Unity apologizes for controversial new pricing scheme, 'will be making changes to the policy'

John Riccitiello
(Image credit: Bloomberg (Getty Images))

When game engine company Unity announced a change to its pricing plan last week, the response from developers was overwhelmingly negative. The change would mean developers would be charged an increasing fee as they crossed set thresholds every time their games were installed. It was called, among plenty of other things, "an astonishing scumbag move".

In addition to criticism from game developers, Unity was sent a "potential threat" that was serious enough the company closed two of its offices and canceled a CEO meeting after receiving it.

Now, Unity has issued an official apology and explained that it will "be making changes" to the announced policy. "We have heard you", the statement begins. "We apologize for the confusion and angst the runtime fee policy we announced on Tuesday caused. We are listening, talking to our team members, community, customers, and partners, and will be making changes to the policy. We will share an update in a couple of days. Thank you for your honest and critical feedback."

The pricing change was seen as an impediment to including games in bundles, giveaways, and subscription services like Game Pass, which would pass the fees back down to developers. It was also criticized for being applied to games that have already released, as long as they continue to be distributed after the new policy goes into effect on January 1, 2024.

Developers remain critical of this latest statement from Unity. "There wasn't any 'confusion'," said Trent Kusters of Jumplight Odyssey studio League of Geeks. "In fact, the exact opposite is the concerning issue here; That we all, very clearly, understood the devastating impact and anti-developer sentiment of your new pricing model far better than you ever did (or cared to) before rolling it out."

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.