The development community around the world is still reeling from Unity's shock annoucement earlier this week that it would be revising it pricing and would begin charging per-install. That's the short version.
The voices on social media are loud and plentiful already, with some even debating whether the move is even legal. Now a group of some of the biggest names in games have got together to pen a letter to Unity clearly aimed at redressing the balance and taking back some power. With their games built on the Unity platform already, they're hitting back in the only way that they can - removing Unity's ironSource ads service from their games and shutting off the company's ads cash tap.
So far, at the time of writing the letter is signed by the below, but as the minutes tick by to the release of this story, more are coming on board and we suspect that more will follow after publication.
The collective are - currently - Azur Games, Voodoo, Homa, Century Games, SayGames, CrazyLabs, Original Games, Matchingham Games, Ducky, Burny Games, Inspired Square, Geisha Tokyo, tatsumaki games, New Story, Playgendary and Supercent.
The collectives threat is that until the planned January 1 2024 introduction of Unity's Runtime Fee is rescinded then Unity's ads will remain off.
"The rules have changed, and the stakes are simply too high. The Runtime Fee is an unacceptable shift in our partnership with Unity that needs to be immediately canceled."
"All who sign this letter, engage in other forms of protest, or simply stand in solidarity with the gaming industry," they write. "You can also back the movement by signing our open letter. Check out the link to add your voice to the cause."
Full text below:
Collective letter from game development companies: Turning off all IronSource and Unity Ads monetization until new conditions are reviewed
We are the collective voice of the game development industry - developers, game designers, artists, and business minds. Passionate about our craft, we've invested years in shaping an industry that touches the lives of millions worldwide. As stakeholders, we cannot remain silent when a decision threatens to destabilize this ecosystem.
Unity has been an instrumental force in this industry. In many ways, it has inspired us to create new immersive worlds and empowered a plethora of dynamic and independent developers to bring their visions to life. We’ve played our part in this journey, moving the industry forward and creating specialists that use Unity as the primary game engine for their projects.
We've hosted Unity-centered events, shared our knowledge, and crafted educational content that's inspired an international community. Thanks to this symbiosis, Unity has evolved into a cornerstone of game development and is now established as an indispensable asset in game creation.
That's why the September 12 announcement hits us hard. Effective January 1, 2024, Unity plans to introduce installation-dependent fees, a decision that jeopardizes small and large game developers alike, made without any industry consultation. To claim, as Unity has, that this new ‘Runtime Fee’ will impact only 10% of the industry is not just misleading, it’s patently false.
We strongly oppose this move, which disregards the unique challenges and complexities of our industry.
While we've always viewed our work as a collaborative effort, this decision blindsided us. With one stroke of the pen, you've put hundreds of studios at risk, all without consultation or dialogue.
To put it in relatable terms - what if automakers suddenly decided to charge us for every mile driven on the car that you bought a year ago? The impact on consumers and the industry at large would be seismic.
This comes at a time when the industry is already grappling with tightening profit margins, heightened competition, and escalating costs in both development and marketing. This isn't just about developers. This impacts artists, designers, marketers, and producers. It's a cascade that could lead to the shuttering of companies that have given their all to this industry.
Unity, we've stood by and celebrated your every innovation. Why, then, were we left out of the conversation on a decision so monumental?
As a course of immediate action, our collective of game development companies is forced to turn off all ironSource and Unity Ads monetization across our projects until these changes are reconsidered.
We urge others who share this stance to do the same. The rules have changed, and the stakes are simply too high. The Runtime Fee is an unacceptable shift in our partnership with Unity that needs to be immediately canceled.
We entered this industry for the love of game development, but what makes it truly special is the community—a community built on openness, shared expertise, and collective progress.
If you share our sentiment, we call on you to join us. Turn off all IronSource and Unity Ads monetization until a fair and equitable resolution is found.
You can also back the movement by signing our open letter. Check out the link to add your voice to the cause.
Azur Games, Voodoo, Homa, Century Games, SayGames, CrazyLabs, Original Games, Ducky, Burny Games, Inspired Square, Geisha Tokyo, tatsumaki games, New Story, Playgendary, Supercent, Matchingham Games
and all who sign this letter, engage in other forms of protest, or simply stand in solidarity with the gaming industry