Welcome to David Lau-Kee
Dear Unity community,
I want to give you all a heads-up on a cool development at HQ. But let me first digress for a minute.
2008 was a wonderful year for Unity. We launched support for two major platforms (Wii, iPhone), our userbase tripled, there’s probably more than 10 times more games out with Unity now than in 2007, and some very hard-core teams started or announced they were doing extremely ambitious things with Unity (Cartoon Network, Funcom, Disney, loads of others in the woodworks). And with more business, we could afford to more than double the team: core development, platform development, and QA & support.
But another wonderful thing happened. On a trip to London in September, I was introduced to a guy called David Lau-Kee, and we decided to meet over coffee.
David had been co-founder and CEO of a company called Criterion Software, which some of you might know as the company behind the Burnout series of racing games. But more importantly Criterion developed the Renderware engine, which more than any other game engine established and ruled the game engine market for a decade. Eventually Electronic Arts took over, which by the way was seen by the industry as very damaging for Renderware… and which may have allowed Epic to finally establish a stranglehold on the AAA engine space. After that David stayed with EA as vice “president of worldwide development”, a sort of “head of game engines” at EA.
I didn’t really know what to expect, but set aside an hour in an otherwise tight schedule. I was worried that I would meet someone from a different era, that would tell me (interesting) stories of times past and, if I were able to convince him of how cool Unity is, perhaps be able to give me introductions to some key people in the industry.
Three hours later I was still there, in intense discussions. At some point I had decided to just not look at my watch (and risk missing my plane back to Denmark). He really got it, often ahead of me explaining. And he was voicing ideas that we had just barely started thinking about. We didn’t agree on everything (still don’t), but it was intense and creative disagreement. It was reminiscent of when Tom Higgins joined us: a person with a very deep experience of a similar product yet having a different and with interesting angle. Additionally this guy had the experience of building a company from 2 people (in a closet, reminding me of our own story) to a team of 400 across multiple geographies and the works.
David was looking for the “next big thing” to apply his skills and experience to. And we were looking for a veteran like David to vet our crazy ideas with, and to advice our strategy and growth plans.
I did make that plane, and then one thing took another. David was sneaking around at Unite, and has made several trips to Copenhagen. And now, we are finally ready take on David Lau-Kee as non-executive chairman. He’s smart, knowledgable, and him being able to call every senior game industry exec won’t hurt either :)
David believes in what we’re doing just as much as we do, and his strong support can only make us more bold in executing a plan to be a very serious player in this industry, to be a new kind of software company, and to make Unity into a growing and well supported package for a long long time to come.