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Unity issues apology, says it’ll do the things it should have done in the first place

The classic “We have heard you”
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Unity, the company behind the popular video game engine of the same name, caused a stir last week by announcing a drastic change in its pricing model. Widely regarded as completely unfair and borderline illegal, the announcement had players, developers, and publishers alike jump onto the barricades.

On September 18, 2023, Unity posted a statement on social media, containing a rather vanilla PR apology that really doesn’t say all that much: “We have heard you,” it begins. “We apologize for the confusion and angst the runtime fee policy we announced on Tuesday caused. We are listening, talking to our team members, community, customers, and partners, and will be making changes to the policy. We will share an update in a couple of days. Thank you for your honest and critical feedback.”

If only someone could have had the novel and brilliant idea to talk things through with “team members, community, customers, and partners” before making this colossally stupid move, huh? Oh wait, lots of Unity employees did actually warn leadership about what a disaster this was going to be and were promptly ignored.

As one developer talking to GLHF on the topic put it: “It is just pure greed.”

Is the strategy here to announce something completely disastrous, then walk it back a bit to make it appear like a great compromise, and give yourself a pat on the back? We’ll have to wait and see what changes Unity will actually implement, but with how much the trust between the company and its clients has been shaken by this move already, not even a full reversal would be enough to mend the cracks. A full backtrack seems unlikely anyways with how hellbent Unity’s corporate leadership seems to be on this course.

Reactions to the statement have been mild, to say the least, and that comes down to a lack of trust as well. Words, after all, are cheap. “Let’s see the changes,” The Game Awards founder and host Geoff Keighley wrote in response to the statement.

CohhCarnage, one of the most respected streamers on Twitch, summarized what many other people thought upon reading the post: “We have heard you. We have not listened to you. Here is a bunch of marketing talk to make you think we're doing something when in actuality we're just figuring out how to keep doing what we've already decided to do. Thanks for your honest and critical feedback. What? Seriously.”