Unity Engine Enshittification: developers will be charged on a per-install basis

Although as a general rule, any criticism of Riccitiello is, by the very laws of the universe, justified and true.

I assume those salaries inclulde the value of stock options earned at current market rate in addition to the cold hard cash component.

Picture: A very corrupt society where a cliqe of rich people steal companies money for themselves, while they run these companies into the floor with their inept management stupidity.

Riccitiello wants you to believe he is in the platform industry, not the gaming industry.

And his primary and most important job is to convince the NASDAQ of precisely this.

That’s right, you don’t need to actually be profitable, you just need to grow shareholder value!

I liked this video.

Publicly traded companies were a mistake.

Can anyone explain why Unity has 7,700 employees? That seems like an absurd number. I can imagine 200 max to code/QA/test the engine, maybe another 2-300 to produce content for their store, perhaps 500 in Ireland or Bangalore for support, a couple dozen for oversight and project management. What in the world are the other 7k people up to?

Psst, this happens with private ones too. See, oh, EVERY Private Equity Hedge fund and their acquisitions…

Come up with brilliant monetization ideas, of course!

It’s just a staggering number of people for a product company, unless their store generates a lot more revenue than I had assumed.

From what I can tell Epic has between 5-10k employees, although that’s from public webpages so nobody knows how inaccurate it likely is. And Epic makes actual games. Well, game, but it’s extremely actively developed. And they’re a publisher too, and have a large storefront to sell them, alongside Unreal content packs.

It seems they support some stupid number of platforms. I read 23 or 24 platforms? There is a list on their site:

  • Desktop:

      • Windows (PC)
      • Mac
      • Universal Windows Platform (UWP)
      • Linux Standalone
  • Mobile:

      • iOS
      • Android
  • Extended Reality (XR):

      • ARKit
      • ARCore
      • Microsoft HoloLens
      • Windows Mixed Reality
      • Magic Leap (Lumin)
      • Oculus
      • PlayStation VR
  • Consoles:

      • PS5
      • PS4
      • Xbox One
      • Xbox X|S
      • Nintendo Switch
      • Google Stadia
  • WebGL

  • Embedded:

      • Embedded Linux
      • QNX

and before, they supported (from the wiki)

Formerly supported platforms are Wii,[77] Wii U,[78] PlayStation 3,[79] Xbox 360,[79] Tizen,[80] PlayStation Vita,[81] 3DS,[82] BlackBerry 10,[83] Windows Phone 8,[83] Samsung Smart TV,[84] Gear VR,[59] Daydream,[85] Vuforia,[69] Facebook Gameroom,[85] and Stadia.[86]

OK that’s fair. Say another two hundred developers to cover those ports? Still falls short by thousands of people.

Do they really create content for the store? I thought that the Asset Store was mostly content from third parties.

Yes, 8k people is grotesque for a game engine business. But it seems they don’t want to think they’re in that business, and keep expanding into markets they probably shouldn’t be in.

1700 of the employees seem to be at Weta (the movie special effects studio), which Unity bought a couple of years ago.

Their product isn’t just the engine and the asset store, they’ve accrued dozens of other products on the side, chasing the current fad. For example it looks like during the pandemic they went all in on buying up all kinds of online collaboration tools.

They have a professional services / consulting sweatshop division.

They run an ad network or two. They’ve probably got O(1k) people in sales and account manager roles for that business.

Have you ever tried maintaining three* incomplete UI frameworks? It’s not easy, bud.

*I haven’t used Unity in a year, they might be up to four different and incomplete UI frameworks by now.

Ahh, I had no idea. So they went on an acquisition spree and now are trying to leverage their core business to keep the wolves from the door. A++ job, Johnnie.

That’s the neat thing - you don’t!

(The joke being that if you have shipped 3 incomplete UI frameworks you almost certainly don’t seriously maintain at least 2 of them)

Nah, they are still chipping away at making the third do everything the second did. I don’t think they’ve touched the first one in years. FWIW, they’ve built a progressively better foundation each time, just not sure why it’s taken three tries to get it this right. Especially when they settled on just copying HTML and CSS for that third attempt.

Unity overplayed their hand.


Well, sure. Their monetization model runs contrary to the engine’s.

F2P games have thousands of times more players, more installs, and rely on a combo of whales and season passes with cosmetic and convenience dlc for revenue. Best case scenario, of course many are blatantly pay2win too.

Now unity charges per install— the vast majority of which generate zero revenue. You’re losing money as each (most) player joins! This is intolerable.

I’d expect legal action too. Genshin is huge, they’ve got money for attorneys.