It seems like the gaming industry can’t go more than a month or two without some company doing something so obviously stupid. Most of the time it is driven by greed, others it is a blatant misreading of the room, and then there are the times when it’s just a massive mistake that revealed things never meant to be public. This year we’ve had plenty of all three categories and more, so we couldn’t resist remembering the most blatant blunders our industry saw in 2023.
Note here that layoffs are not a “blunder.” While we could fill this entire list with all the egregious and undeserved closures and firings that took place this year, that kind of behavior is not deserving of recognition — not even with a fake award like this. People’s livelihoods and careers are not a joke, and we need to hold the industry accountable for not taking care of the people who pour their hearts and souls into the art that brings us together.
And the nominees are…
- “Lord of Ring” Gollum AI apology
- Microsoft leaking its own documents
- Unity charging per install
- Silent Hill Ascension
And the award goes to…
Unity’s ridiculous pricing model!
Has there ever been an instance of a company completely ruining its reputation as efficiently as Unity? This engine had served as one of the most popular and well-respected game engines for small and large teams alike, priding itself on being user-friendly and easy to port. Well, apparently that wasn’t enough to keep the company profitable. Rather than speak to its community or carefully think through a new pricing model that would be fair to both parties, Unity said “screw it” and burned its entire reputation down by claiming it would start charging developers per install of its games after passing a certain number of sales. This effectively could make some developers lose money by selling too much. Sure, it has walked a lot of this back, but the damage is already done. Many developers who were early on or considering Unity have lost all faith in the company and have moved on to other engines run by, you know, sane people.