Unity Technologies, creator on the Unity game engine has now formally applied for IPO (initial public offering) and the documents are pretty revealing.
In these documents, they do show just how popular they are with the Unity game engine. They mentioned that they had approximately 1.5 million "monthly active creators" across over 190 countries. That's seriously impressive, with a lot of people hooked into the Unity ecosystem. That was clear though, considering the amount of games releasing all the time powered by Unity.
Their revenue continues to grow as well from "$380.8 million to $541.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019, respectively, representing year-over-year growth of 42%, and from $252.8 million to $351.3 million for the six months ended June 30, 2019 and 2020, respectively, representing period-over-period growth of 39%". So they're clearly pulling in plenty but the numbers aren't entirely rosy though, they're taking on plenty of losses too. Quoting again from the documents they had "net losses for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019, and six months ended June 30, 2019 and 2020, of $131.6 million, $163.2 million, $67.1 million and $54.1 million, respectively, which included $20.9 million, $44.5 million, $14.8 million and $21.7 million, respectively, of stock-based compensation expense".
Even in their risk factor summary bullet-point list, they make it very clear that they may not "achieve or sustain profitability in the future". That's probably quite common to read in such documents but still not exactly a good look as a whole, doesn't fill with any sort of confidence.
If you're a Unity game developer, this is probably going to be quite concerning. Having more investors means many more people to keep happy. They key point is, will that result in a healthier company and a better game engine? Eyebrows must be raised from many game developers I'm sure. Thankfully, there's quite a lot of choice now when it comes to the tech you can use to design games. This includes various high-quality free and open source tech too from full games engines to cross-platform middleware including:
…and so on. That's a really small list, the point is there's loads of choice. I don't want to sound alarmist and certainly not an intention, the point is to keep options open and be aware of what else is available.
Feel free to comment on how you feel about the IPO and offer suggestions for alternatives if you wish to as well.