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The Unity 3 Interview
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The Unity 3 Interview

October 11, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 6 of 7 Next

Also, I think if Disney tells someone to install a plug-in, they're going to trust it; and once they've got it, they've got it.

DH: Exactly. And the third interesting stat is you get sort of hot spots. Sure, 35 million is a low number if you match and it's spread out thinly, but it's not. It's spread out like, on the Disney side, a very significant number of the regular visitors have it already. So Disney doesn't have a problem with the plug-in anymore for that reason. Recently, we heard that there are several games on the Korean social network called Cyworld --

TH: -- which is the social network in Korea. It's tops.

DH: So, their Facebook. There's a few Unity games on Cyworld now, and somebody we know recently launched their third or fourth game on Cyworld; their experience was that something like 90 percent of the people who came to play their game already had the plug-in. This isn't going to be true anywhere in the world, but it's going to be true in some places.

Especially in Korea, where I would assume that all of the -- you know, when people are configuring computers in a baang/PC room, the computer will just get it.

DH: Oh, that's interesting. I don't know about that, actually.

It's like when you go into a PC cafe in Korea, all of the most popular games are already installed.

TH: You can have it all set up. Keep in mind that the numbers that David was citing -- sure, while there's some small penetration numbers but high actual success rates when people actually hit it -- those were numbers with the previous version of the player, and we did a huge change in version 3 for the Windows install process. It's sleek and optimizes how we always felt about it.

But let's take the install experience on Windows: It was a ghastly six clicks. One to download the player because it shows you a button; two, three to launch the installer; four to tell it to begin; five to say okay when it's done; and then six to put focus back on the window. No reg dialogs; no nothing. It would all happen very slick and easy.

DH: But we were still looking at 70 percent of people going through those things to play.

TH: Now, if you have .NET or Java installed -- which 90 percent-plus or some massive number do -- it will actually use that to bootstrap the installer so it's one click. When you say yes, the rest of it happens, content refreshes, and you're right in place. So, of those 30 percent, how many bail out because they get to the second click and decide, "Okay. I'm gone."

So we're going to make it even easier now that people who get to it -- and that's currently out on Windows; we're going to roll it out on the Mac later -- but hopefully that's going to help bridge that gap on the 30 percent and help shrink it down so we'll see even higher numbers that are gonna get there. We have to wait and see what the effect of that is once we get some number of months in.

DH: Early data points to it taking the success rate to 90 percent. Again, if you live and die by your metrics like the social game companies, at .7 in your success equation, it's pretty painful. For many companies, it's not so painful; but if you live and die by your metrics it's pretty bad. .9 is much less painful. It's almost unnoticeable in your final results. So we're really excited about that. It's only been up for a week, though, so.

Social games are increasing in complication, and even the more complicated ones are now becoming popular on Facebook. Do you see Unity heading there?

DH: There are some pretty cool Unity games on Facebook already. Paradise Paintball has been out for a long time, and they're both on Facebook and MySpace with the exact same game, of course, and I think even the same underlying user base. I don't know the recurring number, but at some point they had like 500,000 monthly active across those. They also run games of their own site and a few places.

Then there's Superstar City with a million monthly actives, and there's a couple of others that have not achieved those numbers. We're getting close to the release of some incredible things, so I'm really excited about that. It's small numbers if you look at something like FarmVille, but the thesis is that -- there's a few things.

One is that, as more people are getting used to playing on the social networks, you will have sort of a splitting up of the people that are playing; you would have the more hardcore people who are used to playing 3D games. It's sort of our theory, but most people seem to agree on this. So it's not only going to be farm games but actually a broad range of games. Some of those games have very light interactions, so people go play them a bit and then leave; but if you build a more hardcore experience you can be able to monetize much better.

So again, even if you "only" have a million monthlies, if you can get a dollar from each that's pretty damn good. So we're really excited about it. It's sort of clear that we're very close to a bunch of stuff happening.

But most of the life of a middleware company lies in the future. (Laughs) Looking back, it all looks a bit sad, and looking forward it's all the cool stuff that we know of that will come, but is not announced.

So you guys are very much looking forward to the future?

TH: As exciting as it is right now... Six months ago, I was looking forward to this past Monday! (Laughs) But now that 3.0 is out, okay, great, we'll take this week to do a little patting on the back and look at what we've got -- but the to-do list of things we want to get to is still so long. There's new platforms; new features; things we can do in the editor... There's just so much to do that, every time we get to a certain level where we're like, "Okay! We completed a step."

I felt this way when we put 2.0 out, and then it was looking forward to 2.5 so we could get out of Windows; and then it was looking forward to 3.0. Just every step we make, there's another two or three we want to get to. And that's an exciting thing because it shows there's a lot of room to continue growing; nobody wants to get to a point where you feel like, "Oh. I guess we're done."

What do you do at that point? I don't see that happening to us anytime soon because there's so many cool things for us to get to that, every time we get to one corner, there's looking at the next, so.

Article Start Previous Page 6 of 7 Next

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