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TechnologyI am John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity Technologies.We make the leading game and experience platform for creating 2D, 3D, VR and AR experiences. AMA!

Dec 20th 2016 by JR_Unity • 18 Questions • 494 Points

Hello Reddit! I am John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity Technologies. We make the leading game and experience platform for creating 2D, 3D, VR and AR experiences. Some of the more well known games from this year that were made with Unity include: Pokemon GO, Super Mario Run, Firewatch and Inside.

If you’re a developer, you might have heard about our latest plans for the Unity platform, super exciting stuff. We're forging ahead at full speed as you can see on our roadmap, improving graphics, adding platforms, fixing things, and overall making sure that you can make the best games and VR experiences out there.

And if you haven't seen it yet, here's our short film Adam which shows just what the Unity engine is capable of already!

Feel free to ask me about our 2017 plans for Unity, my experience at the company and what I see in the future of the game, mobile and AR/VR industries. I'll be answering questions from 11AM - 12PM. Excited for my first AMA!

Proof: https://twitter.com/unity3d/status/809475421494329345

EDIT: And that's all the time I have for now. Thank you very much for all your questions! I'll try to answer a few more later on. Happy holidays!

Q:

Ok I'll be that guy. Nested prefabs? ;P

On an aside, I want to say thank you to all of Unity for allowing me to make my dreams a reality. Unity allowed me to create my "foot in the door" for the game industry.

A:

Nested Prefabs is now -- actually -- on the roadmap for real. Stay tuned for more detail in the coming months. And -- so glad Unity helped you get your start in the game industry.


Q:

Jesus and all angels guide you to accomplish this!! Nested prefabs for everybody!!

A:

I am with you!!


Q:

What was it like stepping into David Helgason's shoes as CEO? Did you see it as a big challenge to keep his dream of democratization alive, or were you more focused on bringing your own directions and views to Unity?

A:

David is one of the people on this planet that most inspires me. His (and Joachim's) vision of democratization is what attracted me to Unity to begin with. I am personally very much a believer in the idea, and had the great luck of joining Unity in 2014, early enough to help make the call to launch Unity 5.0 Personal Edition -- our first free, full functional / all platform engine launch for Developers. All about Democratization.


Q:

What is your favorite game that uses Unity?

A:

I just started playing Mario. Love it. Loved Lara Croft Go. Am very excited to see War Commander Rogue Assault come out this week. One of my favorites is Cities Skylines.


Q:

What is more difficult, being CEO of EA or of Unity? and why?

A:

Very different. EA makes games, and being a leader there means taking development risk on game content. Thinking like a player. Being sure the games are fun, exciting and innovative. Unity is about thinking like a developer. We always put our developers first -- figuring out what they need and want. I love working for Unity. It helps to have our amazing founders, David H and Joachim A around.


Q:

Hi John! What is your favorite sandwich?

A:

BLT


Q:

Hey John! Thanks so much for doing this AMA. Any plans for a visual scripting system that is built into Unity?

A:

Visual scripting -- on the roadmap. Timing TBD.


Q:

Hey! Procedurally generated content is now becoming popular beyond genre. You're seeing games play with it not just with level design, but also enemy design (FTL), character design (Crusader Kings 2), and even narrative (Moon Hunters).

What are your plans to support more procedural generation through Unity, either with direct procedural generation tools, or just to make it easier to integrate PCG into a game?

A:

We are making Unity better for creating procedural content / environments.

But -- i play quite a few games, and so far, my experience is there is nothing like the exquisite detail that comes from the hand crafting a combination of great artists and programmers create when they are paying attention to every cell / pixel. Think the beauty of Bioshock Inifinite or, a personal favorite, Mirrors Edge.


Q:

Currently Unity seems to fall flat compared to other game engines when it comes to 2D games. What plans do you have to help catch Unity up to the competition?

A:

We have a great team working on 2d at Unity. Super strong, based in Singapore. They have made a bunch of upgrades with more coming in 5.6 and even more over the rest of 2017. Here is a link with some info. https://forum.unity3d.com/forums/2d-experimental-preview.104/


Q:

Are there any new interesting international markets that a unity port could potentially open up? e.g. LINE apps? or some other tv os or console that isn't on north american radar?

A:

We very much support platforms internationally. Recently at Unite LA we announced our partnership with Xiaomi, one of China's leading platforms. We are very focused on AR / VR. Will announce more when ready.


Q:

Tools like Unity have had a big impact on the indie game community, which is getting stronger every day. Nowadays, it's easier to make games for people who don't have a lot of experience, budget, of publisher support.

