The current Unity CEO and former EA boss, John Riccitiello, has said that if studios don’t consider monetization in their games during the creative process, they’re a “f***ing idiot,” but has since apologized for his comment.
During a recent interview with PocketGamer.biz, the CEO discussed the announcement that Unity and IronSource would be merging, while also touching on the criticism both companies have received regarding the inclusion of monetization during earlier development.
“Ferrari and some of the other high-end car manufacturers still use clay and carving knives,” Riccitiello said. “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 f***ing idiots.”
The CEO went on to elaborate on his former comment, explaining that the games industry has changed over the years, saying, “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.”
Following Riccitiello’s comments, he’s received backlash from members of the development community, with some strongly disagreeing with the CEO’s sentiment.
i strongly disagree with john riccitiello. what that scumbag doesn’t realize is some people simply enjoy making games for fun, or to educate, or to share a thought, idea, or experience
those creators, and games are absolutely valid, and their process should not be condemned https://t.co/LetoXhm2m9
— ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ (@Rokashi) July 14, 2022
“I made Apple’s iPhone Game of the Year in 2018 (Donut County) using Unity, but according to their CEO I’m a ‘big f***ing idiot’ for not making Hole io, the f2p game that ripped it off,” said indie game developer Ben Esposito.
Breogán Hackett, a developer who worked on If Found, responded on Twitter saying, “John Riccitiello thinks I’m an idiot. I think he’s a little greedy capitalist pig who only cares about money. I’m so tired of people like him ruining things I love.”
However, today Riccitiello tweeted out his apologies and said his words were taken “out of full context,” adding that he was “deeply sorry if what I said offended any game dev.”
This isn’t the first time Riccitiello has commented on monetization in games. In 2011, he defended the use of microtransactions saying it’s “a great model” and “it represents a substantially better future for the industry.”
Unity has faced criticism recently after it laid off 200 workers shortly before acquiring IronSource in a $4.4 billion all-stock deal. Riccitello reportedly assured employees two weeks before the news that there would be no layoffs during an all-hands meeting but went on to lay off four percent of its workforce.