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[Unity] The place where game devs unite to bitch about a game engine

DibbitDibbit Registered User regular
edited September 2023 in Games and Technology
Ooh No!

There has been an uproar in Unity land, the makers of a more-or-less fine Game Engine, more-or-less beloved by developers for working in the language C#, ooh, and it also has an easy to use visual editor, whatever.

The problem is this post:
https://blog.unity.com/news/plan-pricing-and-packaging-updates

Where they announce the following:
  • Hey, going forward, we're going to charge a small amount (0.20$, but can be a lot lower if you have a higher tier of Unity) per game install for projects build on our engine.
  • Don't worry, there is a generous threshold, below which, you never have to pay, there is a fancy table, but basically, there are no costs if you have less then $200k in revenue and less then 200k installs
  • Every developer also gets access to a few of our dev tools, mostly useless things like "200 build minutes." As a developer, free build minutes are kind of like getting a free pencil from a company: Virtually useless, and if you want to do fancy things, you need to buy your own fancier pencil..euhm... CI/CD system anyway.

On the surface of it, it doesn't sound THAT bad, but the problem is in the fine print:

What's not really obvious unless you read it, is that the 20 cents is PER INSTALL. A lot of things are not clear , but there are concerns:
  • If you have a demo version of the game, and 4000 people try it out, that's 800$ extra you have to account for.
  • If you have a user base of 10.000 (and at 20$ as an "indie game price" that comes out to 200k in revenue) if you release a monthly patch --something that's not unreasonable nowadays with customers expectation of having at least a year of active support after release-- you're looking at a potential of 24k in costs just for releasing it. (This has the wildly optimist view of everyone playing your game, I would guess the retention rate to be more at the 20%, so you'll only be in the hole for 4k, but still, that's some money)
  • Installs by pirates count, as normally pirated games are only cracked to remove obstacles, and will leave telemetry in tact. Some games have as high as a 90% piracy rate, and where it used to be just a potential "lost sale" to be angry about, and maybe some undeserving support time going to them, you now have pirates directly impacting your bottom line.
  • While a sale is a one time thing, the price is per install, this means that you have a limited income stream, and an unknown, but potentially unlimited cost per copy of the game you sell, obviously, it will take a lot of installs before the game starts eating into your profits, but even 25 installs (easy to reach if you realize how patching is mostly just a new install over the old one) per customer is probably eating up all the profit you'll ever see from a game.
  • There were promises that Unity would be a better then all those other engines, and not go for predatory per sales license fees, this has now been broken

Now, there are some good counter points:
  • You need to make 200k and sell 200k copies before this all start, and if you make that much, then this is just another operating cost you can easily bear.
  • Other studios, such as Unreal, also ask money per sale if you make over a million in revenue. (Although that's per sale, not per install)
  • Most indie devs make exactly negative 2 dollars on their crapware, so this only impacts a handful of good studios, and they can bear it, and hopefully shovelware will cease.


I would love to hear more people about this, I personally am uncertain on how it will affect me, as I have the following:
  1. For this to be an issue, I have to have success, and if I have success, I can afford it.
  2. On the other hand, I already have a different company, and I can tell you, 200k in revenue is not really "success", that's 2 programmers worth of resources. Heck, it might be 1 good programmer worth of resources.

Dibbit on
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    DibbitDibbit Registered User regular
    edited September 2023
    Some inside information from an indie dev: Brandon Sheffield, maker of Gunhouse voiced his opinion on it:
    He is not a fan, and has some actual numbers in the indie field.

    One remarkable thing is that he gave away his game in a free bundle to help out the war in Ukraine. There are still 800k claimed, but uninstalled keys from the free bundle. If the new terms would apply to this game (I don't think they go retroactively, but I'm not sure how that works with "Yet to be installed" games) there would be tens of thousands of dollars in cost. Making this kind of a sword of Damocles.

    Dibbit on
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    -Loki--Loki- Don't pee in my mouth and tell me it's raining. Registered User regular
    edited September 2023
    I have it on good authority that they just today learned what charity bundles are and how they work.

    This is absurd that the makers of one of the biggest engines in game development did not know what charity bundles are.

