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Leading Unity into the future

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by David-Helgason, Oct 22, 2014.

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  1. David-Helgason

    David-Helgason

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    Dear Unity developers, customers, friends.

    As you all know, we’ve been making some big moves at Unity lately. We’ve partnered with some amazing companies and begun putting a lot more energy and resources into developing technologies that will help you be more efficient when you create games and then help you connect your games with an awesome audience when you’re ready for it.

    This is a lot to take on as a company and building it right is going to take a huge effort. We keep our eyes out for the best talent and help wherever we feel we can use it at every level. That’s why today, I’m pleased to welcome John Riccitiello onto the Unity team as our new CEO. Sure, that sounds odd, as it also means I’m stepping down from the role, but this is an amazing win for Unity and the community and I can't wait to work with John and the rest of the (fantastic) team to serve you as best we can.

    I posted more on the blog, but just wanted to link it here too.

    Lots of love,
    David Helgason
     
  2. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Welcome, John Riccitiello!

    And thank you for the years so far, David.
     
  3. Archania

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    Welcome. And a huge thank you David for bringing unity to the point it is now and looking forward to a fantastic future still ahead.
     
  4. David-Helgason

    David-Helgason

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    Thanks guys. and if it wasn't 1000% percent clear (or if you just didn't read the post), I'm still going to be fully engaged going forwards. Wish us all luck!
     
  5. Toad

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    Good luck in your new role David. Hope it means you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy, and less time on the things you don't. Very glad you're staying at Unity!

    Welcome to the good ship Unity John. Take good care of her.
     
  6. Steviebops

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    I hope he doesn't start nickel-and-diming everything.

    That said, cost is as plus for Unity, if it goes up, people will look elsewhere.
     
  7. VIC20

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    Never change a running system. But at least it is not the former CEO of Pepsi.
     
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  8. Aiursrage2k

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    Wow. I wonder if U4 didnt have a bigger impact than we thought.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
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  9. Saxi

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    Why would you hire the guy who destroyed EA Games as your CEO?
    I understand you want to move on, but couldn't you pick someone that isn't one of the most hated CEO's in the gaming industry?

    Is it April 1st and I don't know it?
     
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  10. StarManta

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    Funny you should mention that. According to Wikipedia, he actually did work for Pepsi as a "Group Marketing Director".
     
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  11. BeefSupreme

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    How did he destroy EA? From Wikipedia:

    During his tenure, EA emerged as the world's largest maker of video games,[10] with sales rising from about $673 million in 1997 to more than $3 billion in fiscal year 2004. Profit rose from $51.3 million in 1997 to $577 million in fiscal year 2004.[11]


    He left EA from 2004 to 2007, then:

    EA generated $1.6 billion of digital revenue in 2012 and a #1 ranking in annual revenue for Apple iOS.[19] Qualitatively, under Riccitiello's tenure EA ascended in metacritic's rankings from #5 in 2010, #4 in 2011, to #1 in 2012.[20] Profitability was up each year from fiscal year 2009 through fiscal year 2012, but fell below projections in 2013.

    Unless you mean spiritually, which I can agree with. I don't want to buy a Unity season pass =(
     
  12. StarManta

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    I'm...kind of with @Saxi on this one. EA, during Riccitiello's entire tenure at the company, has been the living embodiment of all that is despised in the game industry. There were on occasion game companies that were more hated than EA, but I'm pretty sure EA bought them all. I'm not usually one to judge a new hire, but it's hard for me to imagine a worse company for a guy to have on his resume.

    Edit: I should say, this is from the perspective of a Unity user. I have little doubt that he will drive UT to record profits.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
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  13. Devil_Inside

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    I think that things will work out great in the end
     
  14. drawcode

    drawcode

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    Will he now be popping the collar? I expect to see Riccitiello step out at Unite with the collar popped.

