Protesters in support of Planned Parenthood.

Gaming’s Most Hated Company Reportedly Isn’t Down With Planned Parenthood Donations

Talk about bad publicity.

The most hated company in all of gaming, huh? That’s a hard title to claim. Activision-Blizzard isn’t exactly well loved, nor is Riot Games. EA is notorious for its microtransaction nonsense (and recent layoffs at Bioware). You could also argue that Konami, Apple, and Ubisoft all have a good reason to receive plenty of hate from gamers too.

Recommended Videos

But all these and more pale in comparison to Unity Technologies, a company so money-hungry that it’s demanding installation fees from developers. Indie companies across the gaming industry are in revolt over the idea. And a new report has given the entire industry yet another reason to hate Unity: The billion-dollar company wants a cut on donations to Planned Parenthood.

What’s the deal with Unity and Planned Parenthood?

Orgynizer gameplay. LizardFactory's puzzle game is built to support charitable endeavors like Planned Parenthood.

Unity recently unveiled a new “runtime fee” that bills creators after reaching a pre-determined download and revenue threshold. For Unity Personal and Unity Plus users, earning $200,000 worth from a game with 200,000 installs in the U.S. or Europe will force developers to play 20 cents per install. That means if a small indie game company creates a $1 game using the free Unity Personal edition, and they sell 200,000 U.S. copies in one month, they would owe the engine creator $40,000.

LizardFactory is the publisher and developer behind Orgynizer, a self-described “sex-positive fun romp” puzzle game “supporting women’s reproductive rights in the U.S.” Orgynizer offers all proceeds to Planned Parenthood and runs on the Unity engine. Theoretically, LizardFactory would not be affected by Unity’s new installation fee rules, as games created by and for charity endeavors would not have to pay a runtime fee, Axios reports.

Yet in an announcement shared Sunday afternoon, LizardFactory said Unity still expects LizardFactory to pay runtime fees for Orgynizer. Despite the fact it will cost the developer “around 30 percent of all the funds we have gathered and already sent to charity,” Unity did not consider Planned Parenthood a charitable cause.

“It was stated that charity games would be spared, so we asked Unity to get a confirmation that we would not be affected,” LizardFactory wrote, “but they believe our targets [Planned Parenthood and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital] would NOT count as ‘valid charities’ and more ‘political groups.'”

“I speak on behalf of all of us when I say: GET F*CKED!” the team said, censorship included. Check out the full announcement below.

‘This is a mafia-style shakedown’

LizardFactory's announcement toward Unity, regarding Orgynizer donations to Planned Parenthood.

It’s unclear why Unity would classify Planned Parenthood as a political group, given the the organization is a registered nonprofit with roots dating back to the early 20th century. C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, another Orgynizer charity recipient, is also a not-for-profit that “depends on generous gifts from our supporters to infuse strength into our patient care, research, and education,” according to the children’s hospital’s very own website. Yet Unity considers C.S. Mott too political in nature as well, apparently.

At this point, it seems obvious that there are only two reasons why Unity would demand runtime fees from a small sex-positive indie game: The company either wants to avoid political backlash from allowing a developer to donate to Planned Parenthood, or, equally likely, Unity is down bad for money and ridiculously strict on charity waivers.

The Mary Sue reached out to Unity to figure out which of the two apply.

Unity has since vowed to change its runtime fee policy, although it remains unclear how extensive the changes will be. Will Unity slightly tweak the install requirements, or will it scrap the idea altogether? Likely the former, as a new report by Bloomberg suggests Unity is toying with an installation fee cap instead of a full blown dismissal of the idea.

In the meantime, let’s hope Unity squelches its install fee altogether, as for many indie studios, paying a dollar for five downloads apiece is just financially impossible. If you don’t believe me, just look at the aptly titled Twitter account @FuckedByUnity for all the proof you need.

(featured image: Charlotte Cooper/Flickr (CC BY 2.0))

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Ana Valens
Ana Valens
Ana Valens (she/her) is a reporter specializing in queer internet culture, online censorship, and sex workers' rights. Her book "Tumblr Porn" details the rise and fall of Tumblr's LGBTQ-friendly 18+ world, and has been hailed by Autostraddle as "a special little love letter" to queer Tumblr's early history. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her ever-growing tarot collection.