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Leading Unity into the future

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

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  1. loadexfa

    loadexfa

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    Yeah, no matter what you say, many naysayers will never be satisfied.

    This is very interesting. I am looking forward to what we will see in the future.

    For the naysayers: Unity has proven time and again our best interests are being taken care of. Free indie version, free mobile versions. Regularly adding pro features to the free version. The asset store. Of course Unity has flaws and will continue to. EVERY business does.

    Considering Unity's track record of delivering on what they say they will (yes, sometimes takes very a long time like the new GUI), I am looking forward to the change and have high hopes for assistance with discoverability.

    Welcome John! Your willingness to speak directly to the community shows you are off to a great start in my mind.
     
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  2. maleone0487

    maleone0487

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    Well to examine the the results of the companies he's worked for, his resume seems like a great addition to Unity. Mr. Riccitiello seems like the guy you call when you want to make some acquisitions, or maybe get acquired (please, god, no). The companies he's worked for in the past have undergone a massive expansion under his leadership and for that reason I'm optimistic. Looking at what EA, whatever you may think of their policies as they relate to consumer products, in a capital goods business they would be fantastic. Imagine if Unity could provide and maintain Origin-like post-release services like matchmaking, Master server space rental, explicit support of publishing platforms, etc instead of having to integrate all these things yourself from plugins that may or may not be supported by some third party 3-5 years down the line. He effectively Unified EA's product structure which is something Unity will need. Particularly with an engine like Unity, where most games tend to integrate all kinds of one off systems/plugins, management and support becomes even more of a challenge and he seems up to it.

    Also, wading willingly into this thread speaks volumes about him.
     
  3. Anthony-Tobin

    Anthony-Tobin

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    ...the only constant is change... John seems like good change.
     
  4. VIC20

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    The capital letters are at the right place in this statement. Sounds like you are the right person and flexible enough for this different kind of mission. I hope Unity continues to deliver a well balanced mix of solutions to be attractive for beginners AND pro users. My biggest fear is a much stronger orientation towards beginners because there will be always a huge pool of new young users who grew up each year.
     
  5. Deleted User

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    @Asvarduil @John Riccitiello

    Helping find success = success for everyone, theoretically I could hire 10X the amount of staff and if our game does not sell well were out of business, so I play it safe and hire less staff that I can keep rolling over many years. If a game should fail, then it's of little consequence and we can keep making them until they make an impact.

    Problem with this is we become heavily reliant on our tools and believe it or not, we are far from the only people who were using Unity in this manor. But most of them are shifting to other pastures, were not AAA were AA and that's an unfortunate position to be in. So what comes "out the box" and toolsets mean a lot to us, probably more than most.. Not that we aren't capable, but we need to be working on everything but improving the engine.
    .
     
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  6. Wild-Factor

    Wild-Factor

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    The big question is why ? Unity is in good shape. David did a great job. So why the need to change ?
    I wish they can explain why the board wanted to change the CEO ? For what purpose ?

    I really like you David. John I don't know you yet, but welcome!
     
  7. Tiles

    Tiles

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    Well, UE4 did have an impact ...
     
  8. Alewx11

    Alewx11

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    I think at that point you are wrong, the people in the community are so furious about you as new CEO because of your time at EA. so in the long run you would have to talk about things that happened there, sure no real intern information, but the background why some things happened as they did. Sitting and waiting until no one is saying something anymore, would create a wrong image, in my opinion. EDIT: I saw you already did.

    So than we shall measure your impact on unity, based on how much the unity made games are finding they way into the hardcopy business, and the influence of the community needs that find their way into the engine?

    One more personal question, did it take ten years at EA or two awards to notice that "smaller" companies are more interesting for you? Oh and also my respect for having the courage to talk in person with some of the community and not leaving that to PR guys.