Meanwhile, the AAA industry is suffering the cost of its growing complexity; I'm not saying that it's dying, far from it, but it's certainly been stumbling, with underwhelming releases (I'll take FFXV as an exemple, which took more than 10 years to be released, for a result that some would consider uneven or even disappointing) or big names in the industry deciding that it's not worth the hassle anymore and choosing to try their luck elsewhere (Hello, Konami). Some series that were once a cornerstones of the industry are also starting to experience disappointing sale numbers and player attention (CoD, Assassin's Creed, to name a few).

What are your thoughts about this new balance of power? Do you believe the trend will continue, that it could bring a lasting change to the industry as we know it, or do you think that the video game industry will be more or less the same in a few years?

(Sorry if the question is too broad; I chose to ask it because it's hard to think about indie games without immediately thinking about Unity)

A:

Big question. One that i could talk about for hours. One thing i love about Unity is we are very serious about helping Indie developers create games that can compete with the biggest game publishers. I expect Indie gaming to rise as a % of the total industry for many years. But, game development will get more complex for Indie's. Real time multiplayer games are more complex and these will be the norm in a few years in mobile, challenging Indies to tackle more difficult and complex problems.


Q:

Is Unity still committed to supporting and enabling indie game developers? Are there any new indie dev initiatives coming up in 2017?

A:

We are very much involved with Indie developers, in gaming and now in AR / VR. Unity 5.0 Personal Edition was all about Indies. We launched MadeWithUnity to support Indies. And recently launched Unity Connect, largely for Indies. And -- at Unity -- many of us play and love Indie devs and games.


Q:

Hi John, former EA Tiburon'er here (was creative director on Madden while you were at the helm), and struck out on my own this year with a Unity-built F2P Horse Racing game for mobile.

My sorta pseudo-vague and general question for you - are there any recommended ways we as developers can utilize the power of the Unity brand to help spread information about our games and studios? I've tried making blog posts on Made With Unity, tweeting at Unity folks, etc, but it'd be nice to know of the right channels to get noticed and in essence help co-market and grow our games together.

Thinking of things like featured apps, developer diaries, or whatever really! We want to get our game noticed by more people, and you guys want to be able to showcase all the cool (and successful) things that people are building...seems like there's room there for a nice symbiotic relationship.

A:

We are definitely focused on ways to help our developers make beautiful games that are successful. Made with Unity is the right place to start as it can help with discovery and user acquisition. But as you’re aware, app discovery is a multifaceted problem. You should attack it from all fronts, which includes raising your profile through other Unity resources like Connect, which raises awareness amongst developers, attending events and user groups, and sharing your game on the Unity forums. Aside from that, pitching to editors at magazines like Kotaku and rock paper shotgun can help raise visibility.


Q:

What's the best way someone with software experience can learn to develop for Unity?

A:

Most people learn by joining a team and learning by doing. There are also a bunch of tutorials online, on Youtube and on our one websites, where you can find more. Many colleges and schools also teach Unity.


Q:

How big will non-game VR experiences be compared to VR games - both in general and specifically for Unity- in the next couple of years?

A:

Hard to know. I'd guess non-game ends up bigger than games for the total world of VR. Initially, gaming is more than 2/3 but i think over time non game apps will grow more rapidly.


Q:

What changes have been in the company since you became the CEO? Did you find something that you immediately changed?

A:

Unity is constantly changing. Perhaps the biggest change was the decision to more than double investment in the core engine. Another change was launching Ads and Analytics -- we did this after i joined the company as an investor and board member, and grew it in my time as CEO. But, I'd say the biggest issues are really what stayed the same. We continue to be VERY engineering driven. We remain very much focused on the idea of supporting developers, even doing a bunch of things that are unprofitable to drive democratization.


Q:

Hello John, How do you see the future of VR? Do you think it'll become mainstream? Would love to know your opinion on this. Thanks! Love Unity

A:

I think VR will be mainstream -- meaning 100m consumers using the tech regularly -- by 2020. And, i believe that within 10 years we will see > 1B consumers globally using VR apps


Q:

Hi John,

What is your favourite feature coming to Unity in the near future?

Mine is the Octane renderer!

A:

Timeline. Octane renderer. Love all the advancements for 2d now in the experimental build. https://forum.unity3d.com/forums/2d-experimental-preview.104/

And -- one more. EditorVR. Experimental, available on Github. https://github.com/Unity-Technologies/EditorVR