Why is ironSource Merging with Unity?

Ariel Ariel
2 minute read Jul. 15

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps #122 - Mergers Or Acquisitions?. Check out the full article for more insights.


Unity and ironSource, two solid names most game developers probably know, announced they'd be merging.

In case you're not familiar, Unity offers a cross-platform game engine and a built-in ad network for developers to monetize their games. irounSource is an ad network (though it calls itself a monetization platform).

Both make money from the same audience, which is game developers, making them competitors. Consolidation in this space isn't a new trend in a post App Tracking Transparency world, but what's interesting here is that both of these companies went public recently, and both saw their valuation drop significantly since. Even as revenue continues to rise.

While many look at this merger from a purely financial perspective, I want to take a look from the developer's perspective. I'll do that by looking at how many games are built with Unity and how many make money with either of these two monetization solutions.

The data I'll be using comes from our SDK Intelligence, in case you're curious.

More than 285 thousand mobile games that you can download right now from the App Store and Google Play are powered by Unity. That's a lot of games! Unity's revenue model scales with success. Not all games are successful but looking at the list, there are many familiar names like Mario Kart and Call of Duty.

From the ironSource side, a merger means all of those games are now just a short email away from monetizing with ironSource's ad network. Or from the other direction, now ironSource can excite its advertisers with new inventory.

ironSource has a little more than 70 thousand games using its SDK to monetize across the App Store and Google Play. A little under a half are also built with Unity.

From the Unity side, a merger means... I'm actually not entirely sure. Roughly 260 thousand games utilize Unity's ad network, an impressively higher number than ironSource, and even more impressive is that this number isn't entirely made up of games using Unity's game engine. Only a little under half of those games are also built with Unity.

Many say this is a direct result of Apple's App Tracking Transparency crushing advertisers, which can be reflected by both of these companies' stocks declining since going public, and I believe it.

Is it better for developers? Probably. ironSource's innovative approach to monetiation, when built right into the game engine, could give developers an even easier way to make money, incentivizing more developers to make more games, which I'm all for.

But ads aren't the only way to monetize...

App Intelligence for Everyone!

The insights in this report come right out of our App Intelligence platform, which offers access to download and revenue estimates, installed SDKs, and more! Learn more about the tools or schedule a demo with our team to get started.

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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.


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