    But for the most hardcore gamers, you will be no matter what you do, the man how killed their most loved gaming franchise, that is what you and Unity will have to live with.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014
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  9. HeadClot88

    HeadClot88

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    Hey Mr. Riccitiello -

    Welcome to Unity Technologies

    Would you and the Unity3D Team be willing to experiment with the Unity Licensing model? There are allot of features locked behind a pay wall with Unity Free and not everyone can afford to spend 1500 dollars per seat - Myself included.
     
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  10. Graham-Dunnett

    Graham-Dunnett

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    John's going to be asking lots of questions to all the various Unity teams. Having a new CEO means we can get challenged on lots of decisions we've made in the past. I'm sure pricing will come up. Doesn't mean anything is going to change, but it'll certainly be talked about. (And it's been talked about constantly internally, anyway, for the last 9 months.)
     
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  11. Moonjump

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    It has been talked about a lot externally as well! Change is scary, but good things can come out of it. Maybe we will see something that covers the gulf between Free and Pro.

    This change is becoming less scary as the response has been great in this thread, particularly with the approach shown above.

    And this bit about help finding audiences makes me really hopefully that John will bring positive changes to Unity. His background as a publisher could be really useful.
     
  12. chiapet1021

    chiapet1021

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    Apologies if this has been linked already somewhere, but I found this gamesindustry.biz article very enlightening with respect to the background and interaction John has had with David and Unity prior to this CEO appointment. It fills in a lot of gaps, and reiterates some of the "helping developers find their audience" bits that John mentioned on this thread yesterday. His involvement in the recent Unity acquisitions is also quite telling.

    Reading that article turned the dial a bit more towards "cautiously optimistic" for me. :) Fingers crossed!
     
  13. yoyo

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    Like others, I am very encouraged that John is participating in this discussion. I'm also glad to see that the community here rewarded his participation by backing off on the EA-hate.

    I worked at EA for many years in a variety of central tech and game development roles -- it is a huge organization with many passionate and talented people, the vast majority of whom (executives included) have the best of intentions. As at any large organization, bureaucracy has a way of growing its tendrils everywhere, creating a systemic inertia that slows down decision-making. John was excellent at cutting through those tendrils to unblock decisions and keep moving ahead.

    As an executive at a small but growing company, I now appreciate how hard it is to make the key decisions that affect the future of a company, its employees, and customers. I can't even imagine the challenge of doing this at EA or Unity scale. It is critical not to get stuck in the bureaucracy and to keep making decisions, not just riding organizational momentum. Some decisions will be good, some bad, and some unpopular -- but if you keep going forward with good intentions, self-awareness, and a willingness to accept feedback, over time there will be more good decisions than bad ones and you will be successful.

    Unity has reached a critical mass as a company. Every platform they support (not just iOS and PC, but Windows Phone, Wii U, Blackberry 10, ...) and every product and service they integrate (Mecanim, Beast, Everyplay, Mono, ...) represents the culmination of a lengthy business negotiation with other companies large and small across the industry. You can bet that any time Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo or any of the other big players enter a negotiation they are bringing hard-nosed executives and lawyers in suits to the party. I am personally very happy that Unity now has a strong "suit" on their side of the table. Which is not at all to say David hasn't done a great job up until now, but perhaps those boardroom negotiations aren't what he signed up for when he set out to "democratize game development" years ago. I can't speak for him, but I expect he is very happy to return his focus and energy to the technology and the community of Unity.

    Obviously the developer community is of the utmost importance to Unity. By taking part in this thread, John has demonstrated that his mouth is in the right place. I for one am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that his heart is too.

    David - Congratulations.
    John - Welcome.
    :)
     
  14. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    The guy who used to work in a machine factory isn't going to do the same job working in a bakery.

    What I mean by this there are different requirements to every job you take, and if you're a good worker, you adapt to those requirements.
     
  15. NLSC-E-MS

    NLSC-E-MS

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    Adapting to requirements doesn't really inspire confidence from your customers when you take an executive job does it? My point is that there are real, factual grounds to people's fears, the fear of losing the tool that is possibly their's livelihood.

