Unity boycott begins as devs switch off ads to force a Runtime Fee reversal - Mobilegamer.biz German

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.


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

@woelkchen@lemmy.world avatar

They turned off ads? Great. Can that be a standoff that lasts forever?

@vlad76@lemmy.sdf.org avatar

I bet it’ll last less time then the reddit standoff. But I do wish them all of the luck. Fuck Unity and their bullshit fees.

Epicurus0319, (edited )

But hey, at least they didn’t give it a set end date; from the very start of their “strike” the reddit mods straight up admitted that they couldn’t stay away from their unpaid powertrips and leave their octogenerian mothers’ basements for more than 2 days, and instantly folded at a single empty threat to take away the only thing in their lives that’ll ever give them purpose and make them feel like they wield power over others.


Don't shove us all under the same rug. I packed my bags, shred my old comments and posts and went into the Fediverse.


You were the exception not the rule unfortunately

DaGeek247 avatar

Nope. Content creators, the ones doing all the talking on reddit, definitely left. Check out this graph of posts per day on r/askreddit


Sorry for the triple post, lag got me (I accidentally just posted the same comment 3 times within mere milliseconds of each other)

be_excellent_to_each_other avatar

From what I've heard, a lot of it is bot posts now. So if you subtract out the bots I wonder if that delta gets even bigger.

@zecg@lemmy.world avatar

Don’t shove us all under the same rug. I packed my bags, shred my old comments and posts and went into the Fediverse.

There’s dozens of us. DOZENS!

@sibachian@lemmy.ml avatar

eh? do people still use reddit even? last i heard they have employees actively create threads now to try and keep engagement going.

Epicurus0319, (edited )

Now it’s down to just the low-effort memes, ”religious people bad”/“reddit good everywhere else bad” circlejerks, unhelpful advice, and edgy 14 year olds who just discovered politics, thinking homophobia and fragile masculinity are “based” and that they’re communist because they hate their home country because something something pronouns, know 2 russian words (both obscenities), have been playing too many WW2-themed games and say comrade every 4 seconds all despite coming from money themselves and supporting a war being waged by a far-right regime.



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  • Epicurus0319,

    Despite usually being one himself

    JBloodthorn avatar

    Don't forget the 4+ "rate me" subs that started hitting the front page every day.

    Epicurus0319, (edited )

    Ah yes, the horny college kids/50-yo divorcees with a camera and way too much free time


    Reddit employees searching TikTok for memes to repost to Reddit be like:

    are ya winning dad? meme


    There are some special interest subreddits still running almost like before. Subs with a population of a few thousand, with the active members using names that pertain to the sub

    Those haven’t moved, at least the non-techie ones haven’t

    drcobaltjedi, (edited )

    Hey some of us said we’d go on indefinately and after being told to open decided to maliously comply only. /r/baduibattles a sub I started is now only letting posts be of New reddit or the Reddit app. User involvement has plummeted, there are fewer posts, each with votes and comments. Automod also posts telling people to join us at !bad_ui_battles


    Written like someone who wasn’t actually paying attention to the subreddits during that time

    @vlad76@lemmy.sdf.org avatar

    That’s true. Although, having that limit probably got more of them to participate. So while the impact was short, it was more noticeable.


    I’m confused about what you want.

    Mods literally got replaced by reddit because they refused to capitulate.

    I’m not a fan of reddits choices, but if I was deeply involved in a community I’d consider staying to be part of that community still.


    With the difference there are money on the table this time


    And they know precisely what’s at stake, and that in any case continuing to use an engine now run by dangerous morons intent on destroying it for a quick buck will not be an option, as we all know Unity will strive for its stated goal of screwing them over like this, be it suddenly and shamelessly like they’re hoping to do or by slowly boiling the frog over many years. And then those devs would lose everything.

    The devs can’t afford to fold. The other forum’s powermods folded because they not only could’ve afforded to, but also because upon realizing just how expendable they were, they didn’t want to risk losing the source of their god complex. That, and given that site’s users’ history of bringing feathers to knife fights their failure to enact the change they wanted was hardly surprising.

    chameleon avatar

    I think this one will work. Most of these games are already "multihomed" on different ad networks and display the one that is most profitable to them at any given time, or a semi-random mixture. The differences in profitably aren't that huge, and it will get even worse if advertisers run away from Unity too. Unity is making an absolute killing from their ads division, and this is now being threatened.

    And who are the advertisers? Other game devs. The whole mobile game advertising scene is one gigantic ouroboros with the ad platforms cutting off a huge portion in the middle. If you leave, you're going to both stop showing ads and stop your advertising there.

    @driving_crooner@lemmy.eco.br avatar

    I haven’t play games with ads in years, but O remember getting a lot of Christian ads, like Bible verses and such. It was even worse that regular buy shit ads imo.


    I wanted to add a scathing remark about “shoving your in our pious face!” but it practically writes itself.



