By Michelle Castillo
Video game development platform Unity Technologies is gearing up to go public, according to people familiar with the matter.
The company, which was valued at a little more than $3 billion as of its last funding round in June 2018, is aiming to do its initial public offering during the first half of 2020 ー provided that market conditions are favorable, a source told Cheddar. CEO John Riccitiello told Cheddar in April of 2018 that the company was earning about $300 million in annual revenue.
A Unity spokesperson said it doesn't comment on IPO rumors or speculation.
Unity Technologies is a real-time 3D (RT3D) development platform, used to power 2D, 3D, VR, and AR content. Half of mobile games and about 60 percent of AR/VR experiences use its platform today, according to company estimates. Because Unity is device-independent and can work on any company's gadgets, it is used in almost 3 billion devices globally.
“It gives investors the opportunity to participate in the overall growth of the video game business on all platforms without having to choose a winner among the various publishers," said Brandon Ross, director and TMT Analyst at BTIG. "And investors understanding of video game engines has been heightened over the past several months as Epic has come into focus. We believe they have strategic value to some of the tech companies that might be looking to get deeper into games.”
The mobile gaming industry was worth $70.3 billion in 2018, making up more than half of all gaming revenue according to research from Newzoo.
Unity charges a licensing fee to larger developers that use its technology. It also has a robust advertising platform, giving companies that use its platform access to its ad network. It serves more than 10.5 billion ads a month. A Unity spokesperson said the company does not disclose its ad revenue, but source familiar with the matter said the company makes about half of its revenue from advertising.
Though the company's roots are in mobile gaming, it is branching out into PC and console games as well as other entertainment experiences. For example, its 3-D design capabilities have been used by the auto industry to design cars.
Unity also acquired chat service Vivox, which is used in video games like "Fortnite." The company bought Vivox to "bring their great service to even more creators and to continue powering increased delight through player connection on all formats," a Unity spokesperson said.
Additional reporting by Alex Heath