    Negating or downplaying those customer's doubts isn't going to make them go away and is actually counter productive. However, John through his well-thought replies here, managed to ease a lot of the doubt people were feeling and we can only applaud this.

    Good luck John.
     
  16. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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  17. NLSC-E-MS

    NLSC-E-MS

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  18. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Adding information. No proof necessary.
     
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  19. ruuno

    ruuno

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    I am cautiously optimistic about this. Best of luck to the entire Unity team on the change.
     
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  20. Ippokratis

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    chiapet1021 likes this.
  21. cannon

    cannon

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    I'm a little apprehensive seeing David step down, but I've been using Unity since the 2.1 days and every year the size and reach of the company just keeps growing at a startling rate, and I can see where he'd want to bring in someone with more experience to run this juggernaut.

    Welcome aboard John!
     
  22. goat

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    So sad I'm not a member of this community that's furious at John Riccitiello. I feel I'm missing out.

    OK, maybe not.
     
  23. John-Riccitiello

    John-Riccitiello

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    Hey all -- 2 days in... been reading all your comments here and in a number of other places. I appreciate all the dialogue. Fun really.

    I am traveling next week to visit the engineering teams (and others) in Copenhagen and Vilnius. Lots to soak in.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014
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  24. yoyo

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    Not too shabby ... ;-)
     
  25. Gekigengar

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    I am terrified with the possible future.

    Knowing the changes that has been made to EA over the past few years.

    And to now, we haven't heard a relieving and clear "I WILL NOT DO X" from Unity members or John himself.

    This itself, is really terrifying. This just means the worst possible future is still under consideration
    by the team themselves.

    Perhaps, Unity's fate has been sealed.

    Unless, you state it clearly to us, our fears will never be lifted.

    But why do you care? As long as the corporation is profitable, it will continue to expand and grow yes?

    Lets not promise unnecessary constraints that will be a possible outcome of the near future,
    Lets forget about the little to small Indie developers, the main Fan-base of Unity, and fish for the bigger fishes
    that generates more profits. Right?

    As long as you can buy an island for your pension, why the main fan-base which does not generate profit matters?

    I think its clear why we are stating these facts, because we care of Unity.
    And to remind all of you the future we feared most.

    I predict in the near future, there will be more excluded patch, such as "Unity Pro Package 2" that requires "Unity Pro" purchase, to get Unity 6 features or so.

    Or perhaps they will start taking 50% of our income after the first 3 months of publishing.

    HAHAHA, it just might be possible.

    I do hope this is just a feared nightmare which stays just a dream, and never reality.

    I wish you Good luck to both Unity fans and Unity team themselves.

    Let me remind you guys, John never stated a clear sentence or word that "These" will never happen.

    He just talk about "Possibilities", "Future", and "Expansion", but at what cost?
     
  26. superpig

    superpig

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    I think that's because most of the sky-is-falling fears people are yelling about are so ridiculous that it's a complete waste of time for John or anyone else to go through them, one by one, saying 'we're not going to do this.' And most of them wouldn't believe him anyway.

    I mean, something like taking 50% of income after 3 months? Do you think anyone would remain a Unity customer? Do you honestly think that the entire Unity staff are so demented that they wouldn't work out that this would happen?

    Even if you don't trust John himself - and he's already said that EA and Unity are very different companies, in different situations, with different goals and philosophies, so I think you have no reason to expect him to take the same actions - then as David already put it:
     
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  27. Andy-Touch

    Andy-Touch

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    I think that some of you are worrying a bit too much. Remember; John has been working with Unity for the past year already and in that time we have:
    - Oculus Rift in Unity Free.
    - PS3/PS4 Development for free (If you are a registered developer).
    - Xbox One Development for free (If you are a registered developer).
    - Announced WebGL in Unity Free.
    - Said that Unity 5 will have a free version.

