A hot potato: Those of a certain age may remember a time when buying a video game meant a one-off payment for purchasing and enjoying the title in its entirety. These days, many full-price titles come with microtransactions of some sort, yet you'll often find developers who shun such things are lavished with praise from gamers. Unity CEO John Riccitiello, however, doesn't share this view; he thinks devs who don't embrace monetization are "f**king idiots."
In an interview with PocketGamer.biz that primarily focuses on Unity and IronSource's upcoming merger, a move that will see over 200 people lose their jobs, Riccitiello is asked about developers who push back against implementing monetization in their games.
"Ferrari and some of the other high-end car manufacturers still use clay and carving knives," he said. "It's a very small portion of the gaming industry that works that way, and some of these people are my favorite people in the world to fight with - they're the most beautiful and pure, brilliant people. They're also some of the biggest f**king idiots."
Riccitiello then talks about the divide between those developers who "massively embrace how to figure out what makes a successful product" and those who leave the money-making side of things to others, such as publicists.
As you can imagine, Riccitiello is trending on Twitter right now.
If John Riccitiello (Unity CEO, former EA) thinks you're a "fucking idiot", congrats; you're doing good! '🚀 I'm glad we have people like you and you're the future, you create honest and genuine products and do it for the love of the craft. Keep going!https://t.co/Z1JzCdgDEM--- Kenney (@KenneyNL) July 14, 2022
While microtransactions/loot boxes/in-game ads in full-price titles will always prove controversial, as we saw in Star Wars Battlefront II and UFC 4, such things are generally more accepted in the free-to-play mobile market. And it's here where some will say Riccitiello has a point. Diablo Immortal has been lambasted for its aggressive microtransaction model that allows players to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to max out a character. And yet, despite it being the worst-reviewed game in Metacritic history because of this reason, Blizzard's game made $50 million in its first month of release.
"I've seen great games fail because they tuned their compulsion loop to two minutes when it should have been an hour," Riccitiello said. "Sometimes, you wouldn't even notice the product difference between a massive success and tremendous fail, but for this tuning and what it does to the attrition rate. There isn't a developer on the planet that wouldn't want that knowledge."
It's surprising Riccitiello decided to air what was always going to be controversial comments in the wake of the Unity merger. In addition to the jobs it has cost, IronSource is known for creating InstallCore, an installation and content distribution platform that's a popular malware installer. Still, it's hard to imagine the former EA boss will care.
Masthead credit: TechCrunch