Unity CEO John Riccitiello has sparked controversy regarding his comments on monetization. In an interview with PocketGamer.biz, Riccitiello claims that developers who don’t consider monetization early on in development are “pure, brilliant people,” but also the “biggest fucking idiots.”
This claim was a response to a question asking what Riccitiello thinks about implementing monetization earlier in development. Interviewer Khai Trung Le raises the point that some developers have pushed back against the movement. This is largely due to the perception that prioritizing monetization over creative choices early on in development can lead to anti-consumer decision-making.
Riccitiello compares the developers who don’t consider monetization to Ferrari and other high-end car manufacturers. He brings up how these manufacturers “still use clay and carving knives” to create their cars — likely to emphasize the necessity of quality over quantity.
Wow guys, this is what @unity asked me today! #unity #madewithunity #fuckingidiots #unity2d #unity #indiedev #gamedev #indiegamedev pic.twitter.com/hDya3EAWje
— Ondřej Trhoň ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ (@OndrejTrhon) July 14, 2022
It’s all about money
The Unity CEO claims to be “deeply respectful,” of the traditional artistic mindset, but doesn’t seem to be convinced that it’s viable in the games industry. He believes that “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.” Apparently in John Riccitiello’s eyes, a successful product is one with an effective monetization scheme.
Unsurprisingly, Riccitiello’s words have not gone down well. Many players and developers feel as though his comments are out of touch with indie creators. It’s not a great look for someone who is in charge of Unity Technologies, a company best known for its indie-friendly game engine. Riccitiello later took to Twitter to apologize and defend himself, claiming that the quotes were “clickbait” and “out of context.” It doesn’t help that the interview came around the time Unity announced it was merging with IronSource, known for developing a software bundling platform accused of installing malware.
The reality is that just about every CEO is paid to make money. Riccitiello’s comments are in poor taste, but they are unsurprising given his perspective. As the head of Unity, Riccitiello’s priority is to consider how the game engine developer can make money. Although if that makes the indie developers he has insulted feel any better is another question.
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