Unity is quietly offering developers a Runtime Fee waiver if they switch to its LevelPlay mediation platform, we’re told.
“They just want to kill AppLovin”, said one developer.
Studios currently using Unity’s LevelPlay mediation platform have already been offered a 100% Runtime Fee waiver, sources have told us. Unity account managers are also telling developers not using LevelPlay that if they switch over from main rival AppLovin or any other UA platform they can then unlock a Runtime Fee waiver of 80-100%.
UA consultant Matej Lancaric says this is an “attempt to destroy” Unity competitor AppLovin, which is “miles ahead” of Unity’s LevelPlay service in terms of both ad monetisation and UA.
“This puts the whole Runtime Fee announcement in the ‘mediation war’ spotlight,” Lancaric told us. “Unity is saying ‘migrate to LevelPlay or you will need to pay a shit-ton of money’. For those smaller developers, there is no other option but to migrate to LevelPlay mediation to save their companies. The rest are already thinking about Godot or Cocos2D.”
Unity’s Runtime Fee announcement has prompted a furious reaction from across the mobile games business. As we reported yesterday, Unity suggested that developers could qualify for a discount on the Runtime Fee if they used its other services, but urged its customers to contact their account managers for more information. Now we know why.
One senior figure in the mediation business had this to say: “Of course Unity had to fight back after what has been a tremendous run for AppLovin this year – they have been killing it and growing market share. I don’t think Unity did a good job of anticipating client reaction though. It’s been a while since we saw such a unanimous war cry from the industry, not even IDFA deprecation was this mismanaged.”
“The industry is tied into 2-3 large mediation providers who wall off any attempt at competition, move towards bidding despite the hit to CPMs and then limit their demand to clients using their mediation,” they added.
It’s an incredibly aggressive move from Unity, and one that developers told us has originated from the IronSource side of the business. Unity acquired the mediation platform last summer after a brief three-way buyout drama; a Unity and IronSource merger was announced in July, but AppLovin tried to hijack the deal by making its own, unsolicited offer to merge with Unity. It was rejected.
We have contacted Unity for comment on this report and will update this story if we get a response.