Unity CEO John Riccitiello steps down following engine fee controversy

by Danny Craig  · 
Unity CEO John Riccitiello steps down following engine fee controversy
John Riccitiello

Unity has announced that executive John Riccitiello will step down as president, CEO, chairman, and board member just weeks after the announcement of new monetization plans resulted in backlash from the development community.

The details:

  • Unity announced Riccitiello's departure in a new press release (via Business Wire), stating that he will "retire" from all of his positions in the company effective immediately. While still leading Electronic Arts, the former boss joined the company's board of directors in 2013 before taking over as CEO the following year.
  • The engine developer has begun a "comprehensive search process" for its next CEO, with former IBM president James M. Whitehurst serving as interim CEO until the search concludes. During the search period, Riccitiello will also continue to advise the company "to ensure a smooth transition" to its new leadership.
  • Riccitiello's departure comes just weeks after Unity announced plans to implement the "Unity Runtime Fee," which would charge developers every time their game was installed, sparking an industry-wide outrage and boycott of the company's products, with studios announcing plans to migrate games to other engines. The company later attempted to alter the monetization plan, but many rejected the changes and demanded that it be scrapped entirely.

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