In a nutshell: Unity filed an S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday, voicing its intention to issue an initial public offering (IPO). The filing comes as its primary rival, Epic Games is embroiled in a battle with Apple over its App Store policies.
Unity's decision to go public now may not be entirely coincidental. In its S-1 filing under a section regarding risks, it vaguely alludes to the shenanigans between Apple and Epic. It mentions that one of the risk factors is for a "platform" to cut it and its developers off from services for misunderstandings of the platform holder's terms of service. In an off-handed manner, this somewhat describes the dustup between its rival and the Cupertino "tyrant."
Unity did have some positive aspects to reflect. The S-1 tells the SEC that as of 2019, more than half of the top games on all platforms use the Unity Game Engine. Of the top 1,000 games in Apple's App Store and on Google Play, 53 percent are powered by Unity.
Furthermore, as of the end of June, the company says it has over two billion monthly active users globally and 1.5 million monthly active creators designing with the Unity engine. More than 8,000 Unity games and apps are created each month the the filing claims.
Growth has also been significant. According to the figures in the S-1, total revenue for 2019 was $542 million. That figure is up from $381 million, year over year. It has also hired more staff, with employed workers increasing from 2,715 to 3,379 from December 2019 to June 2020 alone. Despite its growth, Unity claims losses of $163 million, a nearly 25-percent increase in operating losses from the previous year.
The SEC filing does not list a date for the initial public offering, but Business Insider reports that an IPO could happen as soon as this year. It's hard to tell how trading will go for Unity as there is no reliable baseline. Other competitors are either privately held companies, like Epic Games, or are backed by huge corporations like the Lumberyard game engine, owned by Amazon.
It will be interesting to see what investors think. As these things go, it might not hurt to snap up $1,000 in shares and sit on them. If I had done that when my grandfather had told me to invest in Apple when it was $0.50 per share (the mid-80s), my portfolio would be at least $4 million richer by now, considering dividends and splits into the equation.