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Unity buys another company as staff outrage over mass layoffs

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Photo: Unity

Game engine maker Unity has announced plans to acquire ad tech company Ironsource, in a press release this morning. The news comes just two weeks later a wide series of layoffs rocked the companywhere the remaining employees aren’t exactly thrilled with the strategy.

The unit will merge with source of iron, which they describe as a “leading commerce platform that enables mobile content creators to turn their apps into scalable and successful businesses,” in an all-stock deal. When complete, Ironsource will become part of Unity’s operations, with its CEO getting a seat on Unity’s board of directors.

Perhaps best known for producing a widely used game engine – a set of authoring tools used to create video games – of the same name, Unity has been on a small wave of acquisitions over the past few years. Last year, Unity bought Weta Digitala visual effects company that has worked on films like Avatar and The Lord of the Rings, for $1.6 billion. This too bought the game streaming platform Parsec for north of $300 million.

This spending strategy hasn’t offered a ton of job protection to existing staff. Last month, Unity laid off 4% of its workforce, totaling hundreds of employees in all departments. In the wake of the layoffs, employees have questioned and expressed frustration about the company’s priorities, according to internal Slack logs viewed by Kotaku.

“My problem is not with these companies, nor with the staff of these companies – you are cool!” an employee wrote on a Slack channel following the announcement of the layoffs last month. “My problem is having the nerve to pretend that we [are a] a company with values ​​like ‘in it together’ when staff can be fucking left out.

It’s unclear what protections, if any, are in place to prevent the Ironsource workforce from suffering a similar fate. Representatives for Unity and Ironsource did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.

If you know Unity’s business strategy and want to chat, private or not, my inbox is always open: [email protected] (Signal and Proton on request).

Ironsource represents a shift in Unity’s strategy, appearing to show a company prioritizing profit over product. Previous acquisitions have generally had Something to do with video games, whether it’s Weta’s VFX expertise or mastering the multiplayer netcode of something like MLAPI, which Unit acquired in 2020. Ironsource is purely about monetization.

“The general vibe in the company is that the whole company, at this point, has been horribly mismanaged,” said another former employee. Kotaku, speaking on condition of anonymity. (According to employees I’ve spoken to, that seems to be the general direction. One even told me that his department has no time limit.)

After last month’s layoffs, executives declined to answer questions such as, “Have executives ever discussed their exorbitant pay scale and potential cuts to save the workforce?” said the former employee. “I guess so, they did, but turned it down because they wanted this new beach house in Malibu.”