Furious Pricing Backlash by Unity Causes Gaming Boss To Quit!

Chief executive of game development tool Unity, John Riccitiello has resigned following a pricing change which has angered developers and gamers within the industry.

It is understood that the firm wanted to charge studios each time a person installed a game using Unity’s code. This code is used to power thousands of modern video games. Big developers that already use Unity for their games pay a licensing fee to use Unity in their games so as you can imagine, this news did not go down well.

These plans were made and announced by Mr Riccitiello in September which would alter how Unity would charge game developers and that caused widespread anger with many threatening to stop using the technology completely. Fans and gamers also questioned whether free-to-play games would have to change to be able to afford the new fees.

Unity was forced to close its San Francisco offices after a death threat was made on social media.

Unity has since rolled back most of its plans has apologized and has said that Mr Riccitello was now retiring from the firm effective immediately. New York Times was later told by Mr Riccitiello that he had been “truly humbled” by the reaction received.

This is not the first time that Mr Riccitiello has closed with the gaming community and been forced to apologise after using crude language to describe developers when they disagreed with him on monetising their games. No reason has been given for Mr Riccitiello’s sudden departure,

Many popular video games such as Genshin Impact, Pokemon Go and Beat Saber use Unity’s game engines in their code and it is also used by small studios. The software is used by developers to make a video game and combine tools which are able to handle audio and animation. As much as it is possible to build an engine like Unity from scratch, it can be complicated and companies often use ready-made versions to save time.

Mr Riccitiello joined Unity in 2013 after moving from Electronic Arts, the game publisher behind EA Sports FC, Mass Effect and The Sims. He was EA’s chief since 2007 but later resigned after he admitted that he was 100% accountable for the company’s results that fell short of forecasts.

Said in a statement made by Mr Riccitiello:

It’s been a privilege to lead Unity for nearly a decade and serve our employees, customers, developers and partners, all of whom have been instrumental to the company’s growth, I look forward to supporting Unity through this transition and following the company’s future success.

Mr Riccitiello

Unity was taken public by Mr Riccitiello in September 2020 in a stock market flotation that valued the business at $13.6bn (£11.1bn). Over a year later, its share price peaked at nearly $200 but has since seen to have fallen and now trades at $29.70 each.

Unity still seems to be making a loss even though it has been growing its revenue which did reach $553m in three months to June 30th 2020. The most recent quarterly results show a $188.5m pre-tax loss.

Mr Riccitiello will be replaced as interim chief executive James Whitehurst. He previously held an executive position at IBM.

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