John Riccitiello is stepping down as CEO of Unity. Riccitiello, who is a former Electronic Arts boss joined the Unity board back in 2013 and has led the company as CEO in 2014. However, due to the recent backlash following the company’s heavy monetisation program, John Riccitiello has announced his departure from the company.
If you missed it, last month Unity announced a shift in the way the company handled its monetisation plans. The game engine maker claimed that going forward, developers and studios who build games using Unity would have to pay the company an incentive for every single download of software no matter where this has been done.
This would result in new costs across the industry. Studios would have to pay Unity when users simply download demos and even games provided to them through subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus.
Unity has since walked back these changes and is reworking its subscription model. However, the damage has been done and Unity’s reputation has been ruined across the industry. The company has revised its subscription plans but the stain left by its recent announcement is hard to remove.
While John Riccitiello’s departure hasn’t been directly linked to the recent controversy, we can only guess this is the case.
In the meantime, former IBM president James Whitehurst has been appointed step-in CEO. In a statement, Whitehurst says he believes Unity will continue to grow across the industry and he looks forward to supporting the company through the upcoming transition.
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,” Riccitiello said. “I look forward to supporting Unity through this transition and following the company’s future success. With the company’s experienced leadership and passionate employees, I am confident that Unity is well-positioned to continue enhancing its platform, strengthening its community of customers, developers and partners, and focusing on its growth and profitability goals”