Unity, the game development platform, has been in the spotlight recently due to a significant controversy surrounding proposed changes to its pricing structure for developers. In response to the uproar, Unity has announced the immediate retirement of CEO John Riccitiello.
According to the official announcement, Riccitiello will continue to provide advisory support during the transition phase while Unity undertakes a comprehensive search for a permanent CEO. In the interim, James Whitehurst, an advisor at the private equity firm Silver Lake, will assume the role of CEO.
In a statement, Riccitiello expressed gratitude for his nearly decade-long tenure leading Unity, acknowledging the contributions of employees, customers, developers, and partners to the company’s growth. He stated, “I look forward to supporting Unity through this transition and following the Company’s future success.”
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The controversy that led to this leadership change stemmed from Unity’s proposed revision of its pricing structure, which included a new monthly Runtime Fee based on the installation count of games developed using the Unity engine. Many developers expressed strong opposition to these changes, with some considering a shift to alternative game engines.
Unity has since attempted to address these concerns by providing clarification on how the fees would affect its various subscription plans through an open letter.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that Riccitiello has previously garnered attention for his choice of words in the context of mobile game monetization, which led to his temporary inclusion in the Wikipedia page for “greed.” However, this incident serves as a humorous anecdote as he steps down from his CEO position.
As Unity begins the search for new leadership, the departure of John Riccitiello marks a significant moment in the company’s history, and the gaming industry will be watching closely to see how this transition impacts the platform and its users.