Unity Technologies, under the leadership of former Electronic Arts CEO, John Riccitiello, will reportedly have an initial public offering set to go live at some point in 2020, according to a report from Cheddar.
Unity was reportedly valued at over $3 billion, and generates $300 million annually from licensing and ad services, according to what Riccitiello told Cheddar last year in April of 2018. He also explained that he thought Unity was ready to go public last year, but apparently the company feels stronger about going public next year. He told Cheddar…
“I want to see that number go into the many millions. The world’s a better place with more creators.”
According to the Cheddar article, the goal is to target the mobile space with new types of ad revenue, specifically leveraging ads on mobile apps and games. They didn’t explain exactly what the ads would be or how the ads would be served, but in the interview it was noted that Unity has teamed up with ad vendors like Google that would be willing to work with publishers and developer products.
Typically, an IPO is not a good thing for the quality of creativity.
What usually happens is that the company has to keep finding new ways to monetize its products and improve its overall revenue and profit margins year-over-year. This oftentimes results in the companies having to cut corners and aggressively push for new technologies to monetize their products. In the world of gaming, this has resulted in lots of stagnation and creative staleness, where public traded publishers attempt to play it safe at every avenue, recycling lots of tried-and-tested ideas without really pushing the tech or the creative scope of a game forward in order to keep making a quick buck.
Over time gamers eventually lose interest and these companies either end up folding in, closing up studios, or selling off their intellectual properties, which is what happened to lots of other companies, including THQ, and it’s currently happening right now to Activision Blizzard.
Given that Unity focuses more on engine technology rather than actual games, it will be interesting to see how this affects their business, the way they scale their features for new iterations of the Unity 3D engine, and how it will affect the services they have on offer. Given that they recently opened up their cloud services that can be rented by development studios, it seems likely that service-based subscription licensing may be the way forward.