Unity recently changed their pricing policy. Although we understand the need for finance for the continuation of the services, we believe the way they do this is unacceptable and unethical for a few reasons.
First of all, we paid for seats for the integrated development environment that Unity provides to developers. This IDE is named by them as Unity Editor. As this is an IDE, you will expect to make projects and export the result and distribute it to your users. The export result of an IDE is one of the reasons you pay for that IDE. You can name it as what ever you want (in this case Unity names it as Unity Runtime), but it comes with the package, not separately. Now, what Unity unethically does is to get additional price from the use of exported product. They try to legalize their actions by declaring the exported product, which is the game itself we developers make, as a separate software they make. When this logic is accepted once, they see the right to charge for the use of that software. But, this is only twisting the reality and common practices.
This exported product consists of a data folder and an exe file. Nothing more. Data folder is defined by the content that developer creates as well as Unity’s translation layer from IDE to a product. Again, this is exactly why we pay for this IDE. This is the case for many years.
Now, they suddenly want to invent a new fee per install of this generated data (the game that is distributed, our game, our product). We find this unethical for the field of software development. It is like PDF viewer software companies charge people (in addition to their software fee) for every pdf they read.
Unity must ask this question to themselves, at this point: can they sell the same product without our content? They can’t! It is just an empty, meaningless, exported exe file, if they try to do so. When we look it like this, it is obvious what is selling is our product, not theirs. For their side, we have already paid when we purchased their IDE, which they name as Unity Editor.
Then, there is this little detail: they decided to charge every install of the game. Later, they said “new installs” but this is just a word play. They are asked - many times - to explain how they define this term “new installs” in detail in their official forums, but no answers came out until this moment. For now, if player buys just 1 copy and installs it into 3 different computers (including virtual machines), Unity says they will charge us 3 times. So, we will be charged 3 times for 1 copy of our product (not theirs). And maybe more, who knows?
Moreover, there are concerns about piracy situations. They tried to answer this twice, but their answers created more ambiguity. For example, if the game is copied and distributed by piracy, how they will detect this is a huge mystery. They have to detect it with very high accuracy to make any kind of business with the model they offer. But, they can not just say a satisfactory word about this. They say, they “have a similar system doing this job” in another field… Ok, well… In the next sentence they say “…take that as a starting point…”. ?!… What? They don’t have any idea?
So, no one knows (and explains in detail) what happens if some organized activity against our company is conducted somewhere out there, by just installing vast amount of copies of our game into virtual machines. Today, we know there are bots doing this job. But… No clear answers, just word plays, and same ****t. Additionally, they say they will work closely with developers on this, but, well… Good morning!.. Ok, then, explain how that work will be conducted in detail, please. Not a single word…
Another issue is with the “detection” action: they imply that they will collect some information from the player’s computer, but they do not state exactly what information they will collect. They don’t say “no information from player’s computer”, either. This might compromise our customers’ information now or in the future, causing our customers to sue us. (Very simple! A child can think of these types of consequences). Because of that, we need to know every detail about this process before releasing our product to the market with Unity. Again, a deep silence about this.
We are following the official forum tread for 3 days, now. Our impression is that they do not have answers to these questions. Even, they do not have proved, working, ready to use solutions to the most critical aspects of the pricing plan they introduce. In fact, they are creating security risks for our business to operate and these risks seem to be effective indefinitely once we allow them.
Moreover, they enabled these changes retrospectively. Every year, they publish a new version of their IDE, and we agree with the terms of that specific year’s Terms of Service agreement. In our title Create Your Own Universe, we are using an older version of Unity Editor. When we tried to reach the Terms of Service agreement of our version (the original version at the time we downloaded the product), we see that they mysteriously removed their GitHub repository that holds a history of all of their old terms of services. Because, it gives us the right not to accept these new terms. Of course, we can go for a law suit with this, but… Well…
At this point, we think that this is a very coordinated, very conscious action by Unity. What they are trying to do is one thing, how they do is another. This has only one name as far as we know: greed!
Therefore, today, we decided not to be part of this eco-system Unity created, and that we can not trust Unity anymore in anyways. We decided to move our almost ready to release game to Unreal Engine in cost of a few months of delay. We apologize our community for not being able to foresee this surrealism by Unity, and we will continue to share about our development progress in Unreal Engine.