John Riccitiello Steps Down As Unity CEO Following New Price Model Backlash From Developers

Change is coming to not just Unity’s now updated policies but its leadership as well, with the game engine company announcing that John Riccitiello is retiring as Unity’s CEO and president after nine years. Additionally, Riccitiello will also leave his chairman position on the company’s board of directors, according to GameIdustry.Biz.

Immediately following the departure, James M. Whitehurst will serve as Interim as the company’s board of directors, led by Roelof Botha, searches for the company’s next CEO.

“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,” Whitehurst said in a statement.

Not so coincidentally, the company’s new leadership direction follows almost a month after Unity announced its updated price policy change that would have charged developers a fee based on how many users install a developer’s game. This would accumulate the more popular a game developed in its game engine would get. This move was reportedly a John Riccitiello initiative as the now-former CEO attempted a new approach to get the company out of debt.

What’s great for a company is not so great for its customer base, as the move led to a huge backlash from the developer community who use the game engine as a part of their livelihood. Some of the bigger indie developers who use the engine, including Among Us studio, Innersloth and Slay the Spire studio, Mega Crit called out the move on social media, which later led to Unity in an open letter to backtracking and changed its new developer policies.

John Riccitiello was better known as EA CEO and is infamously known for criticizing companies (and calling names) who don’t monetize their games but now has experienced what too much monetization can lead to.