Unity Technologies, the company behind one of the biggest commercial game engines in the industry, has already come under fire for its planned $4.4 billion merger with IronSource, a software company known for its malware toolbars.
Adding fuel to the backlash, Unity Technologies CEO John Riccitiello (who previously worked at Electronic Arts for many years) drew even greater ire when he called developers who don't want to bake monetization in their game design 'some of the biggest fucking idiots'. Here's the excerpt from the interview Unity's Riccitiello had with Pocket Gamer.biz:
Ferrari and some of the other high-end car manufacturers still use clay and carving knives. It's a very small portion of the gaming industry that works that way, and some of these people are my favourite people in the world to fight with – they're the most beautiful and pure, brilliant people. They're also some of the biggest fucking idiots.
I've been in the gaming industry longer than most anybody – getting to the grey hair and all that. It used to be the case that developers would throw their game over the wall to the publicist and sales force with literally no interaction beforehand. That model is baked into the philosophy of a lot of artforms and medium, and it's one I am deeply respectful of; I know their dedication and care.
But this industry divides people between those who still hold to that philosophy and those who massively embrace how to figure out what makes a successful product. And I don't know a successful artist anywhere that doesn't care about what their player thinks. This is where this cycle of feedback comes back, and they can choose to ignore it. But to choose to not know it at all is not a great call.
The CEO of Unity Technologies even said that some games had failed because they haven't tuned their 'compulsion loop' high enough to keep gamers returning.
I've seen great games fail because they tuned their compulsion loop to two minutes when it should have been an hour. Sometimes, you wouldn't even notice the product difference between a massive success and tremendous fail, but for this tuning and what it does to the attrition rate. There isn't a developer on the planet that wouldn't want that knowledge.
Needless to say, there has been a massive blowback from many game developers, the company's main clients after all. A few hours ago, the CEO of Unity Technologies tried to do some damage control with the below tweet.
Clickbait. Out of full context. Deeply sorry if what I said offended any game dev. Absolutely love the people that make games. Creative, hard work. #Unity
— John Riccitiello (@johnriccitiello) July 15, 2022
Whether that will be enough remains to be seen, as several developers already announced their intention to move from Unity to Unreal Engine with the IronSource merger news; this statement from Riccitiello certainly isn't improving matters.