Tired of the usual villains in the video game world? EA and Denuvo just getting to be boring old hat? Well not to worry my friends, it seems the villains can change teams like a radioactive free agent, spreading cancer wherever they go. Unity CEO John Riccitello used to be an EA CEO, that’s a red flag. Now all of a sudden they change their entire business model to be heavily geared toward money-hungry and damaging fee policies? It’s an interesting coincedence, but probably totally unrelated… wink wink nudge nudge. So what is Unity up to, you may ask?

Well let’s say you download a new game from your friendly neighborhood indie developer, and they developed their passion project in Unity. As soon as you install that game? BOOM. Fee charged to developer, Unity thanks you for installing. Ah, don’t you just love it? I’m sure it’s really going to get creative juices flowing, I’m really sure we’re going to get some risk-taking and groundbreaking games. This won’t at all push more games into rampant and exploitative monetization practices, no sir. Oh and don’t think you’re safe either if you are paying hand over fist for the Pro or Enterprise versions of the engine, you’ll just have a slightly higher threshold before we fee bomb you as well. This is all being called the Unity Runtime Fee. Catchy, rolls right off the tongue.

This is obviously a pretty significantly despicable blow to a large portion of the development community, and indie developers are appropriately outraged. Cult of the Lamb developer Massive Monster has talked delisting when fees take effect, as well as Innersloth with Among Us. Numerous indie developers in upcoming development are looking at the possibility of it being cheaper to just scrap their progress on Unity altogether and start new with a different engine. Anticipated titles like the upcoming Hollow Knight Silk Song are in danger, as well as existing beloved indies like Cuphead, Tunic, Outer Wilds, Fall Guys, and so much more! Indie developers all over are scrambling to figure out what they’re going to do about this in light of a potential reality where they may be unable to financially sustain their games.

Oh, but Unity will make sure they don’t charge for charity bundle games, that’s nice. And if it’s on Game Pass then Microsoft gets to foot the bill instead of the developer, isn’t that nice? Yeah I’m sure that won’t at all result in the added cost being passed down to the subscribers. Rest assured, somebody will get screwed by the fees, but it will never be those ultra-wealthy fat cats up at the top. They have taken the proper precautions after all, like formerly mentioned Unity CEO John Riccitello offloading 2,000 shares of Unity stock just before the announcement of this new fee fiasco. What’s wrong, doesn’t he want to increase his net worth as those stocks will surely skyrocket after everyone praises Unity for this wonderful new fee program?

Needless to say that while this is disappointing, it is in no way surprising. The games industry has been on this path of relentless profiteering for a long while now and I shudder to think of what the next big nickel and dime scheme is going to be. All I can say to you, my fellow gamers, is vote with your wallets. Don’t support games or game-related practices that hurt the industry, that make it more of a soulless corporate husk than it has already become. Reward creativity and positive innovation, reward practices that make the industry consumer-focused and customer friendly. Support open-source and freeware alternatives. This is the only way we can protect the creativity and the passion that comes from these small, risk-taking teams that are still trying to innovate in an industry bogged down with clones and copy-cats and corporate checklists.