    Also this is what happens when John Riccitiello is running your company.

    -Loki- on
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    ProhassProhass Registered User regular
    To be fair they probably don’t know what charity is

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    AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    Game dev Meg also has some choice words about this over on the Mastadont https://peoplemaking.games/@glassbottommeg/111052576526937860
    Huh, so Unity has reached the killing-the-golden-goose point of their enshittification: https://www.gamedeveloper.com/business/unity-to-start-charging-fee-pegged-to-game-installs

    20c per install doesn't sound like much to PC users, but that's potentially enough to nuke mobile gaming entirely. Which they know, because they also run the stats system mobile devs use to calculate ARPU/ARPPU.

    Unreal taking a small cut of revenue works fine. That's based on you know, money you made.

    Unity charging based on "Installs" might actually cost you money in mobile space. Or if you do a PS+ freebie. Or GamePass. Or especially an EpicStore freebie. They know what they're doing, and it's fucking evil.

    EDIT: looks like it's a one time fee per install, the "monthly" is just poorly explained, as confirmed in a forums reply from a random employee, naturally

    #GameDev #Unity3D

    In the comments it's mostly about the mobile gaming space, where 20c per install quickly turns into a shitshow, especially with the small profit margins mobile game devs already work with. They also point out that Unity is willing to ask for less money if you use their ad-service shitfest.

    It's all such a shitty PR bomb, that people suspect they only talk about this plan as a way to retract it later, and reveal their real plan that is slightly less shitty than this. All in the hopes that people will be more accepting of after getting a taste of the vile poison of the original plan.

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    DibbitDibbit Registered User regular
    edited September 2023
    Aldo wrote: »
    Game dev Meg also has some choice words about this over on the Mastadont https://peoplemaking.games/@glassbottommeg/111052576526937860
    Huh, so Unity has reached the killing-the-golden-goose point of their enshittification: https://www.gamedeveloper.com/business/unity-to-start-charging-fee-pegged-to-game-installs

    20c per install doesn't sound like much to PC users, but that's potentially enough to nuke mobile gaming entirely. Which they know, because they also run the stats system mobile devs use to calculate ARPU/ARPPU.

    Unreal taking a small cut of revenue works fine. That's based on you know, money you made.

    Unity charging based on "Installs" might actually cost you money in mobile space. Or if you do a PS+ freebie. Or GamePass. Or especially an EpicStore freebie. They know what they're doing, and it's fucking evil.

    EDIT: looks like it's a one time fee per install, the "monthly" is just poorly explained, as confirmed in a forums reply from a random employee, naturally

    #GameDev #Unity3D

    In the comments it's mostly about the mobile gaming space, where 20c per install quickly turns into a shitshow, especially with the small profit margins mobile game devs already work with. They also point out that Unity is willing to ask for less money if you use their ad-service shitfest.

    It's all such a shitty PR bomb, that people suspect they only talk about this plan as a way to retract it later, and reveal their real plan that is slightly less shitty than this. All in the hopes that people will be more accepting of after getting a taste of the vile poison of the original plan.

    That would make sense, kind of... make a totally unpalatable plan now, and retract it later. Most developers are too entrenched to switch quickly, so they'll go "I can live with that."

    Messaging seems to be all over the place, I initially based my post on thigns like:


    I got some clarifications from Unity regarding their plan to charge developers per game install (after clearing thresholds)
    - If a player deletes a game and re-installs it, that's 2 installs, 2 charges
    - Same if they install on 2 devices
    - Charity games/bundles exempted from fees

    and the blog post itself, where it's clear that basically, every time setup.exe runs, it counts as an install.

    I'm now hearing reports that it's only once per device, making it better, but also leaving the consumer unfriendly taste that Unity is somehow (either locally with left behind code/data, or with a unique device fingerprint to a server) keeping track on if their software runs on your computer, and how and when.

    Something that they probably already absolutely do, now that I think about it. (Besides the Game Analysis software for devs, that's opt-in, I forgot the name of it, Unity Insights?)

