Game engine developer Unity signs lucrative deal with US Defense
Unity software development company (opens in a new tab)creator of the popular game engine of the same name, has signed a major contract with the US government to provide its digital simulation technology for defense purposes.
As reported by Bloomberg (opens in a new tab), the company announced the three-year, multimillion-dollar deal earlier this week. The contract is in partnership with CACI International Inc., an information technology company that has previously provided military intelligence, including aerial surveillance, to the US government.
In an earnings call on Tuesday, Unity senior vice president Marc Whitten said the new relationship “will help the government define human-machine or HMI interfaces for aerospace applications and beyond.” adding “These apps demand an interactive and robust user experience, just like games.”
The deal comes on the heels of last year’s reports (opens in a new tab) that Unity employees had ethical concerns about the overlap between the company’s military and non-military businesses. At the time, Unity CEO John Riccitello released an internal statement explaining that the company’s military contracts, which included a partnership with Lockheed Martin “are highly restrictive” and that the company “would not support programs where we knowingly violate our principles and values”. . But it apparently sparked a backlash from employees, many of whom, it was claimed, had only just become aware of the company’s military connections. In response, Riccitiello promised that the issue would be discussed at the company’s next “public meeting”.
More broadly, the past few months have been hectic for Unity. In June, the company laid off (opens in a new tab) hundreds of employees after an alleged attempt to “realign” resources. A month later, he announced a merger (opens in a new tab) with IronSource, a company known for creating a MalWare program called InstallCore. Meanwhile, Riccitiello issued an apology (opens in a new tab)after calling developers who don’t actively think about monetizing their games “fucking idiots” during an interview. And just days ago, mobile ad tech company AppLovin offered to buy Unity (opens in a new tab) for $17.5 billion, a proposal Unity’s board said it would “thoroughly evaluate.”
It’s unclear what effect, if any, this new deal will have on that offer, or the likelihood that Unity will accept it. But what is clear is that, despite the protests of its employees, Unity is continuing the military side of its business. Indeed, the company wrote in its earnings report that this new venture is “the largest digital twin solution for Unity to date.”