Unity Engine Enshittification: developers will be charged on a per-install basis

“Bobby Kotick to join Godot. IPO in 6mo, say insiders”

2026 headline, probably. 😂

“Everything will remain exactly the same. We were born from open-source and will continue to support the community! Why, don’t you trust me?”

Because they are making PR hay off of Unity’s PR disaster - keeping it in the news, bolstering a competitor and getting more eyeballs on themselves… all at Unity’s expense (which will be literal).

Then somebody would make a fork. Once you get Godot, is yours forever.

Not just that, it’s mostly a community project that would quickly keep going in a fork.

That’s… a picture of Gollum while he was still a hobbit, right? What’s open source, preciousss?

Sméagol. His name was Sméagol. ;)

Modifications to the Runtime fee were announced today, along with an apology:

For games that are subject to the runtime fee, we are giving you a choice of either a 2.5% revenue share or the calculated amount based on the number of new people engaging with your game each month. Both of these numbers are self-reported from data you already have available. You will always be billed the lesser amount.

And it will only apply to new versions of the engine, not retroactively to all versions.

point revisions and security updates are likely to make this (important) clarification irrelevant, IMHO

We will make sure that you can stay on the terms applicable for the version of Unity editor you are using – as long as you keep using that version.

Better see the fine print there, otherwise this will continue…


I’m not very smart but…is this good?

This looks significant if I’m reading it right. They got rid of Plus, but also gave its main benefit (no splash) to Personal and raised the revenue cap to $1 million.

Anyone can stick with their existing version and avoid the runtime fee. You can also choose revenue share vs. run time fee.

If this is what they had announced first, I think everyone would have been on board. Now, I think they’ll manage to keep most devs who were already on the platform, but with a big loss in trust.

He did specifically indicate it will apply to Unity 2024 and beyond, so presumably that means one could continue to update to the latest patched version of the Unity 2022 LTS and be fine. Choosing to upgrade to Unity 2024 will come with the runtime fee requirement.

It seems significantly better.

Yes, this is very good.

The self reporting takes away most of tu time fee associated issues, and the 2,5% cap solves the edge cases (I would be surprised if it’s used more than 1% of the time, for users over $1M revenue per game per year -the cap-).

Keeping terms tied to versions also provides needed stability.

But the trust it’s going to take a long time to recover, if it ever does.

This is the big problem now. Those changes were a good thing, but trust is easily lost but not easily rebuilt.

My prediction? Unity will go fine for a while, in great part due to inertia, but if any viable alternative presents itself, it will very quickly be left behind.

I wouldn’t hold your breath.

One lesson from all this is how extremely unprofitable professional game engines are (both Unity and Unreal) even with pretty high fees, so in many, many cases a viable alternative to either is going to have a very steep buy-in. I maaaaybe could see entities Apple or Nintendo going there in an alternative, happier timeline (basically entities so big that profit is secondary to vertical integration).

If suddenly the number of platforms to deploy sinks dramatically, things will be different and the barriers of entry lower significantly, but that’s a different problem.

My guess is studios already in deep development with Unity will stick with it for that game, and look elsewhere for the next one.

Exactly. I think devs may complain about trust for years to come, but if they are facing 2.5% max at Unity (for a major success by indie standards), 5% at Unreal, they will grumble but stick with Unity.

Those that find Godot sufficient for their needs should have switched to it before trust was an issue, as it’s terms are a no brainier if the technology is sufficient.

Unity will also have to really push features in it’s next LTS to draw people to that and the new terms. That’s a good thing for most devs that fall below the minimum revenue threshold - Unity will be in a beauty contest to attract highly profitable devs, and all others enjoy the benefits for free.

Yep. There’s a reason only Unity was left in the mid-range. The margins are basically nonexistent. And the barrier to entry is so high now… the moat is huge. That’s why Unity are raising prices.

What’s amusing about this is that this announcement made me think of the initial Xbox One launch, which was the last time I saw a company lose this much goodwill this quickly. And then I realized Marc Whitten was still with Xbox when that happened. :)

(That said, Marc is a smart guy, and is responsible for much of the innovation that happened in the second half of the 360’s prime. Worked with him on a couple of projects and he’s a passionate gamer.)

Maybe this whole thing was a New Coke conspiracy. “Let’s announce some outrageous and egregious changes to the TOS! Then we can release an updated TOS that we can make more money on and we’ll look like good guys!” **

** I do not believe this is the case. But someone will.

This felt just like Hasbro/Wizards trying to roll back the OGL for D&D, getting massive push back, then publicly stepping back and capitulating.