    I do understand that having a new CEO can be quite scary for some of our users and it may take a while for John to build up faith with you, but he has already begun (Day 1 of the job) to interact on the forums (in a thread full of negative comments about EA), and is flying out to our Copenhagen and Vilnius Offices to sit down with the engineering teams and to listen and soak up the developer culture that our company has. I think that the worries that the community have is testament to how passionate developers are for the Unity ecosystem, and this is something that John has observed first hand in this thread. :)

    And, of course:
     
  28. John-Riccitiello

    John-Riccitiello

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    Wow. That is quite a roster of concerns. And, while you may not like it, I can't really tell you what i am going to do in a year or a month. Why? Mostly because i won't be making any decisions alone. And, i certainly won't be making decisions on behalf of Unity without consulting and working closely with the teams that know the company best... in the engineering teams. I can say, without doubt that most of the ideas you raise in your post are to me, crazy. I believe you know that. But saying exactly what i will do or not, before listening and learning hits me as crazy too.

    I am guided by a few key ideas i have already shared on this forum. Believe in the democratization mission. Belief that big is not a goal in of itself. Belief in listening before acting. And, not making pronouncements that are not appropriate or useful.

    I understand your fear, even if i don't agree with it. I hope this helps.
     
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  29. GarbageCat

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    Maybe.. saying what you feel about some features in the workings,
    will ease people's mind about your intentions

    like what you think about il2cpp, Enlighten, WebGL, (any unity new/old feature really) etc..

    is Unity stepping in the right direction in your opinion?,
    what do you think should be invested more into Unity's technological side?
     
  30. John-Riccitiello

    John-Riccitiello

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    Great suggestion. I can say more about these things in a few weeks or maybe a month or so. I think Unity is heading in the right direction and i am particularly excited by 5.0. But, i want time with the teams to really understand things before saying much on specific tech questions / directions.

    Pretty soon...
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014
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  31. Andy-Touch

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    You've used the trademark Unity Employee Saying already; you'll fit right in! :D
     
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  32. Deleted User

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    I've got to admit the Unity definition of soon is pretty spurious :D..
     
  33. Gekigengar

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    No matter what(Even if hes good or bad), David has to reassure people.

    For investors and the community.

    Its his job.

    Not saying John is bad, just saying that media will not help much in a fan's faith.
    It helps.

    I am at ease now.

    And yes, it is a negative exaggeration to emphasize what I really fear.

    Thank you, and you have my support.
    I now understand your reasons for not stating facts yet to us.
    You have won me over in a single post.
     
  34. Saxi

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  35. xenogenik

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    I don't come here much anymore since I am working with another engine, but I wanted to stop past and wish John all the best. It is options and competition in markets that spur growth and innovation. I look forward to hearing where John takes things.

    On top of that, all the people who are bashing on John, it all reads as a personal attack to me which is not deserved. In most cases there is nothing that qualifies you to pass judgement. He is a highly skilled and experienced CEO and businessman, it's his job (or more importantly his TEAMS job) first and foremost to ensure a company is running appropriately and is profitable. That might be achieved by giving the customers their every demand or it might not be, the most important thing is that the company has a healthy financial turnover and can keep operating. This is also in the best interest of the users, it will only strengthen development.

    For those naysayers, ask yourself how many larger companies have you operated, let alone been able to deliver significant improvements? John has, and you might not agree with decisions he was involved in, and you might even be angry over some of them, they might be wrong or right and even make or break a company, but they are his and his teams decisions, and they should at least be respected. Just like your decision to use or not use Unity is your decision and most people respect that. It's a challenging industry that is moving too fast and everyone is trying their own thing to stand out above the crowd.

    Finally, a CEO has a board his has to answer to. If he does a crappy job he will certainly be shown the door. So try not to worry about things, keep making your awesome games with unity and the rest will work itself out.

    Anyway, they are my own thoughts. Good luck john.

    PS... also, all the best to David H and a big thanks for what he's done for the industry.
     