    Dibbit on
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    -Loki--Loki- Don't pee in my mouth and tell me it's raining. Registered User regular
    Once per device is still weird with PCs.

    What entails a new device - new CPU? New Motherboard? New video card? New RAM? All of the above?

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    DibbitDibbit Registered User regular
    -Loki- wrote: »
    Once per device is still weird with PCs.

    What entails a new device - new CPU? New Motherboard? New video card? New RAM? All of the above?

    Windows XP used to make a hash of all device ID's, and I think if more then 2 changed, you had to reactivate? It's been a long time, and even then this was frowned --but barely tolerated-- behavior by Microsoft. (Also, I think the penalty wasn't that severe, it just prevented custom wallpapers and you got a "Hey! Activate windows!" bubble every day on the task-bar.

    With new versions of Windows and Mac, Unity could conceivably use the TPM store to get a guaranteed unique identifier, meaning that only a full motherboard replacement (or soldering on a new TPM chip, I guess) would trigger a new install.
    They'd get juicy data about you, though, but I suspect that unity already phones home right now.

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    ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    I 'fortunately' don't make enough money to qualify, but if I did I'd be shouting and working out how to switch to Godot or Unreal this minute. I currently have over 300k views on itch.io alone I've never been paid a dime for. Tens of thousands more on newgrounds. Thousands more on other places I've posted free versions of my games. I'd have to completely revamp how I release my games to suddenly switch to having as few free versions of my game out there as possible.

    It's like they picked these numbers based on a couple of AAA level companies and no one involved has any experience at all in indie game dev.

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    SurikoSuriko AustraliaRegistered User regular
    edited September 2023
    Don't forget that they can't even show their work on how many installs lead to your charge.


    Unity: "Just trust me, bro."

    Suriko on
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    ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    Yeah, and they aren't even telling you anywhere right now what your current 'install' count is. Everyone's going to have to make a wild guess what their bill is gonna be when it starts off.

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    ThirithThirith Registered User regular
    -Loki- wrote: »
    Once per device is still weird with PCs.

    What entails a new device - new CPU? New Motherboard? New video card? New RAM? All of the above?
    Wouldn't this be irrelevant for this particular matter? Unity says it'll count the installations. Whether you're uninstalling and reinstalling on the same PC, on the same PC but after extensive upgrades, or on a different device, it's all a new install and would therefore incur the charge.

    webp-net-resizeimage.jpg
    "Nothing is gonna save us forever but a lot of things can save us today." - Night in the Woods
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    -Loki--Loki- Don't pee in my mouth and tell me it's raining. Registered User regular
    Thirith wrote: »
    -Loki- wrote: »
    Once per device is still weird with PCs.

    What entails a new device - new CPU? New Motherboard? New video card? New RAM? All of the above?
    Wouldn't this be irrelevant for this particular matter? Unity says it'll count the installations. Whether you're uninstalling and reinstalling on the same PC, on the same PC but after extensive upgrades, or on a different device, it's all a new install and would therefore incur the charge.

    Dibbit said they heard the installs would be charged once per device.

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    ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    Thirith wrote: »
    -Loki- wrote: »
    Once per device is still weird with PCs.

    What entails a new device - new CPU? New Motherboard? New video card? New RAM? All of the above?
    Wouldn't this be irrelevant for this particular matter? Unity says it'll count the installations. Whether you're uninstalling and reinstalling on the same PC, on the same PC but after extensive upgrades, or on a different device, it's all a new install and would therefore incur the charge.

    They've said now it'll only count once per device. However, there's still questions like - I release 24 patreon updates of my game a year. Is that going to count as 24 installs for a single patron?

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    DibbitDibbit Registered User regular
    Scooter wrote: »
    I 'fortunately' don't make enough money to qualify, but if I did I'd be shouting and working out how to switch to Godot or Unreal this minute. I currently have over 300k views on itch.io alone I've never been paid a dime for. Tens of thousands more on newgrounds. Thousands more on other places I've posted free versions of my games. I'd have to completely revamp how I release my games to suddenly switch to having as few free versions of my game out there as possible.

    It's like they picked these numbers based on a couple of AAA level companies and no one involved has any experience at all in indie game dev.

