Unity CEO John Riccitiello has stepped down from his position, effective immediately. The company announced the news on Monday, saying that Riccitiello had retired after nearly a decade at the helm.
Riccitiello’s departure comes in the wake of a massive controversy surrounding Unity’s previously announced (and then walked-back) Unity Runtime Fee. The fee would have required developers to pay a percentage of their game’s revenue to Unity if it made more than $100,000 per year. The announcement was met with widespread backlash from developers, who argued that it would unfairly penalize successful games.
Unity eventually reversed its decision and scrapped the installment fee, but the controversy damaged Riccitiello’s reputation and led to calls for his resignation. The search for a new CEO is underway, and it is said that Riccitiello “will continue to advise Unity to ensure a smooth transition.”
In the meantime, James M. Whitehurst, the former CEO of Red Hat, has been appointed interim CEO of Unity while the company’s board of directors searches for a permanent replacement for Riccitiello.
In his nine years as CEO, Riccitiello oversaw Unity’s transformation into a leading game engine provider. The company’s engine is used to create games for a wide range of platforms, including consoles, PC, and mobile devices. Some of the most popular roguelite games made with Unity include Cult of the Lamb, Vampire Survivors, and Risk of Rain 2.