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  36. ZJP

    ZJP

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    Totally agree. This is a thing i always forget to write. Many thanks to the Co-founders and the UT team. ;)
     
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  37. tatoforever

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    Anyone criticizing John is just a childish idiot that got nothing better to do than to waste their time doing nothing good. Get back in a year or two and see where Unity is, not now. Oh yeah, take my excuses in advance if you feel offended.
     
  38. Deleted User

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    Not really the place to be name calling. But of course, lets see what happens..
     
  39. orb

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    Everything negative people can think of about JR really relates to EA, so I don't think that's of any relevance at all. Even thoguh I hate what EA did to games for a long period (and probably still do - upsell DLC with in-game characters even after paying for a full game). As long as Unity keeps the asset store in its own window and there are no locked buttons in the editor that open the store to buy features, we're talking avocados to carambolas.

    During the year he's been working at UT good things have happened, so he can't have had a negative influence, right? But as a CEO he won't really start causing any changes the first week either. Let's check back at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. Until then, I'll remain cautiously snarky ;)
     
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  40. Alewx11

    Alewx11

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    What about the idea of a "regular" blog from you, sharing your opinion and thoughts about what is going on, plannend, about god and the world. This could provide a level of transparency and help to build trust over time, but also that would be a lot of work and time.
     
  41. NLSC-E-MS

    NLSC-E-MS

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    John, I have a question about the non-democratization aspect of Unity and I hope you can give your insight on this particular subject.

    A bit of a backgrounder first. Unity, with it's approachable and low-cost development paradigm (thanks to the efforts to democratize game-dev), has also become a player in the enterprise, serious, non-gaming sector. My particular field is military eLearning; Training & Simulation.

    The sector is sill very much in development. Government, especially the military, are very suspicious of new comers and it's hard for companies like Unity to get a foot in the door with the other big players pushing against it. Fortunately, Unity did recognize this and made an effort to seduce us with MS&T licence, GIS import, custom offline web player.

    However, we've noticed a shift lately. A sort of abandonment of this sector by Unity. MS&T package hasn't been updated for a while, offline web player builds are no longer made in-house and requires a 3rd party licensee, your MS&T team became obscure with many POC changes last year, and there is very little communication overall about intends or advancements. Even when Unity was active in promoting MS&T, it always felt like an after-thought. I remember going to Unite 2010 and 2013 and talking with Unity staff about our particular issues... the responses tended to be dry; "Add it to the suggestions" or "I don't understand why you needs this, it's a very special case".

    The truth is, Unity's philosophy clashes with the sector. As an example, all your products & services have quite liberal licences where Unity can gather a lot of information from it's customers and communicates with your servers; something that is unacceptable in my world. Your products just weren't made to be used anonymously, offline, in secret. No need to tell you that it's a legal battle every time we want to buy something or use something from you.

    With CryEngine being selected for a 300M$ US Navy Contract, BIS doing VBS tech demos for eLearning for the UK Type 45 and Epic streamlining their tool chain & licences to seduce the sector (from what I've been hearing internally, it's working), Unity appears to be losing the war, one battle at a time. It's not all doom and gloom; there are great things being done with your product by many, albeit smaller, players. With the continuing trend of budget cuts, I can only see the sector growing as investments towards it are seen are money-saving. Unfortunately, I feel that your competitors are being more active in seizing the opportunity, investing to seduce the decision makers whose wallets are easily wowed by unimportant, costly, ineffective training demos... compared to Unity.

    This is worrying for me because if Unity abandons the special needs of the enterprise sector then I can imagine unilateral decisions being made that will effectively cut the ties between you and us. WebGL is a good case of this; if in the next 3 years it gets a lot of traction and a vast majority of browsers support it, then Unity can easily decide to stop developing the NPAPI plugin. We are simply not a demographic consideration in your statistics (for security reasons) and our infrastructure is always behind, very much behind. In other words, such a move will cripple our case to use Unity. Another example is the MS&T releases; when I was investigating the license, I noticed it has very little to offer other than the GIS import for 3x the price of a regular license. Over 2 years, it appears it didn't really improve much either, its future looking to be delegated as a non-supported version. The fact that it's development was branched from the main version also made it impossible to keep current with the fixes you were rolling out in public. Again, that "second-class" client feeling creeping in, like MS&T is a failed experiment.

