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New Unity layoffs

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Lurking-Ninja, Nov 28, 2023.

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  1. Peter77 likes this.
  2. PanthenEye

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    The recent Weta Tools re-brand of Ziva and Speedtree is a bit awkward now.
     
  3. They still own everything, just the WetaFx support ends. All the tech they acquired stays. So I don't see why it would be.
     
  4. TheOtherMonarch

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    Sounds like a minor nothing burger. The SEC filing says.

    "On November 25, 2023, as part of the Company’s previously announced plans to focus on its core businesses, the Company amended certain of its agreements with Wētā FX Limited (“Wētā FX”), under which the Company terminated its obligations to provide certain services to Wētā FX and also amended certain intellectual property rights between the parties. The Company will recognize deferred revenue and additional consideration in connection with the amendments of approximately $114 million, and will expense the recorded cost of a related contract intangible asset of approximately $131 million, which will occur in the fourth quarter of 2023."
     
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  5. PanthenEye

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    And who will develop and maintain all that technology (we haven't really seen yet)? They acquired the tools development studio of 275 engineers for $1.625 billion dollars and are now laying off 265 of those engineers with a statement they will do less things now.

    I doubt we'll see much more if anything from Weta past that one Maya hair grooming plugin, if it's still a thing. It's been two years already and laying off the majority of the actual studio is unlikely to deliver Weta anything.

    EDIT: Although, perhaps it's not all of those engineers they're laying off. It's hard to tell. The numbers are awfully similar though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2023
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  6. Andy-Touch

    Andy-Touch

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    By my maths, this is their 5th round of layoffs in 1.5 years.

    Utterly awful for all those folks absorbed as part of the acquisition and then laid off right before Christmas. :( Fingers crossed they land new jobs soon!
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2023
  7. IllTemperedTunas

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    This acquisition never made sense. Weta never specialized in runtime assets, and this was the exact result that was expected.

    Weta was the one thing in Unity I was holding out hope was having a positive, unseen impact inside their walls, oh well.

    Why was this acquisition made in the first place? What was the thought process?

    The recklessness of such a costly acquisition with no tangible goal of returning cutting edge runtime features is so bizarre, and many of the current ventures mirror this in AI and cloud services.

    They're starting with the monetization and wondering "how can we make this useful?" rather than creating incredible tools and then asking, "How do we monetize this?".

    Not blaming the employees for being put in a position where their expertise had no chance of creating anything of value in the Unity environment.
     
  8. halley

    halley

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    Unity wanted to get into realtime movie production nonsense, just like Unreal. If Unreal jumped off a bridge, Unity would follow.
     
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  9. IllTemperedTunas

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    And if you have a RUDIMENTARY knowledge of runtime graphics you would know you don't try to shift baked pipelines from external software packages to realtime and would seek to jazz up runtime graphics that work with your Engine.

    A few fancy volumetric VFX at runtime (they already have runtime clouds), some nice fancy lighting solutions and post processes that work out of the box, and Unity could have so much excitement for their future.

    WTF were they thinking!? This is one of the most boneheaded moves one could imagine. These tools should have been built from the ground up in Unity, trying to combine these assets is like poison to your employees as they burn out chasing waterfalls. Simply put, look what Unreal is doing with their animation tools, great example of how to get RESULTS that are EXCITING.

    Beyond these layoffs I can't help but think this means that all their current animation tools that were in production for years are now defunct. Are they simply null and void now? What's the future of this engine?

    Everything's kinda gone dark as of late, not sure what's going on any more with this forsaken engine, but the more that's revealed the more our suspicions are being proven true.

    So sad to see all the wasted potential. Years wasted, so much ambition and passion squandered for crazed monetary schemes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2023
  10. Andy-Touch

    Andy-Touch

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    Purely optics to make the stock price go up. Technically, it worked for a little while but the whole price crashed after; and in hindsight they should have invested that $1.6 billion in the existing tooling/products/teams that need the resources.
     
