The Unity Runtime Fee has captured the attention of the gaming industry with many developers protesting the planned changes, particularly the implementation of a $0.20 fee for every download a game receives. Since the announcement, Unity has amended the fee but its implementation has drawn attention to some of the company’s business practices.
Among these, devs have realised that the company had removed the terms of service (ToS) from its website, amid accusations that the implementation of the fee went against them. As such, some consumers and developers alike are of the opinion that Unity had hidden the terms in an effort to avoid scrutiny. Now, Unity has taken to X (formerly Twitter) to clarify that the removal was "because the views were so low, not because we didn’t want people to see it".
I totally hear your frustration!❤️— Unity (@unity) September 22, 2023
Just to echo what Marc said, we are so sorry for our earlier actions.
Genuinely disappointed at how our removal of the ToS has been framed across the internet. We removed it way before the pricing change was announced because the views were so low.
In short, Unity appears to have removed the ToS due to low viewership of the page, which raises questions in its own right. Whether it’s a highly viewed page or not, the ToS is an important one for many reasons, informing those using Unity of their rights when working with Unity. This is a legal document, and it is therefore easy to see why Unity is facing accusations of acting in bad faith, or violating its own terms with the original version of the Runtime Fee: Hiding the ToS could be seen as an attempt to avoid scrutiny before releasing an updated version in line with new policies.
Notably, the question has been raised as to whether the Unity Runtime Fee is legal at all, with legal firm Wiggins LLP noting that "the significance of the shift, and relatively little prior notice, would likely be core grounds for contention".
Unity’s Marc Whitten has already gone on record to state that the company could have handled the implementation of the Runtime Fee better, but also clarified his opinion that any significant changes to the company’s policy would have proven controversial. Although the company has since adapted the new policies - among other things, developers can continue to use the Unity Personal Plan for no additional fee - it’s still pressing ahead with the controversial changes, much to the industry’s concern.
AppLovin has released a new tool which allows developers to migrate from Unity to the Unreal and Godot engines.
We listed Unity and AppLovin as two of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2023.