It seems that the tension generated by Unity’s announcement regarding its pricing policy continues to escalate. After several particularly tense days, it appears to have reached its peak on September 14th when the offices of the company, a favorite among indie developers, remained closed due to a “credible” death threat. In fact, the company’s CEO, John Riccitiello, had to cancel a significant commitment with several employees because of this. However, despite the seriousness with which the threat was taken, its source is still unknown.
An extremely controversial change
This threat comes in an extremely tense context after Unity officially announced a change in its pricing policy for the use of its game engine in general and its Unity Runtime App tool in particular. This new policy is set to take effect starting January 1, 2024, and would charge developers a fee per download beyond a certain number of installations, potentially putting the indie game industry at risk and potentially ending some models supported by freemium or ad-supported games.
As expected, Unity game developers have not taken this news well, and the reactions have been not only very negative but also quite visceral. Many developers fear they won’t be able to continue their projects, quite a few have opted to start learning other game engines and programming languages, and a significant group has chosen to migrate their games to other game engines with more favorable terms or have decided not to work with Unity anymore.
A particular case has been the developers of “Cult of the Lamb,” one of the most popular indie games in recent years, who have already announced that if Unity continues with its intentions, any game they have for sale on that engine will disappear. This includes, as expected, “Cult of the Lamb.”