    Nice word for “circlejerk”…

    cutting off a huge portion in the middle

    …but this imagery is disturbing.

    chameleon avatar

    Yeah on second thought it's maybe a bit more vivid than intended, but it fits what I think is going to happen. Below the top 1-2% of mobile games, it's one big pile of endlessly recycled advertising money. Spend a million in ads, make $800k in ads and $500k in microtransactions, and the $300k is where you have to pay everything else from. Unity is about to bite into that hard and doesn't care if it leaves behind some wounds.


    Hence, ouroboros.


    I hope unity’s shareholders are happy with what they hoped for. This is the result of driving a company too far. Let’s makes this a guideline to follow for other companies not to make such shady decisions.

    It becomes more appearent with every new instance of protest that there’s something equally valuable for a company as money, and that is community trust. Because losing it can stop growth. I love the new layer of accountability we obtained with the internet.


    The problem is a lot of executive compensation packages are based on short term growth rather than long term growth. So CEOs are incentivized to maximize profits today at the expense of tomorrow so they can get that sweet sweet bonus money. It’s a fundamental flaw with our entire economic system that I don’t think is likely to fix itself.


    Well looks like even short term profits are being threatened. Good.


    I think they believe that they can use the increased profit of today to fix the losses of tomorrow.

    But trust in general comes by foot and goed on horseback, and that is especially true with communities.


    Shareholders aren’t humans with ethics or a conscience. Remember when bby koty was in the news for sex harass? Bliz stuck went down. War Bufet bought bliz stucks and then when the new cycle moved on bliz stuck rebound and war buf MADE FUCKING MONEY OFF OF A SEX HARASS.

    And then there was a news cycle about how smet war buf is.

    There is no accountability. There is only money.


    This was a tough read for me. Is this what it feels like to be dyslexic?


    War Bufet.




    Dude, this isn’t Twitter, I mean xitter (pronounce x as sh); use your big boy words.

    honey_im_meat_grinding, (edited )

    I hope unity’s shareholders are happy with what they hoped for. This is the result of driving a company too far. Let’s makes this a guideline to follow for other companies not to make such shady decisions.

    I don’t think that’s going to happen as long as the ownership structures surrounding shareholders remains the same. It’s not the average person who invests in Unity that’s doing this, it’s the wealthy equity firms with significant holdings that are pushing for this unsustainable behaviour. After the 2008 crash, the EU, the US, Canada, and the UK all did studies on the economic stability of coops (1-person-1-vote democratically owned businesses) versus traditional companies and found that the coops were considerably more sustainable:

    The cooperative banking sector had 20% market share of the European banking sector, but accounted for only 7 percent of all the write-downs and losses between the third quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2011.

    (UK) A further study found that after ten years 44 percent of cooperatives were still in operation, compared with only 20 percent for all enterprises.

    (US) Credit unions, a type of cooperative bank, had five times lower failure rate than other banks during the financial crisis and more than doubled lending to small businesses between 2008 and 2016, from $30 billion to $60 billion, while lending to small businesses overall during the same period declined by around $100 billion.

    A 2010 report by the Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export in Québec found the five-year survival rate and ten-year survival rate of cooperatives in Québec to be 62% and 44% respectively compared to 35% and 20% for conventional firms.

    There’s also a study using 100 years of data on French wine coops vs non-coop wine companies showing similar results: not only do coops survive longer, the survival rate gap widens over time as more and more non-coops collapse [Cooperatives versus Corporations: Survival in the French Wine Industry. Journal of Wine Economics, 13(3), 328-354. doi:10.1017/jwe.2017.1]


    Perhaps it is time for big companies to start funding Godot?



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  • mightyfoolish,

    Hopefully we see this with more FOSS going forward.


    I don’t fully understand why they need to do this. What is the cost of their service? Using the tool is already a subscription service, what else do they want? It’s not like they have cloud services. They just want free money I guess?


    They don’t need to do this. It’s rent seeking behavior.


    How did you conclude that? How else are they supposed to not make 193 million in losses?

    @HeyThisIsntTheYMCA@lemmy.world avatar

    Well there’s almost 100 million in total comp to the top 5 officers alone


    They need something to become sustainable. They’ve been making losses for years. But thata definetly not the way. Other ways would be to lock some future features behind paywalls, and / or to increase their cut of the sales price per unit sold in the future.


    I wonder though why they’ve been making losses for years - probably because of all the acquisitions? Looks like they were just another “grow now, revenue later” company that is now too big to be able to afford itself

    @captain_aggravated@sh.itjust.works avatar

    So, here’s my understanding:

    Unity has an in-house advertising/monetization system called LevelPlay. It’s their system for putting ads/analytics/etc. in games. But not a lot of people use it; a lot of people use a direct competitor called AppLovin, which is just outright better.

    Several developers have reported Unity quietly reaching out to them and saying “Hey, we see you’re using AppLovin…if you switch over to our LevelPlay service instead, we might just waive some or all of our new Fuck You Fee.”

    So apparently this is being done to kill a competitor.


    2023 truly is the year of unfathomably bad business decisions.


    2023 is the year the free money stopped flowing. Without limitless 0% interest money, tech companies that have been losing money for their entire existence have to start making a profit or go bankrupt.


    Fuck a reversal. Boycott unity.


