Unity (U) CEO John Riccitiello apologizes for insulting comments on mobile dev monetization

Unity CEO John Riccitiello has issued an apology to mobile game developers following his crass comments on monetization.


Unity CEO John Riccitiello made news earlier this week for some offensive comments made in an interview in which he called mobile app developers who don't bake monetization into their development plans "fucking idiots." The CEO has attempted to take his foot out of his mouth with a very long-winded apology posted to Twitter. 

Here's a transcript of the apology issued on John Riccitiello's Twitter page:

I want to talk about what I said in the interview, and my follow up tweet. I am going to start with an apology. My word choice was crude. I am sorry. I am listening and I will do better.

What I can do, perhaps, is provide more on what I was thinking when I did the interview. What I would have said if I had taken greater care.

First -- I have great respect for game developers. The work they do is amazing. The creativity can be incredible whether on a AAA console, mobile or indie game, designed to be played by millions. Or a creative project, a game made just for the sheer joy of it.

Second -- One thing I have seen is that most game devs work incredibly hard and want people to play their game. To enjoy it. And, when appropriate for players to engage deeply. For the game devs I have worked most closely with there is often anxiety about whether players will love the game and appreciate all the work and love that went into making it. 

Third -- Sometimes all a game developer wants is to have a handful of friends enjoy the game. Art for art's sake and art for friends. Others want player $ to buy the game or game items so they can make a living. Both of these motivations are noble. 

Fourth -- What I was trying to say, and clearly failed at saying, is that there are better ways for game developers to get an early read on what players think of their game. To learn from their feedback. And, if the developer wants, to adjust the game based on this feedback. It's a choice to listen and act or just to listen. Again, both are very valid choices. 

If I had been smarter in choosing my words I would have just said this... we are working to provide developers with tools so they can better understand what their players think, and it is up to them to act or not, based on this feedback.

Anyway, that's it. Lot's of words. And a sentence that I wish I had never said.

John Riccitiello's second apology comes after his comments in an interview with PocketGamer.biz went viral this week. It's possible that the Unity CEO is facing pressure as the company's stock has collapsed over 75% in 2022, and some of his comments were borne out of frustration. Riccitiello has been Unity CEO since 2014, and has also presided over the company during its volatile life as a publicly-traded stock. 

Unity weekly stock chart shows the massive 84% decline in share price from $210/share to its current $33.54/share price.
Unity's weekly stock chart shows the stunning collapse of the share price over the last year.
Source: TC2000 stock charting software

Unity (U) lowered sales guidance again on the same day as Riccitiello's infamous interview comments, and the company is also rumored to be beginning a round of layoffs.

Unity's stock is down 84% from the all-time high share price of $210/share set in November 2021. While we can all attempt to appreciate Riccitiello's apology to game devs, perhaps the Unity CEO should focus on his own company's ability to turn a profit instead of blaming mobile app developers.

This article is only meant for educational purposes, and should not be taken as investment advice. Please consider your own investment time horizon, risk tolerance, and consult with a financial advisor before acting on this information.


Asif Khan is the CEO, EIC, and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

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