    I just hope he is looking to truly continue the path of Unity, away from EA type management, rather than merge it with EA down the road or move away from the Unity mission. I am frankly a little worried as a Unity developer of 6+ years now since the beginning. I hope this was not forced in any way due to the big money in Unity now. Please don't mess this up.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  15. Nanity

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    Saxi refered to EA games, not to EA itself. Then again I don't think Riccitiello can be made responsible alone for ALL those reasons that ultimately lead to the worst company awards.

    It would be very pleasant to hear his opinion about online enforcement, micro transactions (pay to win) and intrusive digital right management non the less, although it plays a minor role in the game engine sector. Still the philosophy does...
     
  16. Thomas-Pasieka

    Thomas-Pasieka

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    Like I always say, one has to do what he actually LIKES doing (if possible). It will all be fine in the end....
     
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  17. adventurefan

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    I'd really really just hope nothing changes for us dev folk.

    If that's the deal then I'm all for it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  18. masterprompt

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    It's funny, as I read this article where it says "the right person to help guide the company to the mission that we set out for ourselves over a decade ago: democratize game development!" all I can think of is why I (and many I worked with at the time) boycotted EA after the SimCity release a couple years ago when all EA did was nickel and dime us right out of the game for good.

    Sorry to see you stepping down David; only few know how draining such a venture can be. It's been a pleasure using Unity as a tool!

    But, having anyone from EA (the CEO of all people) this close to the indie community is a pretty big slap in the face. It is what it is I suppose and perhaps I'm just being cynical however history has shown us that these types of reorganizations are usually precursors to a merger or acquisition. I can naively believe a such a thing wont happen... but then who's really the fool?!?
     
  19. StarManta

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    I think his running a company for the better part of a decade does precisely cause him to assume responsibility for its failed business decisions. And make no mistake: online enforcement, microtransactions, and intrusive DRM are all business decisions. No programmer looked at SimCity and thought, "You know, I think we should make this game require being online." That's a call that couldn't have come from anywhere but the top of the company.

    I also disagree that these things play a minor role in the game engine sector. That is to say, they currently play a minor role in the sector, but it's easy to imagine a scenario where that's not the case. The fear is that this guy is going to be the one to make them a big part of the sector. "Sure, Unity Free is still free, and we're adding in-app purchases to it! By the way, we're taking half your profits." That's the sort of thing we're all worried that Unity may start doing with him in charge.

    I hope these fears are proven wrong, and until/unless these fears are borne out, I will continue to use Unity. But let's just say that, starting today, I am going to be keeping a much more open mind about going to Unity's competitors.
     
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  20. Archania

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    I'm sure if David saw things like that, John wouldn't have been hired. So don't everyone grab their pitchforks and torches just yet.
     
  21. masterprompt

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    If you think David had a choice in the matter then you have no clue how big businesses operate... Most likely someone said "We're going to need you to step down David, but we want you to stay on as an employee!". It's like your wife saying "I love you and all buuuuuuuuutttt I think we should just be friends...".
     
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  22. Archania

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    Not worth my time...
     
  23. Deleted User

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    Just as an arbitrary view, if it runs anything like Dice then I look forward to it. Plenty of funds, great engineers and lots of resources to make a great engine and I'm not just saying that because I was involved in it. Also just because the actual publishing arm did some questionable things, it didn't mean all of EA and associated companies ran the same.

    Or Epic are going to get a big financial influx, I'd be intrigued if the competition had any influence on this decision.
     
  24. masterprompt

    masterprompt

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    Your extremely transparent...
     
  25. tiggus

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    It's always worrisome to see the original founders leave the top spot in the company, and it usually does signal incoming changes whether good or bad. The one thing I am sure of is they didn't hire a big name CEO to just come in and do nothing, he will have opinions and a vision that will manifest itself once he is settled.
     
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  26. Archania

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    Yes cause you know me all too well. Thank you for pointing it out.
     
