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Unity, are you ok?

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Online Games Bay

Unity Technologies, a company behind very popular Unity game engine, hit the news again, but not for reasons you might expect. Yup, it looks like they became the new evil corporation on the horizon.


Unity, are you ok?

While Unity game engine is one of the most respected tools for indie developers available with pretty sweet deal that gamedevs will pay for the use of the engine if their production will reach some level of income, the company behind it is something else. At least in recent years.

In recent years Unity Technologies acquired quite few companies, from multiplayer networking framework MLAPI, through VFX companies, to RestAR, a computer vision and deep learning company. But their most recent acquisition raised some questions when it turned out Unity Technologies spent between 2.4 and 4 billion USD on "merge" with Israeli ironSource company, which specializes in app monetization and distribution.

How this is different from their other deals? ironSource was in a past accused of being behind ad malware that was affecting users internet browsers (article from 2015), and incorporation of such technology into Unity, a platform that is behind millions of game projects, is quite... disturbing really. I mean experienced programmers might spot what Unity is doing behind their backs, but a lot of the Unity engine users are novices, who most likely work on their first ever game, so...

But the "merger" gathered attention for one more reason - Unity had recently laid off some of the employees (between 100 and 400 according to different sources), or as the Unity spokesperson told PC Gamer: "As part of a continued planning process where we regularly assess our resourcing levels against our company priorities, we decided to realign some of our resources to better drive focus and support our long-term growth. This resulted in some hard decisions that impacted approximately 4% of all Unity workforce. We are grateful for the contributions of those leaving Unity and we are supporting them through this difficult transition."

Ok, now try saying it with a bit less empathy... It really must be magic to be part of that "workforce" and "resources"... How about "people", "employees", "human beings"? No? I guess the next step will be "human extensions to the computers".

After the "merger" was announces the shares of Unity dropped about 15%, lowest price since when the company went public in September 2020, but to be fair their shares were losing value since November of 2021 and now are worth half of their initial value of about 80 USD. What is more in 2021 company recorded loss of approximately 530 million dollars.

So through aggressive acquisitions, laying off staff and searching for new markets the company is actually losing money and trust of the game developers. Or to put it in another way "Unity, are you ok?".



20-07-2022

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