Unity CEO John Riccitiello has apologised and promised to “do better” after calling developers not prioritising monetisation “fucking idiots” in an interview this week.
Riccitiello made the controversial comments in an interview with PocketGamer.biz, in which he was asked about pushback from some developers to the suggestion that monetisation should be implemented earlier in the creative process of games.
In response, Riccitiello said that, “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.”
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After the exec’s comments blew up on social media and across industry news publications, Riccitiello tweeted to claim that the reporting around his words was “clickbait” and “out of full context”.
However, by Saturday, the Unity boss published a lengthy apology for his comments and attempted to explain more context behind his thinking:
I want to talk about both what I said in the interview, and my follow up tweet. I’m going to start with an apology. My word choice was crude. I am sorry. I am listening and I will do better.
What I can do, perhaps, is provide more on what i was thinking when i did the interview. What i would have said if I had taken greater care.
First — I have great respect for game developers. The work they do is amazing. The creativity can be incredible whether on a AAA console, mobile or indie game, designed to be played by millions. Or a creative project, a game made just for the sheer joy of it.
Second – one thing I have seen is that most game devs work incredibly hard and want people to play their game. To enjoy it. And, when appropriate for players to engage deeply. For the game devs i have worked most closely with there is often anxiety about whether players will love the game and appreciate all the work and love that went into making it.
Third – Sometimes all a game developer wants is to have a handful of friends enjoy the game. Art for art sake and art for friends. Others want player $ to buy the game or game items so they can make a living. Both of these motivations are noble.
Fourth — What I was trying to say, and clearly failed at saying, is that there are better ways for game developers to get an early read on what players think of their game. To learn from their feedback. And, if the developer wants, to adjust the game based on this feedback. It’s a choice to listen and act or just to listen. Again, both are very valid choices.
If I had been smarter in choosing my words I would have said just this… we are working to provide developers with tools so they can better understand what their players think, and it is up to them to act or not, based on this feedback.
Anyway, that’s it. Lots of words. And a sentence that I wish I had never said.
Unity – the creator of the popular game engine – announced this month plans to merge with IronSource, which creates advertising and monetization tools for mobile developers.
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.