  27. makeshiftwings

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    April Fool's! Wait... *checks calendar*... seriously? You hired the guy that got EA named the "Worst Company In America" twice in a row? Ugh. Well, I guess we'll have to wait and see, but I wish you guys could have hired a leader with a slightly better reputation, like maybe Sauron or Darth Vader.
     
  28. Deleted User

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    You never know, Unity might become free (Note; Additional features will incur charges such as animation system, rendering, input and scripting (sub-note: words for coding are available via micro-transactions).

    Sorry couldn't resist :)..
     
  29. Whippets

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    Since David came on to keep us in the loop, maybe John would like to come down here and do some textual meet and greet?
     
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  30. Nanity

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    I totally agree with you on the SimCity example and I think "responsible" was the wrong word. I meant, does a CEO really care if the specific game X version Y can be played offline or not? The producers are under heavy pressure to deliver profit for the shareholders, don't they have some power of decision?

    Archania is right, too early for the witch hunt. Btw we already have addons :p
     
  31. Velo222

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    This is very unsettling to say the least. I wonder if the move by Epic Games (Unreal) to go more "indie" friendly has really gotten to Unity. If it has, this was much faster than I expected.

    I guess you could say the concern is real. Or perhaps, "unreal" lol. We can only hope somehow Unity manages to survive - much less thrive. :(
     
  32. Chariots

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    Well, during the start of Riccitiello's reign, EA started up investing more into new IPs and pumped more money into quality products. After around Dead Space 1, Dragon Age Origins and Mirrors Edge, I remember a shareholder pressure to get EA to basically copy Activision (or rather, MW2 formula). Only after that, EA "became evil" as we know it, and afaik, they had to comply, because they weren't doing so hot at that stage.

    A private tech company with no outsider shareholder interests would be very well suited to Riccitiello's talents imho.
     
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  33. BrUnO-XaVIeR

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    Dude... This is weird, at the least.
     
  34. LaneFox

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    Mixed feelings...

    From what I can tell from reading relevant articles where he is cited, he seems like a pretty decent dude. Very critical of his own actions and respects the people his decisions effect. Made some changes to EA that seemed to be for the best. A lot of his past estimates about the what the industry would be like these days were accurate. Apparently he was responsible for the more coherent organization of EA. Plus he took EA through the 2008 economy.

    On the other hand, its EA. And they have a reputation much like other industry giants.

    So I'm content with current affairs. Even if I didn't like it, ranting about it on the internet doesn't do any good and I'm pretty sure I would rather have the CEO off doing CEO stuff instead of citing his resume to us here on the forum in an effort to convince the skeptics that yeah, hes the CEO and he can handle it.

    Feels weird with David not being the CEO though. Definitely.
     
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  35. Graham-Dunnett

    Graham-Dunnett

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    It's easy to blame JR for the change in fortunes of EA. I worked at EA whilst JR was CEO. It's easy to forget that EA was slow supporting Wii, and then the mobile market got under way and EA didn't respond fast enough to that. Sure we can say JR was in charge and it was his fault, but it's a lot more complicated than that.
     
  36. hippocoder

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    David hasn't left, John has already been at Unity for a year, some people are reacting way overboard.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
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  37. David-Helgason

    David-Helgason

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    Hey all. John did many good and some bad things while at EA... I think he did many more good things than bad, and EA released a lot of great games while he was there and many of the people who worked with him there are his biggest fans. You need to remember that he was brought there to turn around a company that was heading for a really bad place, or even bankruptcy (just like THQ and Atari and Midway), had generally very low Metacritic scores, and had tons of engineering challenges. He turned that around, and in the process has to make many tough choices (not all of which were right, obviously).

    More importantly though, I hope and expect him to be remembered as the second CEO of Unity sooner than later, and I intend to stay around to help make him successful ... measured in how much we can do for our customers, the developers, and for the industry in general!

    That's all I have to say on that topic, at least for now :)
     
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  38. Deleted User

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    I worked at EA at that time too (well Dice) which really doesn't make a difference and it wasn't the adoption to mobile that customers were concerned with, it was all the DLC / Online only / DRM / Origin / Customer service and micro transaction qualms. Not to mention a lot of people I worked with in other departments wasn't exactly what you could call "fond" of the place.

