Game engine maker Unity expects $30M hit from Apple's App Tracking Transparency

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in General Discussion
Unity Technologies reported earnings on Tuesday, and while overall guidance for the coming year is better than expected, the company anticipates Apple's new ad targeting rules to shave $30 million from its annual revenue.

Unity


The estimated $30 million reduction in overall 2021 revenue remains unchanged from an appraisal Unity presented last year, reports Venture Beat. That figure is now expected to be offset with a $50 million bump in year-end guidance.

Unity generates income from developers who use its game engine to create titles like "Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout," "Ori and the Will of the Wisps," and "Oddworld: Soulstorm." Subscriptions make up a sizable portion of the company's intake, but advertising also plays a significant role in buoying the bottom line.

In the first quarter of 2021, the software firm notched revenue of $234.8 million, up 41% year-over-year. Unity sees an addressable market of close to $29 billion across games and entertainment, including TV commercials and animated films, the report said.

Apple's App Tracking Transparency policies prohibit developers from accessing a user's Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) tag without asking consent. When opening an app for the first time in iOS 14.5, users are presented with an option to allow IDFA tracking. The feature, which is used by advertisers to track people across other apps and the web, is not enabled by default.

Touted by Apple as an important user privacy tool, critics say the requirement to obtain ad tracking permissions will dissuade users from participating and thus hurt businesses reliant on ad revenue. Unity is one such company bracing for impact.

While Apple has yet to release official statistics on ATT adoption, a recent analysis from Flurry revealed only 4% of daily users in the U.S. are allowing apps IDFA access.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    borpsborps Posts: 28member
    Another company that made millions by getting a free ride on  selling user data, now complains that they have to earn the right to use that data by building trust first. Cry me a river . 
    FileMakerFellerd_2dysamoriabaconstangAlex_VjbtuckrbyronlwilliamlondonBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,638member
    Et tu Unity, et tu?

    Apple should partner with these guys and go nuts on 3D rendering hardware.
    MacProwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 14
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,755member
    To make a level playing field so to speak, there should be a Federal law that grants every human citizen complete and total ownership of their personal and life data. It would also make it 100% illegal, with no wiggle room, for a real person or entity to use your personal data without explicit permission. There is just nothing wrong with this. The only objections would be from companies lIke Unity and others who want to make money off of us without paying for it. You want to use my data, okay fine - pay me. What would be unreasonable about this?
    edited May 11 fred1dysamoriaAlex_VBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 14
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,352member
    welshdog said:
    To make a level playing field so to speak, there should be a Federal law that grants every human citizen complete and total ownership of their personal and life data. It would also make it 100% illegal, with no wiggle room, for a real person or entity to use your personal data without explicit permission. There is just nothing wrong with this. The only objections would be from companies lIke Unity and others who want to make money off of us without paying for it. You want to use my data, okay fine - pay me. What what would be unreasonable about this?
    There might be a middle ground. For example, the entire board of directors and senior management might be required to perform public service announcements, in keeping with the spirit of the warning labels of cigarettes, such as this: "Our company thrives on the collection and sale of your private data, without your knowledge or permission, which we all know is a highly immoral thing to do. And if there is a heaven, none of us will be going there."
    welshdogBeatslkruppwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 14
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,306member
    I’m repulsed. That’s a disgusting number. Any company that makes such a statement has just told me that their business model is shit.
    mac_dogAlex_VBeats
  • Reply 6 of 14
    byronlbyronl Posts: 72member
    oh no… anyways
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 14
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,478moderator
    dysamoria said:
    I’m repulsed. That’s a disgusting number. Any company that makes such a statement has just told me that their business model is shit.
    Their financials suggest their business model isn't working very well:

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/24/21399611/unity-ipo-game-engine-unreal-competitor-epic-app-store-revenue-profit

    "Unity admits it’s never made a profit since the very beginning"

    From their annual report:

    "Our revenue for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018 was $772.4 million, $541.8 million, and $380.8 million.
    We generated net losses of $282.3 million, $163.2 million, and $131.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively"

    Making game engines is not a very profitable business model. Epic makes most of its revenue from Fortnite, 97% according to the following:

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/esports/epic-v-apple-trial-documents-reveal-new-financial-information-around-fortnite-s-success/ar-BB1gkqjS
    https://www.gamepressure.com/newsroom/fortnite-we-know-epic-games-revenue/zd3208


    Epic game engine revenue is only around $100m per year. Companies that make engines would be better off being supported by a big company that make revenue elsewhere. Unity is valued around $23b despite making no profit.
    williamlondonCloudTalkindysamoriafastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 14
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,337member
    A freaking game engine is collecting data?? I never knew this!! Imagine who else is collecting data!!

    Again, Apple needs to take gaming seriously.  Create a killer game engine that fully supports Apple Silicon(imagine that!) and buy a 1st party game studio.

    Epic makes about 97% revenue from Fortnite. If Apple can develop a Fortnite killer with their own engine they can take out Epic altogether. Get rid of that tumor for good!
    MacProwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 14
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,893member
    Marvin said:

    Epic makes most of its revenue from Fortnite, 97% according to the following:


    Why take the figures from 2 years ago when the numbers from 1 year ago are available?  $3709m from $221m is 87%.  And the forecasted 2020 figures are more like 77%.

