The widely used real-time 3D (RT3D) engine Unity has faced shocking user backlash following the significant acquisition of IronSource this month.
Despite kickback and earlier staff redundancies, Unity continues to expand its RT3D product as a toolkit for creating extended reality (XR) solutions, video games, and movie VFX content.
The backlash came following Unity’s mass layoffs in June that saw the firm make employee adjustments, affecting roughly 200 people. In a statement made at the time, Unity said,
“We regularly assess our resourcing levels against our company priorities, we decided to realign some of our resources to better drive focus and support our long-term growth. This resulted in some hard decisions that impacted approximately 4% of all Unity workforce”
After the first half of 2022, Unity also saw its stock drop by 28 percent in May due to profit expectations reaching between $290 million to $295 million, falling below its $360 million outlook. Since the May drop, Unity’s stocks fell lower after its controversial alliance with IronSource.
Unity User Backlash
This July, Unity merged with IronSource, a service that tracks user metrics to enhance eCommerce opportunities for developers and businesses. The service aims to improve user experience and business possibilities for interactive experiences.
IronSource is integrating its popular tool kit into the Unity hub of RT3D development tools, specifically Unity Ads, Operate, and Create.
Additionally, Unity is integrating the SuperSonic solution by IronSource. The tool lets a developer publish and monetise immersive experiences directly through the RT3D engine. The alliance also enables developers to create, publish, and monetise an RT3D product entirely within the Unity Toolkit.
Although the partnership drew criticism from the Unity community, critics accuse IronSource of distributing malware and slammed Unity’s shift in focus from traditional game development.
Unity CEO John Riccitiello expressed frustration towards the kickback in an interview. Unity later said the statements were “out of context.”
In a further statement, Unity explained,
“Unity has nothing but support for its creator community. The announcement of our intent to merge with IronSource supports our vision in offering the right tools and services that help them build and scale robust businesses successfully”
Conversely, in April, Unity partnered with Meta to enhance XR education. The move aims to improve access to and the onboarding processes for augmented, virtual, and mixed reality (AR/VR/MR) wearables.
The firms diversify and support the emerging XR creator workforce with their VR and Higher Ed XR Innovation Grants, which help educational institutions design bespoke immersive learning platforms and content. Through the Meta Immersive Learning initiative, the partnership supports the “next generation” of XR creatives.
John Cantarella, Vice President of Community and Impact Partnerships at Meta, added,
“We’re excited to partner with Unity, a trusted and innovative name in the XR industry. Together, we can empower aspiring creators to learn and grow in the metaverse – removing barriers to immersive technologies and unlocking new opportunities”
This month, Unity distributed its 3D assets library with Unity shaders on Adobe’s RT3D engine Substance. In the same month, at the Augmented World Expo (AWE 2022), John Riccitiello took the stage to discuss emerging Metaverse solutions.
During the keynote, he explained that successful Metaverse platforms must be cross-platform compatible to create a space for users to “live and inhabit,” adding that by 2030 most 2D websites would become 3D “Metaverse destination(s).”