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Thank you Unity for reminding me why I don't use subscription based services. Good bye!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Andy-Lee, Sep 17, 2022.

  1. Andy-Lee

    Andy-Lee

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2014
    Posts:
    26
    Tl;dr Unity just lost a customer.

    So, Unity has just reminded me why I don't use subscription based services - because it is possible that you don't need the services anymore despite you're still in the subscription period and still need to pay for them, or, they don't need you anymore and ban your account for whatever reasons and it is always supported by whatever laws they have written on their pages.

    Before I tell you my story, here is some brief information you'll need to know:
    • I'm a solo game developer, but I haven't really finished developing any games. In fact, I have not published any product. The only games I have developed were the homework for the institution and university. I'm just lazy and already have a full time job. But I also dream that I will publish at least a game in my life.
    • I have tried quite a few game engines but Unity was the first one that I find it easy to use. I actually quite like it. It all started when Unity 4 was still a thing. I don't like its pricing model but I think I don't need to worry about it yet since I'm still qualified to use the free personal license.
    • I have written a studio name on my Unity ID page. Besides just for fun, it also reminds me that I need a studio name before publishing any game.
    • I have some hobby projects that have never finished but are still going on.
    • I originally lived in Hong Kong but have moved to United Kingdom.
    • A few days ago, I have bought some assets from Humble Bundle.

    Some of you may have already guessed what went wrong.

    A day ago, it was a normal morning. I was working for my full time job, thinking about what I will do to my hobby project after the job is done.
    Then, suddenly I have received an email from Julia Mao, from the Compliance Department of Unity Technologies in China:
    UnityEmail1.jpg
    I'm not going to translate every words in it. I don't have the ability to do so anyway. If you are really interested, please use Google and any translating software. But here is what it is mainly about: Unity Technologies thinks that I'm not using the appropriate license and may have violated some laws in China. I have 3 days to submit my reply.

    To me, it was a serious accusation. Obviously, Unity Technologies wants me to buy a Plus or Pro license. The first question in my head was: What? I can't use the Personal license anymore?
    And then I noticed there is a recipient other than me. That email has the same starting word as the studio name on my Unity ID page but ends differently. The second question came to my mind: Did they think that I'm related to the person of this email address?

    Quickly, I have sent my reply.
    UnityEmailReply1.jpg
    Here I have stated that
    • The second recipient they have sent to has no relationship to me or my studio.
    • My studio has not published any products made with Unity, free or paid.
    • There is no revenue for me or the studio in the past 12 months.
    • I'm working on a project but it is still in R&D phase and has no release date planned, using the Personal License, provided by Unity Hub.
    And I have also asked: Why did you think I have inappropriate actions? What was it based on? Moreover, what made you think that I'm related to the second email recipient? It is not in my Unity ID page.
    I have no clue how they got that email address.

    There was no update on that day later.

    And then, on the second day morning, I have received another email from Julia Mao.
    UnityEmail2.jpg
    Looks like she have replied many things, right?
    No.
    The only useful information in her email was: They have detected that a project has been downloaded and copied in multiple computers, developed in commercial use using illegal Unity software.
    Or, the only meaningful words are "a project has been downloaded and copied in multiple computers".
    Well, turns out moving to another country without telling Unity Technologies can actually get you into trouble.
    And the remaining of this email is just a copy of my previous words plus the licensing agreements that have already written on their websites. Basically, because I have stated that I have a project going on, I need to purchase a license if my company has >100K USD revenue in the past 12 months, regardless of whether it was earned from Unity projects or not.
    (Yes, you will need to buy a license even if the >100K USD revenue has nothing to do with Unity.)

    And before I can submit my reply...
    UnityEmail3.jpg
    Bang!
    That's just 29 minutes after the second email from Julia Mao!
    Remember she said that I have 3 days to submit my reply? Either I was punished because I failed to show compliance and rejected to give them money, or they simply don't know how to count days.

    Anyway, here is my email sent to accountchina@unity3d.com:
    UnityEmailReply3.jpg
    Here I have explained I have moved from HK to UK and maybe that's the reason why I logged in my account in multiple computers and copied my project into multiple devices.
    And I reaffirmed that the Personal License was provided by Unity Hub, downloaded from Unity's website, not from any 3rd party. If it is illegal, that means Unity Hub has flaws and needs to be fixed!
    I also made it clear that I'm legit to use Personal License because the studio I was talking about, and they have referred as a company
    • has only one member - me
    • has zero revenue
    • has not been registered as a company because I have not published and don't know if I will publish any product under its name
    After a few minutes, I have sent another email asking why Julia Mao have sent the first email to a recipient I don't know. I needed Unity Technologies to confirm that their judgement has no relationship to the person of that email address.

