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Unity Boss: Devs Who Don't Prioritize Monetization are the 'Biggest Fucking Idiots'

Unity CEO John Riccitiello.
Unity CEO John Riccitiello. / Steve Jennings/GettyImages

Unity CEO and former Electronic Arts executive John Riccitiello earned the ire of legions of commenters Thursday after criticizing mobile game developers who don't prioritize monetization in their creative processes.

Speaking to PocketGamer.biz, Riccitiello said, "It's a very small portion of the gaming industry that [doesn't consider monetization during development], 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."

Riccitiello continued: "It used to be the case that developers wold 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 art forms and medium, and it's one I am deeply respectful of; I know their dedication and care.

"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."

Riccitiello's comments were immediately met with anger from around the games industry, especially from mobile game developers.

"I made Apple's iPhone Game of the Year in 2018 (Donut County) using Unity, but according to their CEO i'm a 'big fucking idiot' for not making Hole io, the f2p game that ripped it off," tweeted Donut County and Neon White developer Ben Esposito.

Rokashi Edwards, designer of Faraway Fairway and writer on the "Insecure" mobile game, said they, "strongly disagree with John Riccitiello."

"What that scumbag doesn't realize is some people simply enjoy making games for fun, or to educate, or to share a thought, idea, or experience. those creators, and games are absolutely valid, and their process should not be condemned."

Riccitiello tweeted a short statement Thursday evening as outrage over his comments spread.

"Clickbait. Out of full context," he wrote. "Deeply sorry if what I said offended any game dev. Absolutely love the people that make games. Creative, hard work."

Riccitiello is under particular scrutiny recently as Unity announced plans to buy Ironsource, a company that focuses on monetizing mobile games with in-app advertising, just two weeks after slashing a reported 263 jobs. Riccitiello himself made $22 million in 2020.