    Wait.. how does this work with unity games that start in the Browser, is every run a "new install?"
    I guess you'd be saved by these generally not making a profit, so you'll never get to the 200k money threshold.

    Come to think of it, What about all those patreon funded games? Those are normally just distributed for free on itch.io (with a special patreon version for special patreon people)

    Is the Furry community about to explode because Unity is taking away their fun? (Horny Women are safe, as Visual novels are mainly done in ren-py, a custom visual novel engine made in Python)

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    DibbitDibbit Registered User regular
    -Loki- wrote: »
    Thirith wrote: »
    -Loki- wrote: »
    Once per device is still weird with PCs.

    What entails a new device - new CPU? New Motherboard? New video card? New RAM? All of the above?
    Wouldn't this be irrelevant for this particular matter? Unity says it'll count the installations. Whether you're uninstalling and reinstalling on the same PC, on the same PC but after extensive upgrades, or on a different device, it's all a new install and would therefore incur the charge.

    Dibbit said they heard the installs would be charged once per device.

    For a source of that, and please keep in mind that this is all developing, and the messaging is contradictionary:

    https://www.axios.com/2023/09/13/unity-runtime-fee-policy-marc-whitten
    After initially telling Axios earlier Tuesday that a player installing a game, deleting it and installing it again would result in multiple fees, Unity'sWhitten told Axios that the company would actually only charge for an initial installation. (A spokesperson told Axios that Unity had "regrouped" to discuss the issue.)

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    SurikoSuriko AustraliaRegistered User regular
    Dibbit wrote: »
    Scooter wrote: »
    I 'fortunately' don't make enough money to qualify, but if I did I'd be shouting and working out how to switch to Godot or Unreal this minute. I currently have over 300k views on itch.io alone I've never been paid a dime for. Tens of thousands more on newgrounds. Thousands more on other places I've posted free versions of my games. I'd have to completely revamp how I release my games to suddenly switch to having as few free versions of my game out there as possible.

    It's like they picked these numbers based on a couple of AAA level companies and no one involved has any experience at all in indie game dev.

    Wait.. how does this work with unity games that start in the Browser, is every run a "new install?"
    I guess you'd be saved by these generally not making a profit, so you'll never get to the 200k money threshold.

    Come to think of it, What about all those patreon funded games? Those are normally just distributed for free on itch.io (with a special patreon version for special patreon people)

    Is the Furry community about to explode because Unity is taking away their fun? (Horny Women are safe, as Visual novels are mainly done in ren-py, a custom visual novel engine made in Python)

    To the bolded, that's changing. Unity has a framework called Naninovel that's catching on very quickly (well... was) with VN developers as it means porting to other platforms is far, far easier than manually porting Renpy games. Renpy also has a lot of idiosyncracies that Unity/Naninovel also doesn't have, the documentation for Renpy is a bit shit, and the included SDK is close to useless. As a VN developer, I'm usually working these days in Naninovel instead of Renpy and it does feel like a breath of fresh air to work with, the workflow is far better.

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    DibbitDibbit Registered User regular
    edited September 2023
    Suriko wrote: »
    Dibbit wrote: »
    Scooter wrote: »
    I 'fortunately' don't make enough money to qualify, but if I did I'd be shouting and working out how to switch to Godot or Unreal this minute. I currently have over 300k views on itch.io alone I've never been paid a dime for. Tens of thousands more on newgrounds. Thousands more on other places I've posted free versions of my games. I'd have to completely revamp how I release my games to suddenly switch to having as few free versions of my game out there as possible.

    It's like they picked these numbers based on a couple of AAA level companies and no one involved has any experience at all in indie game dev.

    Wait.. how does this work with unity games that start in the Browser, is every run a "new install?"
    I guess you'd be saved by these generally not making a profit, so you'll never get to the 200k money threshold.