    If being late to the party was the main issue, they wouldn't of won worst company of the year.. Personally I loved Dice and liked what I did.

    That being said he seems like a great guy. I'm Interested to see how he plays things and hopefully he will push to greatly improve what Unity is and extend it's market worth and reach. Way too early to light torchers and get out the old pitchforks "yet" :).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2014
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  39. John-Riccitiello

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    Hey everyone. John here. Have to admit, I am a bit nervous to come onto this forum given some of what I have read so far. Lots of stuff on EA. I am not sure I can do much to help everyone understand EA during my time there... i would say there is more to it than has so far been talked about on this forum. EA was in much trouble when i arrived, and i think is far better when i left. Not sure i can say much more than that. And, going more into EA won't help much with Unity.
     
  40. John-Riccitiello

    John-Riccitiello

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    As for Unity, I have been working with the company as a member of the board for a year now, and have to say, I think the company is amazing, and that I am a huge believer in the mission of democratizing game development, and all that means.
     
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  41. hippocoder

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    Hey John, welcome!

    Don't worry - I am sure people will realise you aren't EA and that you are doing your best to make Unity the best it can be! :)
     
  42. Meltdown

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    CEO or not, you will always be our popped-collar leader David!

    Good luck in the new role and looking forward to some exciting new things for UT!

    Welcome John, exciting to see what you can bring to the table :)
     
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  43. Deleted User

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    As Hippo said, nothing to worry about or explain. Just do a good job, push for the stars and give Epic something to think about :)..

    I much anticipate how things will turn out, welcome to the mad house John. I'm sure you'll love it..
     
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  44. Archania

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    Awesome john. I'm sure you will do great work for unity.
    Can't wait to see what happens.
     
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  45. Meltdown

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    @John Riccitiello Now that you are CEO, the community would like to see you in the forums now and again. We would really appreciate that :)

    We have felt somewhat disconnected in the past, and if you could pop in every now and again and let us know what's going on or give your opinion on a few matters every now and again, that will be great.
     
  46. the_motionblur

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    Big news. Thank you for many years of being the face of Unity, David. Thanks for many popped collars on stage and on video. Welcome to the Unity family, John. :)
     
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  47. Whippets

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    Thanks for coming down here John :) I know from experience of running (smaller) companies, that what's seen on the outside is rarely the whole story on the inside. Please keep the tiller straight; the Unite roadmap all sounds great.
     
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  48. Velo222

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    I, for one, am apprehensive about the CEO transition. I do wish John the best of luck in the new position. But I hope he doesn't steer the ship towards EA infamacy so-to-speak. Again, you can't discount what has happened in the past. How much of a part of it John was himself, I do not know, and so I can't speak to that -- and won't. I do thank him for having the courage to speak on this forum. And to address "the people" directly.

    I do hope he proves me wrong. Very wrong. I want to be wrong about this. But we'll see won't we. The proof is in the pudding as they say, and I really hope John means what he just said about wanting to continue Unity's vision in democratizing game development. Lets hope it's not a democratization in payment though.........

    So, I guess you can say, I'm a big skeptic. But I will get behind Unity once again if Unity continues to be a game engine that serves devs well, and helps them rather than hinders them.
     
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  49. AlteredPlanet

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    Hope all goes well, I mean if he is the reason Unity 5 was able to be released with all these features, I'd say he has a spot here.

    (Needed Features for sure)

    Also having both John and David communicating about the future of unity is the best way to go.
     
  50. BeefSupreme

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    Hi, John.

    Thanks for taking the time to have a conversation with us. Obviously, this is a rather large change, and many are skeptical about what this means for Unity in the future. What would you say to Unity developers who are worried about this changing of the guard? Anything you'd like to say to assuage our fears?
     
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