Unity is about to get more expensive for developers, that much is clear. What’s just as clear is that Unity Software CEO John Riccitiello has been offloading company shares prior to this announcement.
Unity announced new fees for Unity Runtime today, the code that effectively makes games made with the Unity engine work for individual players. The Unity Runtime Fee applies to games that meet certain minimum revenue and game installation counts. Games on Unity Personal and Unity Plus that made $200,000 or more over the last 12 months and hit 200,000 game installs in their lifetime will be subject to the fee, as well as Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise games that hit $1 million over 12 months and a million game installs.
Unity will charge $0.20 per install for its Personal and Plus versions regardless of how many installs a game goes over that threshold, with sliding scale fees for Pro and Enterprise.
The move was roundly criticized by game developers and fans of free games that manage high download and install numbers, noting that the new fees could easily surpass the money the devs actually made on those games.
Fees could easily reach into the hundreds of thousands and even millions for games that don’t generate much revenue but do have high game install counts.
Six days prior to Unity’s announcement, Riccitiello, the president and CEO of Unity Software, sold off 2,000 company shares, according to Yahoo Finance. The same report also notes that Riccitiello has sold over 50,000 shares in the company over the last year and purchased none.
Riccitiello is also the former CEO of EA, and many in the discussion about Unity’s new fees have brought up comments he made last year about game devs, including some choice words about developers who didn’t want to focus on monetization in the early stages of game development.
At least he’s consistent in maintaining an early focus on the money: Yahoo noted that Riccitiello’s Unity shares were trading at about $40 when he sold them on Sept. 6, while Unity’s stock briefly tumbled to $37.53 this morning after the announcement, before stabilizing around $38.
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