Unity boss predicts how app store rivalries will play out | PCGamesN

Unity boss predicts how app store rivalries will play out


Once upon a time, developers built games for just one platform. If you bought a PlayStation 2, you played TimeSplitters. If you owned a GameCube, you played Metroid Prime. And if you had a PC, you played Deus Ex and wound up here.

It’s not really like that anymore - big games typically come out on a minimum of three devices; small ones can hit double figures. But every platform has its own ecosystem - and Unity head John Riccitiello believes there’ll only be more division and exclusivity deals before that changes.

“People think that we're all going to consolidate around one platform,” said the former EA boss at Unite Europe. “It may happen one day, but the larger reality is that we’ve got platform proliferation that’s going to continue for a while. 

“Developers need to be able to reach an audience, and they're going to have to aggregate that audience over multiple hardware devices. Otherwise they're just not gonna get the dollars to be able to pay for great development.”

That's tricky, reckons Riccitiello, because the industry is stacked up as a series of “vertical platforms”: the Google ecosystem, the Apple ecosystem, the Samsung ecosystem, the Microsoft ecosystem, the PlayStation ecosystem and the Valve ecosystem.

These “largely unique islands of users” don’t reflect how players buy and play their games - but developers are still forced to address each island individually through marketing. That, says Riccitiello, is “incredibly expensive and really problematic.”

“As much as Apple and Google are massively cool companies, they’re not gonna help you find content on the other guy’s platform,” he said. “So there’s really precious few advocates for the games industry, [for] the people out there that are trying to find success. 

“One of the things that I predict will happen is, you will see if you’re featured in one ecosystem, the other ones won’t feature you on purpose. Exclusivity will be a requirement for featuring support.”

You’ve got a PC - we know that much. Where else do you buy and play your games?

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Jezcentral avatarDog Pants avatar
Jezcentral Avatar
3 Years ago

Piffle. Valve already support PC, Linux and Apple in one fell swoop, and, at least in the case of Portal 2, PS3 too. Only MS and PS consoles want exclusivity. Apple and Google have too many copy-cat games to get anywhere demanding that devs not release on The Other Side.


Even Valve announced that anyone using Source 2 would AT LEAST have to put the game on Steam, not "only".


If anything, the increased use of middleware like Unity or Unreal make porting games to other platforms easy. (That IS right, isn't Mr Riccitiello?) Admittedly, this is from the dev POV, but that is what he is speaking from. Are there many third party exclusives this gen? I can only think of Rise Of The Tomb Raider, but even that is questionable, as it is likely a timed exclusive. (No Man's Sky is not an exclusive. It's coming out on PC).


I understand he's supposed to be the expert, but I just don't see this happening. If anything, we are moving away from exclusives, as more complicated games require a greater user-base to sell to.

Dog Pants Avatar
3 Years ago

I couldn't disagree more. And that's coming from someone who knows what an operating system is (because I think that's what he's getting at but missing the mark). My equally (but opposite) wildly speculative prediction is that, in a few hardware generations, content will be streamed and the choice will merely be between the hardware which receives it.


To answer the question, I also play on iOS (rarely, soon to be never when my new Surface Pro 3 arrives to replace the iPad 2) and Android. My requirements for them are completely different to my PC gaming, limited as they are by the hardware.