    Come to think of it, What about all those patreon funded games? Those are normally just distributed for free on itch.io (with a special patreon version for special patreon people)

    Is the Furry community about to explode because Unity is taking away their fun? (Horny Women are safe, as Visual novels are mainly done in ren-py, a custom visual novel engine made in Python)

    To the bolded, that's changing. Unity has a framework called Naninovel that's catching on very quickly (well... was) with VN developers as it means porting to other platforms is far, far easier than manually porting Renpy games. Renpy also has a lot of idiosyncracies that Unity/Naninovel also doesn't have, the documentation for Renpy is a bit shit, and the included SDK is close to useless. As a VN developer, I'm usually working these days in Naninovel instead of Renpy and it does feel like a breath of fresh air to work with, the workflow is far better.

    Well.. Shit... I guess.. make sure you don't get more then 16k a month from Patreon and ad sources?
    That sound glib, sorry. But this whole move just seems to not have considered anyone except the pockets of Unity.

    Dibbit on
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    SurikoSuriko AustraliaRegistered User regular
    Dibbit wrote: »
    Suriko wrote: »
    Dibbit wrote: »
    Scooter wrote: »
    I 'fortunately' don't make enough money to qualify, but if I did I'd be shouting and working out how to switch to Godot or Unreal this minute. I currently have over 300k views on itch.io alone I've never been paid a dime for. Tens of thousands more on newgrounds. Thousands more on other places I've posted free versions of my games. I'd have to completely revamp how I release my games to suddenly switch to having as few free versions of my game out there as possible.

    It's like they picked these numbers based on a couple of AAA level companies and no one involved has any experience at all in indie game dev.

    Wait.. how does this work with unity games that start in the Browser, is every run a "new install?"
    I guess you'd be saved by these generally not making a profit, so you'll never get to the 200k money threshold.

    Come to think of it, What about all those patreon funded games? Those are normally just distributed for free on itch.io (with a special patreon version for special patreon people)

    Is the Furry community about to explode because Unity is taking away their fun? (Horny Women are safe, as Visual novels are mainly done in ren-py, a custom visual novel engine made in Python)

    To the bolded, that's changing. Unity has a framework called Naninovel that's catching on very quickly (well... was) with VN developers as it means porting to other platforms is far, far easier than manually porting Renpy games. Renpy also has a lot of idiosyncracies that Unity/Naninovel also doesn't have, the documentation for Renpy is a bit shit, and the included SDK is close to useless. As a VN developer, I'm usually working these days in Naninovel instead of Renpy and it does feel like a breath of fresh air to work with, the workflow is far better.

    Well.. Shit... I guess.. make sure you don't get more then 16k a month from Patreon and ad sources?
    That sound glib, sorry. But this whole move just seems to not to have considered anyone except the pockets of Unity.

    It is what it is. Lots of back-room discussion around it in various developer and publisher channels, but in the end for VNs there's only two real options (Renpy or Naninovel) as the Godot frameworks are still very barebones and DIYing an engine is just adding more work before you even start making the game itself.

    I suspect this will fizzle out and Unity will give up on the whole idea just from their sheer inabillity to even technically pull this off, let alone the legalities. It has the air of a CEO's captain call which internal staff have to scramble to try and accomplish, leading to the mixed public messaging as there's no agreed-on PR around it. Regardless though, what sane publisher would choose an engine owned by a company which will retroactively change the engine's fees on a whim because "fuck you, pay me".

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    KoopahTroopahKoopahTroopah The koopas, the troopas. Philadelphia, PARegistered User regular
    All of this is awful. I think it would be cheaper to work into your budgets to change engines than to release on Unity now. Like it's such a huge fuck you to all of your customers.

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    DibbitDibbit Registered User regular
    All of this is awful. I think it would be cheaper to work into your budgets to change engines than to release on Unity now. Like it's such a huge fuck you to all of your customers.

    Here's a reddit thread of a company who will, come Jan. 2024, pay 108% of their gross revenue in licensing fees to unity.

    So, yeah, their company either ends in 4 months, or they need to beg unity for alternate arrangements.
    (On of the reasons they are going broke is that they make kids mobile games, and they refuse to do advertisement, relying on voluntary in app purchases.

    Ooh, the thread also indicates that this all applies retroactively to already released games.

