The game development tool-making company Unity, fresh from laying off hundreds of workers, is to merge with IronSource, a company notorious for delivering malware. IronSouce now focuses on other forms of monetization, but few in the business of making games seem happy about the development.
IronSource is also well-known for another reason. It developed InstallCore, a wrapper for bundling software installations. If you've searched for a popular program and seen a link to a third-party site with a URL that ended in something like "downloadb.net" or "hdownload.net" it may well have been InstallCore. If you made the mistake of downloading it, you'd be offered the kind of extras with generic names like RegClean Pro and DriverSupport an unsophisticated user might click OK on, which is how you end up with a PC full of toolbars and junk that's as slow as your parents' is. InstallCore was obnoxious enough Windows Defender will stop it running (opens in new tab), and Malwarebytes (opens in new tab) too.
In fairness, IronSource "pivoted" to advertising years ago and isn't currently suspected of involvement in malware delivery. Kotaku's Ari Notis notes that its pedigree speaks for itself.
Ironsource represents a shift in Unity's strategy, seeming to show a company that's prioritizing profits over product. Former acquisitions have generally had something to do with video games, whether it's the VFX expertise of Weta or the multiplayer netcode savvy of something like MLAPI, which Unity acquired in 2020. Ironsource is purely about monetization.
"The general mood at the company is that the whole company, at this point, has been horrifically mismanaged," another former employee told Kotaku, speaking under the condition of anonymity. (Based on employees I've spoken to, this seems to be the general sense. One even told me their department didn't have any deadlines.)