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  • Writer's pictureHank Klint

John Riccitiello Departs from Unity, Effective Immediately

Unity, the company renowned for its game development engine, has made a sudden announcement of the retirement of its President, CEO, and Chairman, John Riccitiello, effective immediately.

According to the press release, the Board will commence an extensive search process, aided by a prominent executive search firm, to identify a permanent CEO. In the interim, James Whitehurst will assume the roles of CEO, President, and Board member. The statement also noted that Mr. Riccitiello will remain involved with Unity to facilitate a seamless transition.

Notably, Unity's new interim CEO, James Whitehurst, comes from outside the organization. Whitehurst serves as an advisor at Silver Lake, a private equity firm that holds around 9 percent ownership of Unity. Previously, he served as CEO of Red Hat for 12 years, a company known for a distinct flavor of Linux and later acquired by IBM.

While the press release does not address the matter, this development occurs in the midst of a significant controversy in the game industry. Unity had introduced a new pricing model and made retroactive changes to its Terms of Service, eroding trust among many game developers.

Some developers threatened to discontinue using Unity or switch to alternative platforms during the development of their next games due to the fees Unity planned to levy each time a game was installed, regardless of whether the installations were legitimate new purchases or created under previous agreements with Unity.

Concerns also arose about malicious actors potentially exploiting this system to harm marginalized developers by repeatedly downloading and re-downloading their games. Furthermore, developers expressed discontent when Unity removed its Terms of Service from GitHub, making it challenging for them to monitor changes effectively.

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