Unity will quietly waive controversial fees if developers switch to its ad monetisation service

Unity will quietly waive controversial fees if developers switch to its ad monetisation service

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“They just want to kill AppLovin.”

An image advertising Unity's LevelPlay ad tools, showing a match-3 game advert on a mobile phone.
Image credit: Unity

A fresh report into Unity’s hugely-controversial decision to start charging developers when their games are downloaded has thrown fresh light on the situation.

MobileGamer sources say Unity has already offered some studios a 100% fee waiver – if they switch over to Unity’s own LevelPlay ad platform.

The report quotes industry consultants that say this move is an “attempt to destroy” Unity’s main competitior in this field: AppLovin.

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The LevelPlay suite of tools allows you to “control every aspect of your monetisation strategy” via in-game ads in Unity games for smartphones, with various types of ads, ad testing and analytics available to serve up commercial content most likely to earn money.

“This puts the whole Runtime Fee announcement in the ‘mediation war’ spotlight,” consultant Matej Lancaric said. “Unity is saying ‘migrate to LevelPlay or you will need to pay 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 [other game development engines] Godot or Cocos2D.”

Unity makes an oblique reference to this plan in its blog post on the controversial fees, with a note that “qualifying customers may be eligible for credits toward the Unity Runtime Fee based on the adoption of Unity services beyond the Editor, such as Unity Gaming Services or Unity LevelPlay mediation for mobile ad-supported games”.

Developers reading the blog post are then encouraged to “please reach out to your account manager to learn more”.

The move puts into context the emphasis Unity places on its use within smartphone gaming, compared to the audience for Unity games on PC and console.

Unity is yet to respond to the report.

Unity announced its plan to charge game developers every time their titles are downloaded by players earlier this week, prompting a wave of anger and confusion despite a number of subsequently-tweaked rules and exceptions.

In the last 24 hours, Slay the Spire studio Mega Crit said it will cut ties with Unity and restart its next game project on a fresh engine if Unity’s plans were not “completely reverted”.

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