Mobile game developers are now boycotting Unity by switching off its ad products, mobilegamer.biz can reveal.

The group is trying to force Unity into cancelling its proposed Runtime Fee policy.

At the time of publication, 16 different studios have pulled their Unity and IronSource ads: Azur Games, Voodoo, Homa, Century Games, SayGames, CrazyLabs, Original Games, Ducky, Burny Games, Inspired Square, Geisha Tokyo, tatsumaki games, KAYAC, New Story, Playgendary and Supercent.

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.

Sincerely,

Azur Games, Voodoo, Homa, Century Games, SayGames, CrazyLabs, Original Games, Ducky, Burny Games, Inspired Square, Geisha Tokyo, tatsumaki games, KAYAC, New Story, Playgendary, Supercent

…and all who sign this letter, engage in other forms of protest, or simply stand in solidarity with the gaming industry

  • @deranger@sh.itjust.works
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    296 months ago

    They’re going to try this bullshit again, or in another manner. Maybe having everything centralized onto a proprietary single point of failure isn’t a great idea.

    Cutting ties and moving on is the right answer.

    • @echo64@lemmy.world
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      266 months ago

      No one wants this situation, but the reality is that you can not switch from one engine to another engine without rebuilding the product. This is true for every game development company on the planet, this is how the industry is.

      we can sit and laugh at that and call them stupid for building an entire multi-billion dollar industry on this, or we can understand the realities of the whole thing.

      • @deranger@sh.itjust.works
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        6 months ago

        I’m not calling anyone stupid or laughing.

        The reality is they’ve shown their hand.

        Why anyone would continue to do business with them is insane to me. You’re setting yourself up for future failure.

        Sure, it’s not easy to switch engines; is this going to change in the future? I doubt it, so this is only delaying the inevitable.

        • @echo64@lemmy.world
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          136 months ago

          Why anyone would continue to do business with them is insane to me.

          1. you have a mature stack built entirely on the engine, that stacks the only thing that powers your companies revenue, if that stack did not exist then you would fold quickly
          2. you probably have an entire company of experts in this engine, an deep knowledge-base that you are throwing away if you move away, your ability to have speed and agility is likely crippled until you get up to speed anywhere else. good luck affording to pay for that monumental shift in your company. 3, almost all the talent in the industry (at your level) is on unity engine, good luck hiring for $obscure_engine

          basically, it’s incredibly naive to just say “just switch, obviously they are bad, they will be bad in the future too so switch”. it shows deep ignorance. it’s worth trying to understand the situation before saying any of this stuff.

          • @Hiccup@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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            56 months ago

            This isn’t a normal scenario/ situation. This is an all hands on deck emergency, worst case situation. You cannot continue with unity under any circumstances. This is a pivot moment with unity endangering your whole existence, as well as showing their obsolescence. Anybody that sticks with unity now is setting themselves up for failure. This installation charge isn’t just bad for developers/ businesses, but consumers as well and consumers will need to avoid unity games. Unless you’re a dev or really into gaming, most people probably couldn’t even tell you what a game engine is or what their favorite games’ are built in. This will now force them to be conscience of unity games and to avoid them.

          • @deranger@sh.itjust.works
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            56 months ago

            I’m saying that whole production concept is flawed. You’re at the mercy of a single company. You don’t need to explain it further than that. You’ve centralized and specialized too much. It’s naive to assume they aren’t going to squeeze developers again.

            Good luck to those who stay on Unity, you’re going to have a similar issue later down the line until they wear you out.

            • @Elderos@lemmings.world
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              56 months ago

              That is just reductionism. The post above yours went above and beyond to explain why they can’t just change the engine. For a lot of business it would mean bankruptcy now. So you understand that given the choice between bankruptcy now or maybe being squeezed again by Unity later, the latter is still more an attractive option, right?

              • @Hiccup@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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                -36 months ago

                Lose your business now or lose it later, what’s the difference? Unity is basically behaving like the mafia. The installation fee is protection money. Fuck 'em.

                • @Elderos@lemmings.world
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                  36 months ago

                  Calm down. It is a shit move and a break of trust but very, very few business will be bankrupted by those actual fees. You guys here are outraged but you have no stake in this, it is easy to claim that you’d burn your company to the ground to get rid of Unity, but there is a reason why only the rich indies are going to ditch Unity short-term.

              • @deranger@sh.itjust.works
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                -46 months ago

                They’ve got you perfectly situated for exploitation. You’re rationalizing sticking with an abusive partner.

      • @tvbusy@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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        46 months ago

        The fact that it’s impossible to change game on an ongoing/completed game is exactly the reason why everyone is angry. This is distortion, simple, just like the example of car being charged for miles mentioned in the article. It’s no coincidence that games are advertised as “built on …” since game engine decides how the game is built.

        • @Honytawk@lemmy.zip
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          26 months ago

          The thing is that switching engines isn’t impossible, it is just an extreme amount of work.

          The sad reality is that sometimes projects aren’t meant to last, most don’t even reach fruition. And I know it can be a hard pill to swallow, but it is sometimes necessary to rebuild an entire project, or drop it completely.

          Whether that necessity is valid depends entirely on the developer.

    • StarServal
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      6 months ago

      “Oops, we ratcheted up the heat too fast. We’ll need to do it again slower so the frogs don’t notice.”