Unity and IronSource officially complete their $4.4 billion merger

IronSource brings monetization tools to Unity’s table, which will strengthen mobile games running on Unity’s game engine.

Unity makes games, and IronSource makes money. By having these tools work together, game developers can rely on Unity for the entire life cycle of a mobile game. (Source: Unity)

Unity, the game engine over 750,000 games operate on, finished its $4.4 billion merger with IronSource to supply monetization methods for mobile games built in Unity. This deal crowns Unity as the leading end-to-end platform for mobile app creators, ushering them through every step in a game’s lifecycle, from start to finish as they build, run, and grow their titles as well as 3D experiences. During the past 18 months, Unity has been on a buying spree, acquiring Weta Digital for $1.6 billion, as well as Ziva Dynamics, Interactive Data Visualization, Parsec, SyncSketch, and others.

The two companies started flirting a few months earlier in July. In August, AppLovin offered Unity a $20 billion merger if Unity agreed to drop IronSource, but Unity held firm with its IronSource plans. Game developers using Unity to make mobile games will be able to use IronSource’s technology to monetize their games, resulting in Unity being able to offer a complete ecosystem for developers.

Game developers and Unity both benefit from IronSource’s adtech. Unity receives more waves of data for the demographics of mobile games and uses that information to understand how customers interact with their games. More data makes smarter tools. Smarter tools mean less work for game developers. So, Unity developers making mobile games will be able to spend more time making their game and less time studying user analytics, engagement, and acquisition.

“The benefits from the merger with IronSource are, indeed, particularly strong for mobile game developers who choose advertising as their business model. Gamers are a highly engaged audience, but only a small minority (less than 2%) utilizes in-app purchase in the games they play, said John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity. “Advertising and in-app purchases are the ways most mobile game developers choose to monetize their games. And most players welcome ads as a way to discover new games to play. This provides developers with the revenue to not only pay the bills, but also fund their growing teams—and build more beautiful games.”

Unity isn’t the only company out to integrate mobile monetization into their platform. Mobile app stores pull massive revenue, mostly through advertisements. AppLovin, the application marketing platform that tried to make a pass at Unity, acquired a different app-focused company named Adjust in early 2021. Meanwhile, Zynga, the makers of FarmVille, spent $250 million to buy Chartboost, which monetizes apps.

“The data has shown pretty consistently over the past few economic cycles that when there’s a recession, people actually game more—and that’s because it’s more expensive to go to the movies than it is to stay at home with a pizza,” said Riccitiello.