) September 13, 2023
This all started when Unity announced that it would be implementing a new Runtime Fee policy, charging developers a fee that uses its engine a small fee, every time a gamer installs their game. Specifically, it planned on charging around US$0.20 (~RM0.94) per installation, after a game is downloaded 200,000 times and earns US$200,000 (~RM936,400), starting 1 January next year.
On that note, the company seems to have walked back part of its Runtime Fees schedule. In its latest post on Twitter, now X, it says that the fees will only be charged on new installs only, and it is not an ongoing perpetual license royalty fee. It also says that it will not charge a fee for reinstalls and installs from pirated versions of game built on its engine, among other reassurances.
Buy Cult of the Lamb now, cause we're deleting it on Jan 1st. 😘 https://t.co/nSWg9DP0sh
— Cult of the Lamb 💅 🌈 (@cultofthelamb) September 12, 2023
Nevertheless, the damage has been done and Unity is definitely paying the price for it, in more ways that one. Massive Monster, the developer behind Cult of the Lamb, has advised gamers to pick up the title before the end of the year, as it will be pulling the game from all digital stores on 1 January, in protest of the Runtime Fees implementation.
Despite having cleared the air on its Runtime Fees, it’s pretty clear that the only way the protest ends and the issue goes away is with Unity either rolling back on its new policy entirely or modifying it further, providing developers with more incentives.