    I wonder what happens if you try to discontinue a game from Steam because you can't afford people from downloading it anymore, I'm pretty sure that Steam takes a dim view on plucking games out of libraries, on the other hand, they're not going to cover the redownload cost, are they?

    (Also, what happens to game companies that have dissolved, Will Unity send a collection agency to cover ongoing downloads while you now work at McDonalds?)

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    NosfNosf Registered User regular
    Unity will either back down or go under as everyone flees. You think Gamepass or Steam are going to pay them for downloads that Unity doesn't even serve? What's hilarious is that this is the first that EVERYONE is hearing about this. I assume if they're dumb enough to try this they are desperate and close to biting the dust.

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    Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    What a batshit insane plan.

    So many flaws that my 6 year old could probably figure out that clearly haven’t been thought about at all.

    Even just things like “hey what if some script kid gets mad at a dev for nerfing their favorite character or something and makes a script to uninstall and reinstall the game on their computer over and over and runs up $50,000 in install fees over a week or two?”

    Like these are questions you want answers to before announcing your insane plans.

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    ZibblsnrtZibblsnrt Registered User, Moderator mod
    I have to imagine the retroactive part is going to make a lot of lawyers rather busy in the next few months, regardless of Unity's whole "we declare ourselves exempt from being sued for anything ever" policy.

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    DibbitDibbit Registered User regular
    What a batshit insane plan.

    So many flaws that my 6 year old could probably figure out that clearly haven’t been thought about at all.

    Even just things like “hey what if some script kid gets mad at a dev for nerfing their favorite character or something and makes a script to uninstall and reinstall the game on their computer over and over and runs up $50,000 in install fees over a week or two?”

    Like these are questions you want answers to before announcing your insane plans.

    Well, then Unity just earned themselves $50,000, they don't see a problem with that.


    But yeah, they claim they have a proprietary way of detecting that, they won't disclose how, see Suriko's post: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/comment/45874320/#Comment_45874320
    "Just trust us, bro"

    They might just be counting on the sunk cost fallacy: You can't really pivot away in 3 months, or they'll probably soften the costs to "manageable, but barely" after a few weeks.

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    ZavianZavian universal peace sounds better than forever war Registered User regular
    the install base thing makes no sense, this whole new scheme sounds like it was made up by some greedy executive board (which I'm guessing is the case)

    it doesn't affect me since I just use Unity to learn and mess around, and if I ever did release something commercially I doubt I'd get to $200K, but even still it seems like a major headache to have to keep track of install base numbers with all the issues people have listed above (pirating being the primary concern)

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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    edited September 2023
    I love how they think platform holders, like Microsoft, are going to pay for things like installs of Unity Games on Gamepass.

    Big "We'll build a wall and make Mexico pay for it energy".

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    DibbitDibbit Registered User regular
    Aegeri wrote: »
    I love how they think platform holders, like Microsoft, are going to pat for things like installs of Unity Games on Gamepass.

    Big "We'll build a wall and make Mexico pay for it energy".

    Pppfff.. Gabe Newell can afford it. :p

    Unsuprisingly, they also updated their TOS, particulary, the part that says "If we change the TOS, you can keep using the old one for old projects"
    (source: Official Unity forums: https://forum.unity.com/threads/unity-plan-pricing-and-packaging-updates.1482750/ )

    I simplified the legalize to something not quite true, but this section was removed:

    Unity may update these Unity Software Additional Terms at any time for any reason and without notice (the “Updated Terms”) and those Updated Terms will apply to the most recent current-year version of the Unity Software, provided that, if the Updated Terms adversely impact your rights, you may elect to continue to use any current-year versions of the Unity Software (e.g., 2018.x and 2018.y and any Long Term Supported (LTS) versions for that current-year release) according to the terms that applied just prior to the Updated Terms (the “Prior Terms”).
    The Updated Terms will then not apply to your use of those current-year versions unless and until you update to a subsequent year version of the Unity Software (e.g. from 2019.4 to 2020.1). If material modifications are made to these Terms, Unity will endeavor to notify you of the modification.

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    ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Dibbit wrote: »
    Aegeri wrote: »
    I love how they think platform holders, like Microsoft, are going to pat for things like installs of Unity Games on Gamepass.

