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From a conversation at

Ferrari and some of the other high-end car manufacturers still use clay and carving knives. It’s a very small portion of the gaming industry that works that way, and some of these people are my favourite people in the world to fight with—they’re the most beautiful and pure, brilliant people. They’re also some of the biggest fucking idiots.

That’s CEO John Riccitiello answering to criticism with regard to Unity’s recent merger with ironSource.

For the rest of the conversation, Riccitiello builds his giant strawman of developers who “don’t care about what their player thinks” and equates this strawman with everyone who doesn’t embrace Unity’s publishing model that is driven by, let’s call it by its name, advertising and addiction.

One of the anecdotes with which he fleshes out his strawman:

I’ve seen great games fail because they tuned their compulsion loop to two minutes when it should have been an hour.

That’s not just strawman-nonsense on so many levels; it also tells you everything about the mindset behind it. I’m well aware that “compulsion loop” has become an industry term in the mobile games sphere that has replaced “gameplay loop,” the term we still use when we want to make games that players can enjoy. (Ferraris, according to Riccitiello.)

Just to refresh your memory, while the gameplay loop or core loop* consists of a sequence of activities or sets of activities that the player engages in again and again during play that defines the mechanical aspect of the playing experience, the compulsion loop is a behaviorally constructed, dopamine-dependent, addiction-susceptible, near-perpetual anticipation–avoidance–reward loop as an extrinsic motivation package that keeps players playing to maximize their exposure to advertising or their willingness to spend money on in-game purchases of both.

That’s what Unity’s business model is about, industry term or no.


* To maximize confusion, there’s also the game loop, which is the piece of code that updates and renders the game from game state to game state.