The Unity dev world is upside down!

What's happening?!
If you're in the gaming development world or have any interest in it, you must've heard of the drama with Unity. Unity has been for so long the pillar of game development for small companies. It's everything you would need from a software that needs to help you build a game. It's easy to learn, very intuitive, free, and only asks for money once the studio starts making good money. Unity is also known to be a company that stays close to its developers and supports them as they grow bigger. They even offer some programs with grants to support newer developers and studios. 

Although, they've been good so far, this week, was not a good week. They've announced two days ago that they will be changing they plan pricing and some of their packaging plans. To every one's surprise (not), whenever a free-to-use company decides to 'change their plan pricing', it rarely goes for the better. Life is unfortunately only getting more and more expensive. Thinking back to Maya, if you're in the 3D model scene, you know, they switched from free-to-use to now paid business model. Needless to say, they lost a lot of users (me included) that simply switched to Blender which is still free to this day (thank God). Well, Unity almost pulled the same thing! Even though, they're not making the engine paid to use, they're now adding a runtime fee for the every installs made over a certain threshold. The fee will apply to your game if: 1. Your game has passed a minimum revenue threshold of USD$200k OR 2. Your game has passed a minimum lifetime install count of over 200k installs. Now, these numbers are for the Unity Personal and the Unity Plus specifically but they change for Unity Pro and Enterprise. You can refer to the official chart here.

What does that mean for us?
Well, it depends. That's a good question. What is "us". Unity claims that it won't affect 90% of their user base. What does that mean exactly? They're making it seem like it's not a big deal and it's basically only putting some taxes on games that are already bringing in big revenues. I understand that. I also get that as a game engine, when you have games that make millions and millions and you don't feel like you get a fair share of the money that's being made using your game engine, it can make you feel some type of way. Now, these thresholds might look high up for an individual, but for small to medium-sized studios it can make a big difference. There is a big outrage right now across game developers because they feel cheated by Unity. A lot of them are saying that they fully lost their trust towards Unity and that they will migrate to other engines like Godot, game maker studios or Unreal Engine.

A crucial piece in what made a lot of people lose their trust for Unity is that they retracted and went back on some statement. They initially said that reinstalls and redownloads will count as multiple installs therefore cost you even more money, that beta and demo versions counted as lifetime installs and that if they suspected any pirated copies of the game, they would contact the developer or studio and deal with them case by case. These three statements did not stand right with the community and after all the backlash and the disagreement of the community, John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity, backed out of these statements and changed them to: 1. Reinstalls do not affect the install count, 2. Betas and demo versions will not count as installs and that 3. For pirated copies, they'll have a report option that will let you automatically claim some pirated copies of your game. In my opinion, this was the smart move to do, especially on these statements where I didn't see him getting of it haha!

Now what?
That's what everyone is wondering. Some people decided to use brute force to see some change happen and decided to send death threats to Mr. Riccitiello. My boy is 65 years old, CEO of a big game engine company... He could've gotten a heart attack from the threat alone... But anyways, he also, thoughtfully, suggested that if any of his employees felt uncomfortable about the whole situation, that they could just stay home. He also closed two offices for now. Let me tell you this much, I don't think violence is going to solve anything. I believe it's a perfect time to make a decision if you need to make one. Nothing's binding you to the game engine. Sure you may have some pretty developed games, etc. but at the end of the day, you have to weight the pros and cons of starting over in a new game engine.

For myself, I'll keep using Unity because I never felt entitled to it being free of charge the whole time and I truly believe that if I were to have an issue with how much money they want to take for me using their platform, then I should just migrate to another game engine or build my own. All these changes are set to take place on January 1st 2024. For now, my games will still be available to play for you here! :D
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