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Unity CEO John Riccitiello Steps Down After Runtime Fee Backlash

Former IBM president James M. Whitehurst has been appointed as interim CEO, president, and board member

Unity CEO John Riccitiello has left the company with immediate effect less than a month after the engine firm cooked up a storm with its new pricing policy.

Ex-IBM president James Whitehurst has taken over as interim CEO, president, and board member. Unity lead independent director of the board Roelof Botha has been appointed to the role of chairman. Riccitiello will continue to advise Unity to “ensure a smooth transition” while the board searches for a permanent replacement.

“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,” said Riccitiello. “I look forward to supporting Unity through this transition and following the Company’s future success.”

Whitehust added, “I am honoured to join Unity as Interim CEO and President at this important time in its evolution.

“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. I look forward to working closely with the Board and our talented global team to execute on our strategy, and I anticipate a seamless transition.”

A united company?

Riccitiello’s exit comes after industry backlash following the recently announced Unity Runtime Fee, which imposes new fees on game makers utilising the platform.

The move has proven wildly unpopular with the company’s userbase, with co-founder David Helgason infamously stating “We fucked up on so many levels.” Unity has since amended the policy, but has kept the runtime fee. As part of the changes, developers that hit the criteria to pay the runtime fee will have the choice of paying either a 2.5% revenue share or a fee based on self-reported installs.

This article was first published on

Written By

Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He's been a gamer all his life.

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