    I hope you understand my concerns and I wonder if you have any thoughts you could share on this subject.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2014
  42. Ashkan_gc

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    One thing which many people don't pay attention to other than the interesting fact that EA was the first big company who trusted unity and at least JR showed the green light (Unity was the best platform for web games so choice was made in the tech team of the studio probably)

    Dear Community I don't know if what you say will happen or not but now as you say unity should compete with the UE4 and Cry Engine so what are the odds of a business model like EA's work here? How you can relate the business models of consumer products to developer products?

    Also if Unity wants to make it easer for developers to also sell their games and not only make them, Who is a better candidate that XCEO of a huge publisher, John knows the business and is one of the few whom always cared for indies and can help small companies who have the capability, to fly!

    Think and then comment, I've read the whole Steve Jobs book if you haven't , The story of the old days in Apple is so much different in a relatively new business with a guy as different as Steve Jobs. On Microsoft's CEO change I can not comment other than I agree that the change wasn't good and I can not comment because I did not study anything seriously on the matter and on the people involved. But even MS of that era which is passed era done good stuff which people overlook. The new policies are better but still many good stuff happened from platform innovations to language innovations and ...
     
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  43. VicToMeyeZR

    VicToMeyeZR

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    I more than said my peace prior. My only comment would be, you're not talking like someone that has been with Unity for a year already. You're comments about not knowing the teams, and what's going on, would be someone that ~hasn't been involved. Just throwing that out there.
    Good luck John, you're going to need it. o_O
     
  44. elbows

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    You can sit on the board in a very specific and limited role, for a year in a way that doesn't have to involve being intimate with the work of various teams. The CEO role is quite different, so I don't see a contradiction really.
     
  45. VicToMeyeZR

    VicToMeyeZR

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    I see a BIG contradiction and level of involvement. If your on a board make decisions, based solely on not knowing ANYTHING about the company you are making decisions about, then you have no business being CEO.
     
  46. Amon

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    1,159
    Dear John Riccitiello,

    I know that answering questions regarding your time at EA would not work so instead I will reassure you that if you follow David Helgasons vision but more importantly how that vision worked; thinking patterns and their associated imagery and sounds, you will enable yourself to achieve a popularity unlike that which you had at EA and you would further the progression of Unity as the best and, most importantly for Unity, keeping it the best solution for games development that exists.

    Train that brain Helgason style.........
     
  47. dmalyavin

    dmalyavin

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2014
    Posts:
    2
    Silly question: I see a lot of mention of Unity's mission statement, but I cant seem to find it anywhere on the company website. Can anyone point me to the right place?
     
  48. SaraCecilia

    SaraCecilia

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2014
    Posts:
    675
    Why are you making the assumption that JR knows nothing about the company?
     
  49. GiusCo

    GiusCo

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Posts:
    405
    For one, I welcome the new CEO and wish him good luck. I'm not sure freeriders can get more than already have and will have with Unity 5 free, the Asset Store is very helpful for mimicking some Pro features. I'm more interested in seeing how sub AAA devs can possibly up their game without committing to hard work, sweat, talent and a budget to invest. More public intermediate-to-expert tutorials, maybe? I would say that the UT plan will let hobbyists play with the toys and improve knowledge while focusing on the upper market, and rightly so. Democratisation should be about learning to become a Pro instead of being given magic buttons and eye candies. Market is tough out there, you all know, it's competition not charities.
     
    shkar-noori likes this.
  50. VicToMeyeZR

    VicToMeyeZR

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Posts:
    427
    Not making assumptions. Asking a question based on his own words. Have you read this thread?
    But that was a general statement not directed at anyone in particular...

    I was only making and observation, and a general statement based on that observation. That's not an assumption in any way shape or form.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2014
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