Unity apologises for runtime fee policy, promises changes

Unity will announce an update to its controversial runtime fee policy in the coming days.
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Unity has issued a public apology for the “confusion and angst” around its recently-revealed runtime fee policy which, as initially announced, would have charged developers for every Unity-developed game install above a certain threshold, limiting potential profit. While a complete overhaul has not been detailed, Unity has promised an update in the coming days, following consultation with its team members and community, as well as a near-weeklong backlash on social media.

“We have heard you,” Unity announced on Twitter. “We apologise 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.”

Since Tuesday, feedback has been loud and persistent, with developers from all around the world criticising Unity for its sudden decision to charge developers for game installs. In the wake of the company’s initial announcement, many developers issued public statements against the move, revealing it would dent their profitability significantly, threaten their sustainability, and even potentially put them into debt.

Read: Game developers rally against Unity game engine pricing changes

Cult of the Lamb developer Massive Monster threatened to delete the game if the Unity runtime fee policy launched as planned, while also labelling the decision “stinky“. Many others claimed they would no longer be using Unity’s services going forward, as it would not be a sustainable business decision.

In the days following the announcement, Unity attempted to clarify its position, labelling the public outcry as being based on confusion. The company claimed the new policy would only impact 10% of game developers, and that for this reason, the backlash was not warranted. But unanswered questions about how Unity would measure installs accurately and without breaching privacy remained, as did criticism of the sudden decision to implement an install fee.

On Friday, the backlash mounted considerably as Unity received a ‘credible’ death threat that forced the evacuation of its physical offices. Later, this threat was alleged to have come from within Unity itself.

Now, a week on from the controversy, it appears the company is gearing up to make a definitive statement on the matter, with changes planned for the runtime fee policy. Following an update, there is hope the policy will become clearer, with amendments for its most criticised features – but whether or not Unity will completely revoke its planned terms remains unclear. Stay tuned in the coming days, as the company announces a reworked version of its controversial runtime fee policy.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.