    Shows that their store revenue is a good grower too.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 14
    GabyGaby Posts: 170member
    Personally I think Apple should purchase unity and retain the engineers. Then slowly integrate it into their SDK. It would help in myriad ways with the benefit of stifling Epics betrayal and scheming. Moreover if any of these court cases do result in Apple having to open up iOS somewhat and allowing 3rd party stores or payments then it would be another way to justify the commission model, and provides an additional incentive by offering a seamless high quality platform to retain devs and apps for the Appstore, rather than them having to pay Sweeney and Co. And additional percentage of revenues on top. All the while allowing for increased competition. Thus regulators would have no justification to complain. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 14
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,478moderator
    crowley said:
    Marvin said:

    Epic makes most of its revenue from Fortnite, 97% according to the following:


    Why take the figures from 2 years ago when the numbers from 1 year ago are available?  $3709m from $221m is 87%.  And the forecasted 2020 figures are more like 77%.

    Shows that their store revenue is a good grower too.
    That was from the linked article, it mentioned the 2018 amount first. The point was the amount of revenue the engine makes:

    2018: engine = 124/5628 = 2.2%
    2019: 97/4221 = 2.2%
    2020: 100/3582 = 2.7%

    More accurately, 97% of Epic's revenue comes from everything except their engine, primarily Fortnite. While the store revenue is growing, they get 12% of that. The store is also growing because they are using the Fortnite earnings to pay for exclusives and free games.
    Beats said:
    A freaking game engine is collecting data?? I never knew this!! Imagine who else is collecting data!!

    Again, Apple needs to take gaming seriously.  Create a killer game engine that fully supports Apple Silicon(imagine that!) and buy a 1st party game studio.

    Epic makes about 97% revenue from Fortnite. If Apple can develop a Fortnite killer with their own engine they can take out Epic altogether. Get rid of that tumor for good!
    Social gaming is a big revenue driver. Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite, PUBG, Call of Duty Multiplayer, GTA online.

    They make money from microtransactions though. The Apple Arcade business model seems a bit more respectable. If they had a social gaming platform, it would strengthen Apple Arcade.

    I was going to suggest a game like Oceanhorn turned into an Animal Crossing type game, they built the second one on Unreal Engine:

    https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/spotlights/switching-to-unreal-engine-cornfox-bros-is-moving-mobile-gaming-forward-with-oceanhorn-2



    In that video, they describe the game engine like a camera for a film maker where the film maker doesn't want to build the camera. They want access to the source code and it has to be platform independent. That would be a big undertaking for Apple. Amazon did it with Lumberyard, branched from Crytek's engine.

    The engines that are out there are pretty bad quality but it makes sense in light of how hard they are to build and maintain and how little revenue they make, combined with the requirements for open source.
    Gaby said:
    Personally I think Apple should purchase unity and retain the engineers.

    Their market cap is $23b, that's a steep price to pay and the engine could be much better than it is. They'd probably want to use Swift as the coding language too.

    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 14
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,418member
    Beats said:
    A freaking game engine is collecting data?? I never knew this!! Imagine who else is collecting data!!
    You’re joking, right? Every single website, every single app, many of your home electronics collect data.
    Again, Apple needs to take gaming seriously.  Create a killer game engine that fully supports Apple Silicon(imagine that!) and buy a 1st party game studio.
    Epic makes about 97% revenue from Fortnite. If Apple can develop a Fortnite killer with their own engine they can take out Epic altogether. Get rid of that tumor for good!
    Ah yes, just simply build an Unreal Engine killer and a Fortnite killer, that’s easy. Lol. You realize how many studios have tried to take on Fortnite already? You realize UE has been in development for 25 years?

    Also, if anyone cares about gaming on the Mac/iPad/iPhone, you don’t want to “get rid” of UE — it’s the most advanced cross platform game engine and you’d be cutting out a huge number of games that get published for Apple’s platforms and would simply be available on all others instead. Great idea.

    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 14
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,418member
    Gaby said:
    Personally I think Apple should purchase unity and retain the engineers. Then slowly integrate it into their SDK. It would help in myriad ways with the benefit of stifling Epics betrayal and scheming. Moreover if any of these court cases do result in Apple having to open up iOS somewhat and allowing 3rd party stores or payments then it would be another way to justify the commission model, and provides an additional incentive by offering a seamless high quality platform to retain devs and apps for the Appstore, rather than them having to pay Sweeney and Co. And additional percentage of revenues on top. All the while allowing for increased competition. Thus regulators would have no justification to complain. 
    Unity3D is a pretty poor competitor to Unreal Engine, all things considered. Also, consider that the reason Unity is as popular as it is is that it publishes for all the platforms, just like Unreal Engine does — Mac, PC, Android, iOS, Xbox, PlayStation, etc. Make it an Apple exclusive engine and you lose that, so that cuts out a majority of the market for Unity developers. Not happening. 

    Love these magic wand type solutions here though. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 14
    ajmasajmas Posts: 575member
    Gaby said:
    Personally I think Apple should purchase unity and retain the engineers. Then slowly integrate it into their SDK. It would help in myriad ways with the benefit of stifling Epics betrayal and scheming. Moreover if any of these court cases do result in Apple having to open up iOS somewhat and allowing 3rd party stores or payments then it would be another way to justify the commission model, and provides an additional incentive by offering a seamless high quality platform to retain devs and apps for the Appstore, rather than them having to pay Sweeney and Co. And additional percentage of revenues on top. All the while allowing for increased competition. Thus regulators would have no justification to complain. 
    Given that Unity uses C#, it would be more suited for Microsoft to purchase them, than Apple. 
    watto_cobra
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