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Unity boss slammed for criticising mobile devs who don't prioritise monetisation

"[They're] pure, brilliant people. They're also some of the biggest f***ing idiots."

Unity boss and former EA exec John Riccitiello has been slammed for his comments regarding mobile developers who don't seek to squeeze monetisation from their smartphone games.

Riccitiello raised eyebrows when discussing developers who don't prioritise monetisation as part of their creative process.

"It's a very small portion of the gaming industry that works that way," Riccitiello told PocketGamer.biz, "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 fucking idiots."

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The quote - and in particular that final sentence - was widely criticised on Twitter, including by Donut County creator Ben Esposito, who saw his creation continually ripped off.

Anger at Riccitiello has also been fuelled by this week's announcement that Unity is splashing out to buy Ironsource, a firm focused on monetising smartphone games via in-app advertising, only two weeks after Vice reported that 263 employes had been laid off as Unity reassessed "company priorities".

Speaking to PocketGamer.biz, Riccitiello said that the mobile games industry had changed and it was no longer the case that developers "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," he continued, "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."

"I've seen great games fail because they tuned their compulsion loop to two minutes when it should have been an hour. 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."

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Tom Phillips


Tom is Eurogamer's Editor-in-Chief. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon. Tom joined Eurogamer in 2010 following a stint running a Nintendo fansite, and still owns two GameCubes. He also still plays Pokémon Go every day.