    On second thought, I should have said clearly that the studio is not real. It is just a name, like a team name. I'm the only team member.


    Until now, there is no response from Unity Technologies. And I expect there will be no reply until next week due to the weekend. I already have no hope on this company.

    Here is my guess on why I got into trouble:
    • I have written a studio name on my Unity ID page. Unity Technologies thinks it is a legit company and is somehow making money.
    • There is another person working in the studio of the same name and is really making profit. This supports Unity's misjudgment.
    • I have moved to and logged in my account in another country. Unity Technologies thinks it is problematic and may involve some commercial activities.
    I can't confirm any of these without the official response from Unity. I will update you once I get it.

    Some of you may say I'm just a free user, what's the big deal?
    Let me remind you that according to Unity's logic, this drama can happen even if I was a Plus license user. They can say that my company is making >200K USD revenue and needs the more expensive Pro license. If no compliance? Ban!
    Personal license is also a license. Loosing a Personal license shows that it is possible to lose a Plus license, or even a Pro license. And the main problem is, Unity Technologies has not yet provided any evidence to support their accusation against me. They can simply press a button and your account is frozen or even suspended. They don't have any consequences. As an indie developer, there is nothing much I can do besides accepting the fate.

    I'm still waiting for the reply from Unity. But no matter what the outcome is, I think I will no longer continue my work in Unity. I will stop purchasing anything on Asset Store. This event really helped pushing me forward. especially when it happened right after the news of license price increase. Right now I'm researching on Godot since it does not need any account to work with. No account, nothing to get banned.
     
  2. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    That is correct, and that's a reason to use Unity as an individual.

    https://unity.com/legal/editor-terms-of-service/software

    They can, however, most of proprietary software comes with the same sort of clause. Where provide of software can one-sidedly terminate the agreement and revoke your right to use the software.

    Either way you'd have to solve this with tech support.
     
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  3. Andy-Lee

    Andy-Lee

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    It is funny that I was using Unity as an individual and they suddenly think I'm using it as a party and need to purchase a license.

    And it is also funny that they didn't even try to embed an URL to this page before freezing my account. They chose to write a simplified version instead. It's lucky that I have already read it from a comment complaining about Unity's EULA.

    I knew this kind of things, but it just hit differently when it actually happened to myself. I guess I can never enjoy using any services from big companies the same as before.

    As expected, they are having a happy weekend right now and I got no reply from them. I have written to Customer Services to ask for the legality of department in China freezing my account despite I'm now in UK. But again, I didn't expect much. Maybe they will just say "Please contact the Compliance Department".
    Anyway, it is time to continue my research on Godot. It is the first time I really want to finish developing a game. I can't let Unity kill my passion.
     
  4. Homicide

    Homicide

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    Seems an awful lot of these letters have been going out lately.

    I also cancelled my sub long ago.. completely unrelated reasons, but Due to Unity CS and 'email' support... Asset store Double charging me for assets, with me showing the evidence on bank print outs. They absolutely refused to acknoledge their wrongs, "our systems show its all normal" repeated canned repsonses... argh! I got mad, cursed at unmentioned employee' . They banned me from CS / Support / (Live chat thingy? its been awhile).

    Funny enough , over two months later, those charges showed back up in my bank, paid back from unity. They never unbanned me, never apologized,

    Big Business as usual. I wont give them a direct cent ever again myself. Im no pro, but i do like no Unity Ads on my builds. Still, the nerve of this company.

    I still have the all the evidece too if any of you Unity peoples want to dig into this, but i cant exactly contact you direct anymore, and i dont really want to. GL OP.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2022
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  5. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Misunderstandings happen due to dumbest reasons, and that's why you need to talk to people when such problem occurs.
     
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  6. Andy-Lee

    Andy-Lee

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    Wow, that's unbelievable! Now I'm aware that I may also get banned from their support because I'm actually quite mad at them. I repeatedly asked them why was there an unrelated recipient in the first email, while I knew they will never provide the reason simply because they have made a mistake.
    I hope you can find your way to continue the journey of game development.

    Yes, that's what I'm doing. Funnily enough I think I can't access the reply from customer services because it requires me to log in my Unity ID which was frozen. lmao
    I guess the only thing I can do now is wait until next week.
     
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  7. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    They have email, and IIRC support responses should be duplicated into your mailbox.
     
  8. Andy-Lee

    Andy-Lee

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    So another week has started and here is the update...

    Sadly I haven't received any support response in my mailbox.

