Game developers flee Unity after exorbitant price plan announced, but not everyone can get out

Unity has a large office here in Brighton. I know several people who worked there, including one guy who quit, got tempted back with an offer of nearly double the salary, and then quit after a month upon realising that money doesn’t solve everything. The Brighton operation has been haemorrhaging staff over the last 18 months or so.


Some key excerpts from that article:

Amid an employee threat that temporarily shut down two Unity offices last week, The Verge reports hearing of a “bunker mentality” that has set in among employees, who have been told they can stay home even if their offices are open.

Longtime indie developer and industry consultant Rami Ismail also passed along stories of “super low” morale at Unity. “People are bewildered and tired of fighting the community they’re a part of,” he writes. “I have stopped counting how many Unity folks have pinged me to keep an eye out for potential new gigs. Be nice to them.”

ETA: From one of the comments on that article

  1. The CEO has been steadily selling off his stocks over the last year. He dumped 2000 shares just last week.

While the rest of your argument is strong, I thought he owned something like 3 million shares. This might have been simple sales for tax purposes, which CEOs do. I don’t think this was a significant reduction of his overall share. If I’m wrong, I apologize.


They’re having to issue statements about how they’ve fucked up and have rethought and will change the announced price plan, so obviously they do care to some degree (though probably not enough to completely drop their plans). The whole announcement was pretty obviously half-baked and ill-considered and they’ve been having to issue a stream of “clarifications” (that sometimes change or even reverse previous statements), but it’s just been non-stop chaos.

I don’t think they even thought about it, but the thing is, the bit they were ignoring is the bit that very much drives the rest of their business. They might have fixated on the mobile market that makes up most of commercial development (and pushing their ad system onto them), but they just spent billions of dollars buying companies that feed into Unity as a AAA dev and movie production tool (aping Unreal’s move into the movie business). Unity has dominated in educational environments, and those students aren’t dreaming about producing free-to-play mobile games, they’re largely aspiring to make bigger (PC/console) games, and those students feed into indie development. That userbase and their knowledge (and willingness to share it) has driven the rise of Unity. Without it, Unity withers.

So yeah, they might not want that ecosystem, and might have been unhealthily fixated on short-term profits, but they also clearly didn’t think it through and what that would mean, either long-term for the future of Unity, nor even how it would work as a coherent price plan. It’s par for the course for the company lately, as it seems to be making a lot of chaotic, poorly thought-out decisions.



Coming out of lurk to remind anyone who needs it that Penny Arcade are transphobic, misogynist, hateful douchebags who have spent the past twenty years doubling down on their beliefs every time they are challenged.

Fuck those jackasses and their conventions. Please don’t patronize them or boost their signal. They use their substantial wealth to hurt people like me.


Apparently, the company Ironsource was bought a while back by Unity which is interesting since the deal was that Unity would receive 1 billion on a 4 billion acquisition but the real twist is that a competitor to Ironsource was offering I think 14 billion or somewhere around that figure to not do the acquisition. Now, the math don’t add up if this is the case. I suspect that 1 billion mostly went to the C-suite thugs which is why this deal went through. Plus, Riccitello sold his shares of Unity just before the announcement which makes me think he wasn’t on board with the decision as much as he’s greedy I doubt he’s that stupid to sink the ship that hard. I think he’s been paid to take the fall (retire) and the ship will sink soon after I bet.

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2000 shares scheduled out of several million. I don’t think the sale has anything to do with it

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Hmm. The link to Geekwire with the text “fleeing to alternative game engines” doesn’t actually mention any altnerative engines being fleed to. Can any of the experts here suggest which platforms are likely to win from Unity’s stuff up?

Godot and Unreal Engine seem to be high on the list.


It’s surprisingly easy to forget what PAX stands for. Didn’t they divest of PAX events because of the exact shittiness you documented? I kind of thought it’s been it’s own thing for awhile?

Anyway, I discovered a fantastic game at IndieMegabooth that was developed and boothed by the trans folks who made the game at I think it was 2019 PAX West. So I dunno… I feel like the PAX events merit a more nuanced lens these days.

as far as i understand, they stopped associating their names with the conference – but it’s still their conference and they’ve been responsible for when and where it happens. “gabe” ( krahulik ) came back this year ( after a pandemic – not a “i learned things and am a better person now” – break )


Thanks for sharing those links. I was a former PA fan, before losing interest many years ago, so I was unaware of any of this stuff. Good to know.


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