    Anyone wishing to go back at unity after what they did is an idiot.

    halfempty avatar

    Nope. At any point in the future, Unity could simply stop the runtime fee waiver, and the developers would be screwed.


    Something I think people miss is, at any point in the future anyone can make any inane pricing decision, and people are screwed in lieu of response.

    The one apple seller in a town that sells all kinds of baked goods jacks up prices of apples to $100 each. There will be an outcry, people will scramble to get another apple supplier, and in the meantime they will have a hard time putting out products.

    This is basically what we’re seeing now: Inane pricing hurts everyone, we just need to make sure overall it hurts Unity more. I can only imagine we ever see this type of thing from crazed MBAs that are increasingly out of touch with reality and consequence.


    This is mafia/mob-like like behavior from unity. It’s a shake down, pure and simple.


    That’s an interesting perspective. From my limited understanding, it might be plausible to prove in court. Could anyone be enticed to bring a RICO suit against them?


    The one apple seller in a town that sells all kinds of baked goods jacks up prices of apples to $100 each.

    No, it’s more like one apple seller who arbitrarily decides that the people who already bought apples from them at a lower price now need to pay extra.


    All the more reason to pour into a Free and Open Source alternative like Godot.


    What a power move. It’s inspiring to see the community come together.

    @Tenthrow@lemmy.world avatar

    An explainer in case you weren’t already in the know about Unity’s misdeeds like I wasn’t until now:



    This was a long time coming. In every instance so far, the “little” people (devals, programmers, studios and so on) have been cast aside for more everything be it exposure or money or other companies. They all see ti get far too big for their britches and at the same time forget where they came from and who helped make them who they are. It’s about time this standing up to Big Corp happens. They have FA far too long its time those “little” people teach Big Corp a lesson and make Big Corp FO. Business is about (or at least should be)far more than money and making obscene abouts of profits year over year. When people have nothing left to lose and people feel pushed into a corner for too long they’re gonna fight back. It’s happened all through history. Let this be the chage that needs to happen.


    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.

    And also in app purchases, subscriptions, pay to win, etc.


    I hear you but that’s also the kind of games that overpopulates the market and brings money. Some shitty exploitative timekillers for smartphones are bigger than top ten AAA games combined. Idk any of these companies, but if abusive apps’ devs come to discussing that, it means a lot.


    Yeah, I gotta admit that the impact this will have on the F2P P2W market is kinda a silver lining to this whole thing.


    Better off just cutting ties and moving on, true colors don’t really change


    ‘cutting ties and moving on’ would require a total rebuild of their games in a new engine. it doesn’t really work that way.


    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.

    StarServal avatar

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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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?


    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.


    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.


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


    So better go bankrupt and lose your business and everything you built right now without trying, right? How pragmatic.


    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.


    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.


    I think the word you’re looking for is “extortion”.


    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.

    downpunxx avatar

    well, it does, it just means a great deal of time, money and effort


    Every company I worked in always had a plan B.

    Being fully under the whims of a service is how companies die. And unity is going to put a financial stranglehold on so many businesses. So really if they aren’t planning to cut ties, they won’t survive in a few years.


    I’ve felt this same way about content creators complaining about YouTube. It’s far too risky to develop your life plan around a particular company continuing their service.


    Most channels have a patreon because of that reason. Better to have the fans support you than whatever new monetization model YouTube comes up with. (No bad words in the first minute, reviewers have to play movies flipped so they won’t be copyright struck, ads can do whatever they want but if you make a video talking about said ads only using those ads you guessed it demonetized). Google (alphabet)is an empire at this point and we need the government to create a new branch of government to handle online businesses because our 80+ year old representatives came understand that Mark Zuckerberg has nothing to do with iPhones.


    Rip the band aid now. Stop all development in unity. Unity has shown that it’s obsolete.


    Who’s going to pay salary for the year plus of retooling and retraining? You?


    Who’s going to pay the new fees imposed by unity?


    The company making enough money to trigger said fees?

    I dont support this new structure, but its not like these fees are attacking game companies which have no profits


    The companies will if they choose to, it’ll be a massive hit it’ll stop them coming to subscription services, it’ll stop them coming to cloud services, it’ll stop demos and free weekends, it’ll probably hinder experimentation and early access. But the companies can eak out a way of surviving.

    Which they can’t without revenue because they downed tools for a few years to retool on something entirely new


    And that’s why tools to migrate to another engine are now a must, like this one! github.com/barcoderdev/unitypackage_godot


    You can't just cut ties in this scenario. These games are already built on the unity engine, it's not feasible to rebuild it again on a totally different engine, and now unity is going to apply new fees to all these already existing games.


    Can’t just pay these ridiculous fees either, I have no belief that Unity will back track in any way here unfortunately

    downpunxx avatar

    you can't simply change the fundamental underlying engine that's powering your software, it might take as much time to re-engineer for a new engine that it did in developing the game in the first place, and small studios don't have that kind of headcount or budget


    Seriously this.

    Once the heat dies down, they’ll ramp up again.


    If the heat dies down then devs will have time to finish their current projects and switch to new engines for the next ones. Even a temporary walk-back would be enough to prevent disaster for a lot of studios.

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