- Unity faces developer backlash over its controversial runtime fee announcement, causing a significant shift in sentiment against the company.
- Top Unity officials, including the CEO, sold shares just days before the fee announcement, leading to concerns about the company's future.
- Unity's attempts to address developer concerns have failed. Developers are considering removing their games from the store to avoid the per-installation fee.
Unity finds itself in increasingly hot water following its controversial runtime fee announcement. Developers' sentiment has drastically shifted against Unity. However, recent developments suggest Unity's executives were bracing for the backlash.
According to an earlier report by Guru Focus, the top Unity officials sold multiple shares days before the official runtime fee announcement. John Riccitiello, president and CEO of Unity Software Inc., sold 2,000 shares (each share sold for $40) on September 6, which is just six days before the runtime fee announcement by Unity. What's interesting is that Riccitiello has sold 50,610 shares over the past year while buying NONE. This trend doesn't leave a good impression.
Interestingly, the CEO wasn't the only one who sold his shares, as other board of directors and top executives have also sold their shares, according to NASDAQ. This indicates that insiders with deep knowledge of the company operations are divesting, hinting at concerns about its future.
Tomer Bar-Zeev, CEO of IronSource and president of Grow, offloaded 37,500 shares on September 1 at $37.45 per share. Meanwhile, Shlomo Dovrat, co-founder of Viola Ventures and a Unity board member, made a substantial sale on August 30, parting with 68,454 shares at $37.64 each, amounting to approximately $2.58 million in shares.
The motives behind these share sales, whether for diversification or other reasons, remain a subject of speculation. However, Unity Software Inc.'s track record of insider trades does raise suspicions, particularly for prospective investors. Over the past year, the company has witnessed no insider buys and a notable count of 49 insider sales, prompting concerns.
Unity's attempts to address developer concerns have fallen short, and discontent is mounting daily. The backlash against Unity has intensified, fueled further by the developer's learning of stock sales occurring shortly before the controversial announcement. This has led to a significant decline in Unity's stock value since the September 12 announcement.
Massive Monster, developers of The Cult of the Lamb, are considering pulling their games from the store to avoid the per-installation fee once the policy goes live on January 1, 2024.
Buy Cult of the Lamb now, cause we're deleting it on Jan 1st. 😘 https://t.co/nSWg9DP0sh
— Cult of the Lamb 💅 🌈 (@cultofthelamb) September 12, 2023
An indie developer went on Twitter to reveal that they would owe Unity $360,000, surpassing their game's earnings from 2.8 million installations which is just absurd.
> make a game
> game is fremium
> game makes 200k from in-app purchases after being installed 3 million times
> now owe Unity 20c per 2.8M installs, $560K
> that’s 360K more than we made https://t.co/6fe6Ob35Oj
— michael j foxney 🌵 (@kurtruslfanclub) September 12, 2023
Unity has yet to address this issue since the news about the stock sales surfaced. Unity's course of action remains unclear regarding their runtime fee and how they'll navigate the situation moving forward.