Unity’s boss says devs who don’t plan monetisation earlier are ‘f***ing idiots’
John Riccitiello was discussing the merger with app economy firm IronSource
Unity CEO John Riccitiello has called developers who don’t plan their monetisation strategies early during development “fucking idiots”.
Riccitiello made the comments in an interview with PocketGamer.biz, in which he was asked about Unity – the creator of the popular game engine – and its newly announced merger with IronSource, which creates advertising and monetization tools for mobile developers.
The suggestion that monetisation should be implemented earlier in the creative process has seen pushback from some developers. But Riccitiello claimed there “isn’t a developer on the planet” who wouldn’t want to know how they could tweak their games to make them more successful.
Update: Riccitiello apologises
Unity CEO John Riccitiello has apologised and promised to “do better” after calling developers not prioritising monetisation “fucking idiots”.
“I’m going to start with an apology. My word choice was crude. I am sorry. I am listening and I will do better.”
Asked about the pushback from some developers to implementing monetisation earlier in the development process, the exec said:
“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.”
He continued: “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.”
Riccitiello added: “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.”
The Unity IronSource merger – which is valued at over $4bn – follows a recent report that Unity has let go of four per cent of its workforce worldwide due to challenging advertising conditions.