    Big "We'll build a wall and make Mexico pay for it energy".

    Pppfff.. Gabe Newell can afford it. :p

    Unsuprisingly, they also updated their TOS, particulary, the part that says "If we change the TOS, you can keep using the old one for old projects"
    (source: Official Unity forums: https://forum.unity.com/threads/unity-plan-pricing-and-packaging-updates.1482750/ )

    I simplified the legalize to something not quite true, but this section was removed:

    Unity may update these Unity Software Additional Terms at any time for any reason and without notice (the “Updated Terms”) and those Updated Terms will apply to the most recent current-year version of the Unity Software, provided that, if the Updated Terms adversely impact your rights, you may elect to continue to use any current-year versions of the Unity Software (e.g., 2018.x and 2018.y and any Long Term Supported (LTS) versions for that current-year release) according to the terms that applied just prior to the Updated Terms (the “Prior Terms”).
    The Updated Terms will then not apply to your use of those current-year versions unless and until you update to a subsequent year version of the Unity Software (e.g. from 2019.4 to 2020.1). If material modifications are made to these Terms, Unity will endeavor to notify you of the modification.

    I forsee a lot of devs sticking with their 2018-2023 version of Unity and not upgrading in the forseeable future.

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    WotanAnubisWotanAnubis Registered User regular
    Zibblsnrt wrote: »
    I have to imagine the retroactive part is going to make a lot of lawyers rather busy in the next few months, regardless of Unity's whole "we declare ourselves exempt from being sued for anything ever" policy.

    Yeah, I feel like one-sidedly altering a contract out of the blue should not be legal. I'm pretty sure the case of Vader v. Calrissian did not set any kind of legal precedent.

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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    edited September 2023
    Imagine seeing the incredible backlash to your decision and then basically doubling down, completely ignoring the huge problems in the defenses/arguments you have made:



    I wish I could say I was surprised at the hubris of companies like this, but I'm not surprised.

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User, Moderator mod
    I think I'm laughing hardest at their claims they will just figure out the install numbers using their secret techniques, don't worry about how we're doing that, just wait for the bill ;)

    BahamutZERO.gif
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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    I bet it boils down to "Game was reported to sell over 1 million copies" -> "Give money"

    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    DibbitDibbit Registered User regular
    I think I'm laughing hardest at their claims they will just figure out the install numbers using their secret techniques, don't worry about how we're doing that, just wait for the bill ;)

    Dear ChatGPT, was this a legitimate game install? Please answer in a concise manner and pretend that you are the Kermit the Frog.

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    ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    The part about them no longer counting web plays as installs is a major backdown at least. I'm halfway guessing they're gonna keep shaving off a piece every few days until the screaming stops.

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    ZibblsnrtZibblsnrt Registered User, Moderator mod
    Unity wrote:
    The price increase is very targeted. In fact, more than 90% of our customers will not be affected by this change.

    And from the sounds of it a sizeable chunk of that remaining 10% will still be catastrophically affected.

    To say nothing of people who made something successful six years from now and suddenly have to start paying bills on it..

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    DibbitDibbit Registered User regular
    Scooter wrote: »
    The part about them no longer counting web plays as installs is a major backdown at least. I'm halfway guessing they're gonna keep shaving off a piece every few days until the screaming stops.

    You know, in theory, if there's no unity developer left to scream, it will also have stopped. :p

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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    It reminds me of the debacle with Wizards of the coast and the OGL.

    It doesn't matter if it's walked back or not, the fact they played their hand and showed they were willing to just change terms to screw you means they can't be trusted. When games take 3-5 years to develop, do you want to rely on a mendacious and highly unreliable partner for your future security and, if you're a small company, the security of the people you employ?

    Absolutely no way would I do so.

    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    -Loki--Loki- Don't pee in my mouth and tell me it's raining. Registered User regular
    And still saying charity bundles won't count when they have no way of knowing which keys went to charity bundles.