    Just before the week started, I was so annoyed by this event and I thought "why not spam my reply to their another email, not accountchina@unity3d.com, but Julia Mao's email, and, at the same time, emphasize my point of view?"
    So, I sent another email to Julia Mao's mailbox:
    UnityEmailReply3c.jpg
    Here I emphasized that the studio written on my Unity ID page does not exist. It's just like a team name and I'm the only team member. Its sole purpose was to remind me I need a team name / studio name when I can finally publish a product.

    Also, I emphasized my dissatisfaction on the highlighted words from Unity's first email - "carry out efficient communication". Because, to me, they were the one who made the communication inefficient. They started the accusation without providing any evidence, and they didn't tell me where did they get the studio name. I meant, if they started the accusation just because they saw the studio name on my Unity ID page, does it mean the things written on our Unity ID pages are actually monitored by their laws and we have to be careful on writing things on it?

    Moreover, they were not friendly to developers. As their second email said, they found that a project has been downloaded and copied in multiple computers. As a company that's supposed to be helping developers, their first action was not notifying me that my account may be hacked and need attention, but accusing me for violating laws in China and causing damage to Unity instead. That's unacceptable.


    And these are the main points of this email. It was the last email I have sent to Unity last week.
    Yesterday was the date of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral. I didn't do much except watching live. But it was a working day outside UK so I expected to receive a reply from Unity and I did! It turned out sending another complain to Julia Mao's mailbox was a smart move, because this is what I got from accountchina@unity3d.com:
    UnityEmail4a.jpg
    "For compliance problems, please solve directly with our compliance department."

    LMAO
    UnityHuh.jpg

    Luckily, Julia Mao replied me:
    UnityEmail4b.jpg
    She said there was an unrelated recipient in the first email because their system identified that this mailbox had relationship with the studio. If I confirm I have no relationship with this mailbox, they can remove it.
    And she also said that if I really think that my team does not need the Plus or even Pro license, I can provide "materials" (I think she meant evidences) to accountchina, and my account will be unbanned if the materials meet their standards.
    Finally, she suggested buying Pro or even Enterprise license for products that will be used for commercial purpose, even if they are still in R&D stage, because Unity Technologies has invested a lot in developing Unity software.

    Of course they want my money anyway. But at least there is hope of getting my account unbanned now. I just need to provide evidence... (to be continued)
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 20, 2022
  9. Andy-Lee

    Andy-Lee

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    But how? How to prove something that does not exist?
    Without knowing the proper way to prove myself innocent, I repeated the points from my previous emails and sent them to Julia Mao (I missed the part she mentioned accountchina. I also assumed accountchina won't help due to their previous reply):
    UnityEmailReply5.jpg
    1. I confirmed I have no relationship to the second recipient in the first email.
    2. The studio I wrote on my Unity ID page is not a company. It is an imaginary team. It is not real. I'm the only team member. There is no "Total Finances".
    3. I started the development of my project in Hong Kong, but have now moved to UK and continue the work here. It is only in R&D stage. I have never finished and released any product before.
    Finally, I understand that Unity, as a public company now, has to do public company things. It has to satisfy their shareholders. But it is so sad if they lose customers just because they only rely on their automatic analytics system without humanized analysis.

    I really wish this was the last email I needed to send. But reality is harsh.
    UnityEmail6.jpg
    Julia Mao wrote "Thanks for your reply. As you said that you are the only member in your company or team, please provide any related proof. Our company will judge accordingly and carry out the next actions. Please understand. Thanks for your support."

    At this time, this was the first thing I could think of:
    ProveSomethingIdontHave.jpg

    And this was my reply to Julia Mao:
    UnityEmailReply6.jpg
    "As I have said before, the studio does not exist and has not registered in any form. May I know how can I prove something that does not exist?"

    After a few minutes, I took a screenshot of my repository commit history on Sourcetree and sent to Julia Mao, hoping that it can prove I'm the only one working on the project. It was not my first thought because everyone knows it is easy to make fake screenshots. But it's the only proof I could think of.

    And I guess it was the end of the working hours in China. I will update once I get the reply tomorrow.
     
  10. Andy-Lee

    Andy-Lee

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    Today's update:

    First of all...
    I have finally received a reply from the Customer Experience Team yesterday afternoon, after I have posted the last update.

    To be honest, that was a totally different experience. Although the reply was late, they did tell me the reason - delayed by an unexpectedly high number of requests recently, and that's totally understandable. And the team showed their concern on my case and they seem to be willing to listen to me and help me expressing my frustration to the company.

    So, I told them my full experience, from the first email from the Compliance Department in China, to getting my account suspended without any followup until Monday.

    Oh, and they did answer me that the team in China sent the suspension notification because Hong Kong is the location configured in my UnityID account. So I think I will need to change the configuration once I get it back.

    I wish the Customer Experience Team can make Unity more user-friendly.

