A middle aged white guy (John Riccitiello) wears a puffy vest and gestures broadly while speaking during a conference.

John Riccitiello Steps Down as Unity CEO, Game Developers Breathe a Sigh of Relief

Unity recently faced severe backlash from game developers and the gaming community over its new pricing structure for the Unity Engine. Essentially, Unity announced a plan to charge a “Unity Runtime Fee” for game developers based on a game exceeding its lifetime installations plus its exceeded revenue within the past 12 months.

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Popular games such as Genshin Impact, Cult of The Lamb, and Metal: Hellsinger, use the Unity Engine and are bound to take a hit from the pricing. Many argue that Unity will negatively affect the indie gaming scene the hardest because of its corporate greed. Even the European Game Developers Federation (EDGF) had called on the EU to reevaluate its regulation framework and to monitor the “anti-competitive behavior” of Unity. The EDGF had gone as far as to say that Unity’s dominance in the gaming market and its new pricing scheme is a “looming game engine market failure.”

Unity has since apologized and adjusted its plans for the initial Run Time Fee, although not completely abolishing them. Amidst this chaos, John Riccitiello announced that he is resigning from the position of Chief Executive Officer, President, Chairman, and Member of the Company’s Board of Directors. This decision is effective immediately, with many taking to Twitter to celebrate the announcement.

Even before the Runtime Fee debacle, the now-former CEO was a controversial figure, and he was noted for calling game developers the “biggest fucking idiots” for not embracing micro-transactions—just to name one of the many blunders he’s had throughout the years.

While many are still processing the resignation of Ricitiello, some Twitter users are also quick to remind that the former CEO was not alone in making these pricing decisions and pricing changes. As such, there are others that need to be held accountable. In the meantime, game developers are breathing a sigh of relief over the modified pricing with some even celebrating the stepdown. Bright days are far from certain for game developers and the gaming community, but Unity’s stocks went up upon the announcement of Riccitiello’s departure from the company.

(featured image: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)


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Vanessa Esguerra
Vanessa Esguerra (She/They) has been a Contributing Writer for The Mary Sue since 2023. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy, she (happily) rejected law school in 2021 and has been a full-time content writer since. Vanessa is currently taking her Master's degree in Japanese Studies in hopes of deepening her understanding of the country's media culture in relation to pop culture, women, and queer people like herself. She speaks three languages but still manages to get lost in the subways of Tokyo with her clunky Japanese. Fueled by iced coffee brewed from local cafés in Metro Manila, she also regularly covers anime and video games while queuing for her next match in League of Legends.