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      Unity dev group dissolves after 13 years over “completely eroded” company trust

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 26 September, 2023 - 15:35 · 1 minute

    A partnership of 13 years has ended over a complete lack of trust in the company behind the Unity engine.

    Enlarge / A partnership of 13 years has ended over a complete lack of trust in the company behind the Unity engine. (credit: Boston Unity Group )

    The "first official Unity user group in the world" has announced that it is dissolving after 13 years because "the trust we used to have in the company has been completely eroded." The move comes as many developers are saying they will continue to stay away from the company's products even after last week's partial rollback of some of the most controversial parts of its fee structure plans.

    Since its founding in 2010, the Boston Unity Group (BUG) has attracted thousands of members to regular gatherings, talks, and networking events, including many technical lectures archived on YouTube . But the group says it will be hosting its last meeting Wednesday evening via Zoom because the Unity of today is very different from the Dave Helgason-led company that BUG says "enthusiastically sanctioned and supported" the group at its founding.

    "Over the past few years, Unity has unfortunately shifted its focus away from the games industry and away from supporting developer communities," the group leadership wrote in a departure note . "Following the IPO, the company has seemingly put profit over all else, with several acquisitions and layoffs of core personnel. Many key systems that developers need are still left in a confusing and often incomplete state, with the messaging that advertising and revenue matter more to Unity than the functionality game developers care about."

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      Unity exec tells Ars he’s on a mission to earn back developer trust

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 22 September, 2023 - 22:08 · 1 minute

    Unity exec tells Ars he’s on a mission to earn back developer trust

    Enlarge (credit: Unity)

    If there's one thing Unity Create President and General Manager Marc Whitten wants to make clear, it's that he appreciates your feedback.

    "It's been a very feedback-giving week for Unity," Whitten told Ars, possibly the biggest understatement he made during an interview accompanying the new, scaled-back fee structure plans the company announced today. "There was a lot more [feedback than we expected] for sure... I think that feedback has made us better, even though it has sometimes been difficult."

    But Whitten was also quick to find the bright side of the tsunami of backlash that came Unity's way in the week since the company announced its (now outdated) plans for per-install fees of up to $0.20 on all Unity games starting in 2024. That's because that anger reflected "the extraordinary passion that our community has for their craft, their livelihoods, and their tools, including Unity," Whitten said. "When Unity disappoints them, in a way where they're overly surprised or whatever, they give very, very critical feedback. I don't love hearing every single one of those pieces of feedback—sometimes they can be pretty pointed—but I love that that passion exists."

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      Unity makes major changes to controversial install-fee program

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 22 September, 2023 - 19:37

    Unity is hoping you will see this logo in a better light after today.

    Enlarge / Unity is hoping you will see this logo in a better light after today.

    Unity has made major changes to the per-install Runtime Fee program it announced last week and made apologies for a policy that united large swathes of the game development community in anger .

    In a new blog post , Unity now says that projects made on current and earlier versions of Unity will not be subject to the new runtime fee structure. Only projects that upgrade to a new "Long Term Support" (LTS) version of Unity starting in 2024 and beyond will have to pay the charges, the company says.

    This change should eliminate at least some of the legal confusion over projects started under one set of terms being moved to a new set unilaterally. Unity has also restored a Github page that was set up in 2019 to help developers track Terms of Service changes and reinstated its commitment 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."

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      EU game devs ask regulators to look at Unity’s “anti-competitive” bundling

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 21 September, 2023 - 19:44

    EU game devs ask regulators to look at Unity’s “anti-competitive” bundling


    In the wake of Unity's sudden fee structure change announcement last week , a European trade group representing thousands of game developers is calling on governments to "update their regulatory framework" to curb what they see as a "looming market failure" caused by "potentially anti-competitive market behavior."

    In an open letter published last week , the European Games Developer Federation goes through a lot of the now-familiar arguments for why Unity's decision to charge up to $0.20 per game install will be bad for the industry. The federation of 23 national game developer trade associations argues that the new fee structure will make it "much harder for [small and midsize developers] to build reliable business plans" by "significantly increas[ing] the game development costs for most game developers relying on [Unity's] services."

    The organization also publicly worries about "professional game education institutions" that may need to update their curriculums wholesale if there is a mass exodus from Unity's engine. "Many young industry professionals who have built their career plans on mastering Unity’s tools [will be put] in a very difficult position."

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      Report: Unity considering revenue-based fee caps, self-reported install numbers

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 18 September, 2023 - 19:44

    Unity CEO John Riccitiello

    Enlarge / Unity CEO John Riccitiello (credit: Unity )

    The recently promised "changes" to Unity's controversial new per-install fee plan for developers could include hard limits based on a company's total revenue and developer self-reporting of installation numbers, according to a new report.

    Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier cites a recording of a ( threat-delayed ) Unity all-hands meeting in reporting that the company is tentatively considering limiting total fees to 4 percent of a game's revenue. That change would potentially ameliorate concerns that some developers could literally bankrupt themselves with games that generate lots of installs but relatively little revenue per player under the currently proposed fee structure.

    Bloomberg's report suggests this limit would apply to "customers making over $1 million," and it's not clear how smaller games and developers would be impacted by the potential change. For comparison, Epic's Unreal Engine currently charges a flat 5 percent royalty on all developer revenue after the first $1 million from studios using the engine.

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      Unity promises “changes” to install fee plans as developer fallout continues

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 18 September, 2023 - 15:29

    Unity says it will be announcing changes to its recently revealed fee structure in the coming days.

    Enlarge / Unity says it will be announcing changes to its recently revealed fee structure in the coming days. (credit: Unity)

    After nearly a week of protracted developer anger over a newly announced runtime fee of up to $0.20 per game install, Unity says it will be "making changes" to that policy and will share a further update "in a couple of days."

    In a late Sunday social media post , Unity offered apologies for the "confusion and angst" caused by the sudden announcement of the policy last Tuesday. "We are listening, talking to our team members, community, customers, and partners, and will be making changes to the policy," the post reads. "Thank you for your honest and critical feedback."

    It's currently unclear whether those changes will amount to tinkering around the edges of the fee structure as currently planned or represent a more complete rollback of the idea of charging install fees in the first place. But even a full about-face might not be enough to satisfy some longtime Unity developers at this point.

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      Wait, is Unity allowed to just change its fee structure like that?

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 15 September, 2023 - 18:06

    Pray I don't alter it any further...

    Enlarge / Pray I don't alter it any further... (credit: Aurich Lawson | Star Wars)

    If you were developing a Unity Engine game on Monday, you did so with the general understanding that you wouldn't be charged additional royalties or fees beyond your subscription to the Unity Editor software itself. If you were developing that same game on Tuesday, you were suddenly subject to shocking new terms that would impose charges of up to $0.20 per install (starting next year) after certain per-game revenue and install thresholds were reached.

    This change led to a firestorm of understandable anger and recrimination across the game development community. But it has also led some to wonder how such a massive change is even legally possible. Can Unity just unilaterally alter the fee structure its developers were relying on, even for development projects that were started (or even completed) under completely different legal terms?

    The answer, it seems, depends on how you interpret some seemingly contradictory clauses that have appeared in various Unity terms of service in recent years.

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      Unity shuts two offices, citing threats after controversial pricing changes

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 14 September, 2023 - 19:59

    The common "Powered by Unity" logo

    Enlarge / The common "Powered by Unity" logo

    Unity Technologies has temporarily closed two of its offices amid what the company says are threats to employee safety. The move follows Tuesday's announcement of a highly controversial new fee structure for the company's popular Unity Engine.

    News of the closures started dripping out via social media this morning, with employees describing "credible threats" reported to law enforcement and "safety threats" targeting the company's San Francisco and Austin, Texas, offices. "Surprising how far people are willing to go in today's age," Unity Product Manager Utsav Jamwal wrote . "Unfortunate."

    In a statement provided to multiple news outlets, a Unity spokesperson said that the company had "been made aware of a potential threat to some of our offices. We have taken immediate and proactive measures to ensure the safety of our employees, which is our top priority. We are closing our offices today and tomorrow that could be potential targets for this threat, and are fully cooperating with law enforcement on the investigation."

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      Unity’s new “per-install” pricing enrages the game development community

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 13 September, 2023 - 17:00 · 1 minute


    Enlarge / Kaboom! (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

    For years, the Unity Engine has earned goodwill from developers large and small for its royalty-free licensing structure, which meant developers incurred no extra costs based on how well a game sold. That goodwill has now been largely thrown out the window due to Unity's Tuesday announcement of a new fee structure that will start charging developers on a "per-install" basis after certain minimum thresholds are met.

    The newly introduced Unity Runtime Fee—which will go into effect on January 1, 2024—will impose different per-install costs based on the company's different subscription tiers. Those on the Unity Personal tier (which includes free basic Editor access) will be charged $0.20 per install after an individual game reaches $200,000 in annual revenue and 200,000 lifetime installs.

    Users of Unity's Pro and Enterprise tiers (which charge a separate annual subscription for access to a more full-featured Unity Editor) will pay slightly smaller per-install fees starting at $0.125 to $0.15 after a game reaches $1 million in annual revenue and 1 million total installs. The per-install fees for the paid subscription tiers are also subject to "volume discounts" for heavily installed games, going down as low as $0.01 per install for games that are installed 1 million times per month.

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