    And about the part with the compliance team...
    Julia has acknowledged the proof I sent her yesterday, which was the screenshot of my repository commit history. She said she will verify with technical support and, if there is no problem, she will assist discussing with their backend. I guess she meant they will revert their action to my account and close the case if my screenshot is OK.
     
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  11. Andy-Lee

    Andy-Lee

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    Today's update may be the last update about the case. Not many of you are interested in it anyway...

    First of all, just when I thought I will have more comfortable conversation with the Customer Experience Team, they ended it by closing the ticket because I was still having communication with the compliance team. I felt a bit sad but also understand it is unfair to occupy the time of both teams.

    And the case itself is going to end, or maybe has already ended.

    Julia from the compliance team said the proof had been verified and had no problem. They would restore my account ASAP. I just checked and I could log in my account. So everything has become normal again.

    The last thing I did was sending back my feedback and opinions to the compliance team. As you can see, this whole event has costed us so much time and effort. I feel the need of helping Unity to fix the bugs on their compliance procedures and reduce the chance of bordering innocent users in the future.

    Last but not least, as I have said in the first post, I was researching on Godot. Now I'm sure I will transfer the whole project to there. I'm not saying Godot 4 is superior to Unity in everything. In fact, I have encountered inconvenience immediately the day I tried it. It does not support custom inspector and there is no offset configuration in texture import settings (instead, each Sprite2D node can have its own offset but that's not what I want). As the result, I'm now storing my texture import settings in JSON files and have written my customized JSON parser, so I now have the ability to organize values in the way I want. Anyway, that's enough about Godot. I may be leaving Unity now, but it doesn't mean I will never come back. I hope Unity will become much better when I come back. Wish everyone good luck and happy on your development journey!
     
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  12. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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  13. Andy-Lee

    Andy-Lee

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    Thanks! I have read it before but concluded it couldn't help me organize the inspector. If I haven't missed anything from the documents, the main problem is that it is missing horizontal layout and is not as customisable as Unity.

    I was trying to make a Resource (in Unity's term, ScriptableObject) to contain all the textures for tile objects and their offset, to overcome the missing offset configuration in import settings. The texture property inspector itself already uses up much space, and the Vector2 inspector uses 2 rows. That's too much for me. And later I realized I also needed to add Scale (Vector2) support to each texture. It was the time I figured I need to find another approach and stop digging in the inspector. I also considered I may want to implement modding support in the future, so I wrote myself a custom JSON parser, based on Godot's parser.

    Writing a custom JSON parser allows me to do this in the JSON file:
    Code (Json):
    1. "commonTexturePath": "res://Textures",
    2. "texture": "textureName.png",
    3. "textureWithOffsetNotEqualToZeroZero": {
    4.     "src": "textureName2.png",
    5.     "offset": { "x": 2, "y": 0 }
    6. },
    7. "textureWithScaleNotEqualToOne": {
    8.     "src": "textureName3.png",
    9.     "scale": 1.5   // or { "x": 1.5, "y": 1.5 }
    10. },
    11. "textureWithBoth": {
    12.     "src": "textureName4.png",
    13.     "offset": { "x": 0, "y": -1.5 },
    14.     "scale": { "x": 1, "y": 0.9 }
    15. },
    16. "textureArray": [
    17.     "textureA.png",
    18.     "textureB.png",
    19.     {
    20.         "src": "textureC.png",
    21.         "offset': { "x": 0, "y": -1 }
    22.     }
    23. ]
     
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  14. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    I've been reading, but had nothing productive to add. At this point, I will say you're far more understanding than I think I'd be. I just hope it gets resolved from here nice and quickly.

    Best of luck!
     
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  15. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    As a fellow Unity user, I feel your frustrations, especially when you're trying to solve them amicably and professionally. This is also one of the reasons I don't like subscription based models, especially when it costs a lot of money and it's not feasible as a solo developer.

    But also this is a cautionary tale for those who want to build on their aspirations as a game dev, and be careful with putting a team name as a company name.
     
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  16. Andy-Lee

    Andy-Lee

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    Ah, thank you! I just felt lonely with so few replies and likes. lol
    I think the issue has been resolved. I could log in my UnityID account. I haven't received any additional reply from the compliance team after Julia from the team has admitted they have caused inconvenience and apologized. So I guess the case is really closed.


    Thank you for your understanding! I really hope more people can read this.
    Just after I realized I could log in my UnityID account, I immediately jumped into the "Organizations" section and deleted the Company Name there. I will never forget how this optional text field has costed us so much time and effort.
     
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  17. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    I might do the same, though my username here on the Unity forums is my team name. And I hope this hasn't soured your passion for game development
     
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