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    ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    Basically it's going to be on devs to get into fights with customer service to try and 'prove' that some certain number of installs must have been bundles, or pirates, or something. There's no way you're gonna be able to tell Unity "Hey I sold 30k bundle keys" and Unity is just gonna go "ok sir have 30k free installs added to your account", even if it's true.

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    VontreVontre Registered User regular
    edited September 2023
    Dibbit wrote: »
    Ooh No!

    There has been an uproar in Unity land, the makers of a more-or-less fine Game Engine, more-or-less beloved by developers for working in the language C#, ooh, and it also has an easy to use visual editor, whatever.

    The problem is this post:
    https://blog.unity.com/news/plan-pricing-and-packaging-updates

    Where they announce the following:
    • Hey, going forward, we're going to charge a small amount (0.20$, but can be a lot lower if you have a higher tier of Unity) per game install for projects build on our engine.
    • Don't worry, there is a generous threshold, below which, you never have to pay, there is a fancy table, but basically, there are no costs if you have less then $200k in revenue and less then 200k installs
    • Every developer also gets access to a few of our dev tools, mostly useless things like "200 build minutes." As a developer, free build minutes are kind of like getting a free pencil from a company: Virtually useless, and if you want to do fancy things, you need to buy your own fancier pencil..euhm... CI/CD system anyway.

    On the surface of it, it doesn't sound THAT bad, but the problem is in the fine print:

    What's not really obvious unless you read it, is that the 20 cents is PER INSTALL. A lot of things are not clear , but there are concerns:
    • If you have a demo version of the game, and 4000 people try it out, that's 800$ extra you have to account for.
    • If you have a user base of 10.000 (and at 20$ as an "indie game price" that comes out to 200k in revenue) if you release a monthly patch --something that's not unreasonable nowadays with customers expectation of having at least a year of active support after release-- you're looking at a potential of 24k in costs just for releasing it. (This has the wildly optimist view of everyone playing your game, I would guess the retention rate to be more at the 20%, so you'll only be in the hole for 4k, but still, that's some money)
    • Installs by pirates count, as normally pirated games are only cracked to remove obstacles, and will leave telemetry in tact. Some games have as high as a 90% piracy rate, and where it used to be just a potential "lost sale" to be angry about, and maybe some undeserving support time going to them, you now have pirates directly impacting your bottom line.
    • While a sale is a one time thing, the price is per install, this means that you have a limited income stream, and an unknown, but potentially unlimited cost per copy of the game you sell, obviously, it will take a lot of installs before the game starts eating into your profits, but even 25 installs (easy to reach if you realize how patching is mostly just a new install over the old one) per customer is probably eating up all the profit you'll ever see from a game.
    • There were promises that Unity would be a better then all those other engines, and not go for predatory per sales license fees, this has now been broken

    Now, there are some good counter points:
    • You need to make 200k and sell 200k copies before this all start, and if you make that much, then this is just another operating cost you can easily bear.
    • Other studios, such as Unreal, also ask money per sale if you make over a million in revenue. (Although that's per sale, not per install)
    • Most indie devs make exactly negative 2 dollars on their crapware, so this only impacts a handful of good studios, and they can bear it, and hopefully shovelware will cease.


    I would love to hear more people about this, I personally am uncertain on how it will affect me, as I have the following:
    1. For this to be an issue, I have to have success, and if I have success, I can afford it.
    2. On the other hand, I already have a different company, and I can tell you, 200k in revenue is not really "success", that's 2 programmers worth of resources. Heck, it might be 1 good programmer worth of resources.

    I'm responding to this immediately. I know it may seem this way to devs who have not operated a game that makes some money, but this is 100% false. These thresholds are based on revenue. Not profit. 200k in revenue is basically starvation wages for a full time indie team of 2 people. The higher tier threshold of $1m is also very meager wages for a team of 10, which is still small. And the install thresholds are based on... installs, which do not actually generate revenue. Astoundingly, a lot of Unity's business is in mobile free to play games, which can make extremely little per install depending on the genre and user demographic. There is real potential for mid-sized businesses to simply fold under these fees if they are actually forced to pay them, even at Pro or Enterprise tier. Installs are not something the dev has any control over, and they don't actually generate money!

    Vontre on
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