It’s time to ditch Unity, so what’s next? | by Lew C | September 2023


Overmonetization makes it a poor engine choice

Unity logo credit from

Let me paint a picture for you. You are a small independent developer working on a game that will be released in a year or two. Maybe your team is just a few people (or maybe it’s just you!). Long nights, coding sessions, and all your effort goes into creating and delivering a game.

Maybe you don’t do it as much, even for the money. Maybe it’s a charity or another noble cause. You’ve already studied the very confusing Unity licensing documentation and discovered that yes, you can use Unity until your game starts earning more than a certain amount per year.

And then, suddenly, without any consultation, Unity introduces another layer into its licensing pie model. It’s a new charge that applies based on the number of times your game is installed. Basically, every time you use “Unity Runtime”, which of course all Unity based games use, at some point you will receive “up to” 20c per install, for every install done after install number 200 000.

Naturally, game developers are furious, and there is no shortage of questions. Can bad actors who hate a certain game developer repeatedly uninstall and reinstall their game to cause them some sort of loss? Does every Unity game now require a constant connection and will it send information to Unity servers to make this easier to track? How will Unity fingerprint individual computers and devices for compliance? Will all future Unity games have to be online-only? And so on. There have been a few responses to the questions above, but from what I’ve seen they’ve simply been “No, it won’t be a problem” without delving deeper. how it won’t be a problem.

By calling it that, it’s actually a tax on your gambling. But most other reasonable taxes you pay over the course of your life are based on your income, and for good reason. If you earn a lot, you pay a lot of taxes. If you don’t win anything, you don’t pay anything. This is a good situation because if your game doesn’t make a lot of money in the long run, you won’t have a huge bill. It also requires no monitoring or other invasive calculations.


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