The death of unity

I wrote a thing about the new unity pricing scheme and how it basically means the end of an era. Nobody will use it after this, unless the backlash is so huge that they walk it back. Hopefully it's accessible enough that everyone can understand it.

Having fun writing articles on insert credit again!! Sorry it's all insider dirt but that's the only thing that can get me hopped up to write these days.

it's called Unity because Everyone disliked that

Do these embed?

If not, it is the ex-head of rendering from unity (he left in 2021) saying


This has all exact same vibes as what Adobe was doing wrt Flash a decade ago. Flash died soon after. It’s *not* a trajectory you want to emulate, Unity!

Me, currently working on my employer’s first Unity game: lol, lmao

doing some napkin math, and if one was really dedicated to installing demonschool I think they could cost necrosoft games a good 70K annually lol

It feels devastating because lately it feels like there‘s a cash grab in all aspects of culture and entertainment, but the Unity one might destroy a lot of companies if unchanged. It’d laugh at Unity if it weren‘t for the consequences that would bring to a lot of interesting devs, both small and indie ones.

The Riccicato dude (I’m going to call him pichi corto from now on) must not work again in any videogame company-related thing.

Note: pichi corto (although I prefer picha corta) is small dick in Spanish.

are these terms in place only while a developer has an active unity license? Are the developers of, for example, a successful unity game published in 2021 going to get a bill? That can't be legal can it

@“yeso”#p132678 This is absolutely a thing - people could weaponize it.

Also, since nobody signed up for this, we could be on the hook for massive amounts of money. 900,000 people own Gunhouse from the bundle for ukraine, but haven't installed it yet. with a concerted install effort, basically we'd go bankrupt.

Also yeah, any game with new installs after january 2024 will be on the hook for it.

there has to be more to this. Unity is going to get extremely sued if that's the case

then again, if this is all part of inflating the company‘s value for plunder before it implodes then they certainly don’t care

@“exodus”#p132681 time for indies to sunset their LLCs / GmbHs / Pty Ltds / etc, so the bill goes nowhere.

(Problem: the revenue also goes nowhere, but for old material donated to a charity bundle perhaps that isn’t a concern?)

(No, this isn’t a 100% serious suggestion — but not 0% either)

you couldn't even sell your studio because it would be a perpetual time bomb of unknown liability lol

@“yeso”#p132682 So the thing that they theoretically think solves this is if your game isn‘t making revenue, you’re not on the hook for it because you won‘t have passed the revenue threshold where this ticks over ($200k). but if you, for example, get a gamepass deal, or a PS+ deal, then suddenly you are on the hook for it, and then you’re just massively screwed in activations.

Sure seems like something every platform holder or store front would want to fight!

it seems like a way to coerce developers they consider free riders to purchase higher-tier licenses, but even those don‘t seem to offer much of a safe harbor from getting fucked by install fees if I’m reading it correctly

Yeah, this major blows. I see lots of people on Twitter with “sucks not to use _______ engine haha,” but there are no winners here. Yes, I‘m thankful to use Unreal right now, but this just proves any company like this can easily screw over their adopters at a moment’s notice. Your choice of engine shouldn‘t be a retroactive death sentence financially that you have no control over. Even if they modify their language to clarify some of the stickier points, there’s so many worrisome issues. Could people hack games to modify the install checks in a malicious way? I really hope we‘ll see these changes rolled back (and with the amount of outcry, I think it’s likely), but the more terrifying prospect is “what if they don't?”

Ah nice so it’s even easier to fuck over some dev you have a psycho vendetta against, just keep deleting and reinstalling the game!

restaurants pay for the business license but are now charged an additional fee per chew

Riccitielo has always given me the vibe that he just hates customers. Not just that he hates people that play games or indie developers … or even anyone or thing to do with games or the games industry.

For example, he could move on to becoming the CEO of Nabisco and he'd despise people that buy Oreos. He'd go on record calling them fucking slobs, while devising a way to make consuming Oreos feel like a punishment.

Anyways! I'm one of those lone indie developers that Riccitielo thinks is a, "Fucking Idiot" ... and I don't know how I am going to pivot away from this mess without feeling like I just wasted a good chunk of my life to Unity. /venting

I really hope Necrosoft/Demonschool can navigate this. What a cluster fuck.

i said this elsewhere and it's talked about a bit in this article but like…

so much of the current proliferation of smaller scale developers being able to realize more ambitious things in their games (especially basically any 3D game) is because how many random plugins and tutorials there are for Unity that people made over the years to make things easier for developers, esp those who don’t really know much about coding. that’s really how so many people use Unity at this point - just dragging and dropping and tweaking a bunch of pre-made tools. you can have critiques about how this has affected how so many games in the space are designed around this now - because it absolutely has. but the fact is that games that utilize all of that work that's built up over multiple decades have become the expectation on the player/audience side too - even for small/free games.

so when that’s gone when people stop using Unity… which could also mean a lot of people who are so entrenched in Unity just giving up on game development. certainly if you’re someone who is a small developer who has used Unity for your game, you’re incentivized for not ever wanting greater success on it lest you hit that 200,000 mark somewhere down the line and go in debt (which could happen under so many different circumstances that people have outlined). being successful at a mid level suddenly becomes a massive liability you want to avoid. indie publishers will probably also want to avoid publishing any games made in Unity either, because it could be a really big financial hit to them as well. which means devs are basically unable to seek more avenues to promote their thing without being in a worse situation. and ofc, the subscription costs for companies developing in Unity have gone way up as well and made things way more difficult. so those who do have the resources and are still able to meet player/audience expectations will continue to do well while more people are pushed out of the space. another sort of rich get richer while more people get pushed to the margins moment.

so even if you're a developer who has never really used Unity and this doesn't affect you personally, these things suddenly changing could have the effect of tanking a lot of different spaces. especially any spaces that depend on all these different makeshift Unity plugins/tutorials and a quicker turnaround time for development. it kills the momentum of a lot of development in a way that could have a huge impact in the long run. especially if we have publishers suddenly saying "we're not going to publish Unity games" because they don't want to take on the financial risk either.

it's very possible Unity will walk this back, given how catastrophically bad it is and how much pushback it's getting but also - who knows at this point?

the pandemic has really been a huge fumble the bag moment for companies that expected perpetual growth and now are suddenly hitting a wall. the increase in revenue and visibility so many games suddenly had in 2020 and 2021 has tapered off now, which leads to a lot of panicked decisions from companies who don't know how to deal with the relative lack of growth compared to those peak pandemic years. interest rates are also higher than they used to be in the 2010's for startups, so there's a lot of fear that this whole space that depended on a lot of free investor money to stay afloat could collapse bc people start getting way stingier and pulling their money. and a lot of ecosystems that depend on these companies to function have basically eaten shit as a result. it's happened to game journalism and bc of this sort of stuff, it's happening to indie dev now too. in the absence of more stable models of ownership and preservation, a lot of stuff can very easily and quickly cease to exist.