AppLovin CEO Adam Foroughi has stepped into the Unity furore with an open letter to John Riccitiello. Foroughi says Unity should abandon its proposed Runtime Fee policy as it risks ‘tearing our industry apart’.
As we revealed yesterday, Unity account managers have been offering developers a Runtime Fee waiver if they switch to Unity’s LevelPlay product in a move we’re told is intended to “kill AppLovin”.
Now AppLovin’s CEO Foroughi has broken cover with a blog of his own. In it he confirms that AppLovin’s own studios are supporting the Unity boycott announced earlier today, and says Unity should “retract” the Runtime Fee “and shift to transparent price increases”.
“Don’t make this about advertising,” he continues. “Don’t make this an attack on indies. Go back and rethink the choices you’ve made.”
Here’s AppLovin CEO Adam Foroughi’s blog in full:
Over the past couple days numerous game developers have asked my opinion about the Unity pricing changes. Given that some of the changes look motivated by competition with our MAX product, I didn’t even know what to say, and the inspirational gaming community has already voiced the concerns very elegantly.
The reason I’m writing now is because a group of leading game developers, “United Game Devs”, are revolting against the changes by turning off the Unity and Ironsource ad relationships and we’re being asked if we also support these developers. Our gaming studios run independently, but all unanimously support this cause and are signing up to be a part of “United Game Devs”.
I know from speaking with our studios that no one wants to turn off Unity as it hurts the economics of everyone involved, but game developers feel under attack and they aren’t seeing any other choice right now.
As JR knows I really respect the community & software he has overseen the last many years. I believe the tools Unity has built, as well as the tools we’ve built, have been a cornerstone set of solutions that have helped this community prosper. Continuing to innovate and work with amazing developers is what inspires me to come to work every single day.
There was a time when I would’ve texted you this, but the actions you’ve taken seem too targeted at us for me to do that, so I’m voicing them here. Our jobs are to help this community expand while also running our businesses. The decision you made doesn’t help the community, and the backlash you’ve seen is reflective of that. But what you may or may not be hearing is that there isn’t a single user of your software who doesn’t love it.
I can speak for ourselves as a paying customer of the Unity engine across our gaming studios. We know you have to improve your business economics, but don’t do it at the expense of the entire community. We also want you to improve your business economics so that you can continue to improve in your tools.
Here’s my recommendation: retract these changes and shift to transparent price increases for seats for your Pro and Enterprise customers. Don’t make this about advertising. Don’t make this an attack on indies. Go back and rethink the choices you’ve made, revert your decision to a much more simple and sustainable price increase model, and communicate with your developers better. I’m sure the community will be supportive if you are collaborative and communicate transparently about decisions that have this much impact on their businesses.
If you continue to go on the path you’re on, you’ll destroy the trust and credibility that you have spent years building and it’s going to tear our industry apart.
Unity announced plans to charge developers per install earlier this week, inciting a furious response from developers.
We later learned that behind the scenes Unity account managers have been offering developers a waiver on the Runtime Fee if they switched to Unity’s own LevelPlay ad products. Developers we spoke to suggested Unity simply wants to “kill Applovin” by leveraging its game engine in this way.
Earlier today, a group of developers kicked off a Unity boycott in which they switched off all Unity ad products in protest. The group hopes to force Unity into retracting the Runtime Fee proposals.