Unity boss resigns after game engine pricing backlash

7 months ago 135

Pikachu from Pokemon Go, a small yellow electric mouse type Pokemon. When it is angered, it immediately discharges the energy stored in the pouches in its cheeks.Image source, Niantic

Image caption,

Pokemon Go is one of the biggest games powered by the Unity engine

By Tom Gerken

Technology reporter

John Riccitiello has resigned as chief executive of game development tool Unity following a controversial pricing change which angered gamers and developers alike.

The firm wanted to charge studios every time a person installed a game using Unity's code which powers thousands of modern video games.

Big developers already pay a licensing fee to use Unity in their games.

Unity said Mr Riccitiello was retiring from the firm effective immediately.

Unity's game engine is the code behind many popular video games - including Pokemon Go, Genshin Impact and Beat Saber - and is typically used by small studios.

It is software that developers use to make a video game and combines tools which handle things like animation and audio.

It is possible to build such an engine from scratch but it is complicated, so companies often use ready-made versions to save time.

Developers like Unity, in particular, because of its wide use and ease of access for beginners.

However, plans by Mr Riccitiello to alter how the company charged developers provoked widespread anger with some threatening to stop using the technology altogether.

Gamers and fans also questioned if free-to-play games would have to change to be able to afford the new fees.

Mr Riccitiello held several leadership positions at the firm, including president, chief executive and chairman and was a member of the board of directors. No reason was given for his abrupt departure.

He will be replaced as interim chief executive by James Whitehurst, who previously held an executive position at IBM.

"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," Mr Riccitiello said in a statement.

"I look forward to supporting Unity through this transition and following the company's future success."

Read Entire Article