Forensic Friday 53: Unity Controversy

We’re still going through a bit of a transitional phase right now. With university on the horizon for one of us, and the other with a full time job, free time is at a premium right now, but we’re still striving to strike a balance for the future.

There are no new developmental updates this week, but we do want to offer our 2 cents on the whole controversy surrounding Unity’s new pricing model.

What is happening? #

Unity plans to charge developers on a per-install basis after certain revenue and game download thresholds are met. How they plan to track per-installations of a game is still unclear, but essentially it works out to be an additional tax on the game.

What’s our view? #

If we release the game, we are basically saying this won’t be a successful game. Which means why work on it? And if we want it to be a successful game, we enter the Unity pricing trap which could get worse with increasing inflation, and we threaten to lose money, unless we price containcorp super high from the get go, but this is all guesswork - we don’t know what will change in the future.

However, the biggest problem with all this is that Unity has set a precedent. They have shown that they are willing to change their TOS without consulting the wider community, and to the detriment of their users. The removal of their TOS from Github before this change shows they probably saw a backlash coming. Furthermore, this backtracks on previous promises made in 2019, which begs the question - can we trust anything they will say or do? The uncertainty this creates makes it very difficult to justify basing your livelyhood around.

How does this effect Containcorp? #

Regardless if Unity backtrack on this new pricing model, it’s the instability of their product that comes under question. If we were starting development today, there would be a good chance that we’d avoid Unity entirely. However, after more than 3 years of work, it seems infeasible to just start over again in a new engine. As the developers of Rust put it - “Let’s not make the same mistake again, Rust 2 definitely won’t be a Unity game.”

There are alternatives to Unity, but with aspects of our game so intertwined with using Unity - such as our UI solution - this isn’t really an option for us without creating further headaches.

In our case, we’re still expecting to continue development. We’re so close to our end goal that it’d be a waste of 3+ years. However, this news is definitely scary, and we’re still in the dark about what this means for us in the long term.

Case Closed #

No fancy images this week, just the solemn news about greed from corporate higher ups, who seem to be out of touch with both their clients and engineers alike. The general dissatisfaction across the entire community is telling. Unity have screwed up big time.

We can only hope they choose to revert back, but trust has been irreparably broken. We’ll be keeping a keen eye out for updates in the following days and weeks. On a brighter note, we’ll see you for Mythical Monday, where S-0114 Eternal Resurgence Anomaly will be gracing the Anomalous Wiki!

Case Closed.
The Team
Plasmarc Studios