  11. zombiegorilla

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    I can sort of get why Unity acquired them. Unity was growing at the time, and Weta had prestige and talent. When companies are growing, buying smaller companies is more effective than hiring.
    But, what always made me wonder was why Jackson would sell Weta to them in first place? If they were sold to Sony or Disney/LF or WB or whatever that would make perfect sense. It seems like a Hail Mary, like maybe their future (ability to be profitable) was in jeopardy or something. Or... maybe it was being overy positively speculative about the real-time vfx in tv/movie production. (It was right after Mando and other tv shows using AR type tech.)
    Yea, beginning to end, it seemed odd.
     
  12. zombiegorilla

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    I think they were definitely pioneers at one time, but now most pro grade packages can do that stuff, and also back at that time skilled folks were very rare, now (in part at least due to the stuff they did), there are tons, and tons of good vfx artists.
     
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  13. IllTemperedTunas

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    It kind of makes sense if you look at it from the CEO perspective, if you forget everything about the technical limitations of Unity and AI tech, and animation tech. It really just looks like the absolute worst leadership one can imagine chasing market trends.

    If there's any silver lining here, it's that things are at least shaking up and they're saying they want to get back to basics.

    But how much damage is already done? How many people who are intimate with the Unity code base and used to making improvements to the core of the engine are gone? How many years will it take to foster a new workforce that's comfortable improving these tools and is that even possible without burning them out?

    If you look at any amazing piece of tech, it doesn't exist because some CEO thought it was going to make a lot of money alone, it exists because their workforce was fostered over years and they developed cuttin. You have to respect the developers.

    What Unity was guilty of most of all was just taking for granted that they could throw money at things and get amazing tech. That's not how this works, you gotta find the right people and put them in the right places where they can excel. A reckless thirst for money alone will only destroy everything of value at the company.

    Once tech is realized, absolutely they should monetize it and market it, but again, Unity just seems to be putting the cart before the horse.

    People's livelihoods depend on this engine. This isn't like some car company going under, we can't just pick a different brand. These poor decisions are negatively impacting tens of thousands of developers and by extension Billions of gamers the world over. It's frustrating to no end that we're footing the bill for the terrible gambles that were made with this engine and it's workforce.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2023
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  14. PanthenEye

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    The Weta thing happened like a year and a half after Unreal made a big splash in the news cycle with the production of The Mandalorian TV show.
     
  15. Yeah, that's the bull-crap part. Whenever a company wants to reason why they are laying off a bunch of people, they will pull this S*** out of their ass. And people buy it every single time.
     
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  16. IllTemperedTunas

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    Yeah, I didn't say they WERE getting back to basics, and in my post above I question if unrecoverable damage is done. We'll see what the future holds. I like Unity in its current form, it's still a great engine to make games in.

    The question is, is Unity a living engine that will grow into the future? Does anyone at Unity genuinely give a darn about the tools any more or is it all just posturing to milk the existing cash cow as long as possible?

    I would be so happy to see Unity bring back developers who left or were let go, but is that even possible? Are those bridges burned? Where do they find a passionate hard working group to rebuild this vision of an open game engine?
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2023
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  17. GimmyDev

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    Then unreal pull the string of his backpack to deploy a paraglider, to take updraft wind it had mapped prior to jumping.
    Unity would continue freefalling because it doesn't have a plan and didn't even brought up a parachute.
     
  18. It's nice to take a dig at Unity and all, but apparently people needs a reminder that Epic is also laying off people left and right and isn't doing so well with their decisions... so... it's silly putting them up as examples...
     
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  19. IllTemperedTunas

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    Bear in mind Unreal is competing with an arm tied behind their backs as many products like apple devices hard gate them off of the storefront. In the current market it's not so simple as "making bad decisions", there are so many factors clouding what companies are profitable and not in this day and age where quality of product is no longer a driving factor in earnings. If that changes, then Unreal will be in a FANTASTIC position to dominate the entire market. For now companies like Apple can bully them, but if the product continues to improve and the competition continues to stagnate, they'll be the only game in town in INCREDIBLY lucrative industries.

    I used Unreal as an example because their tools are incredible and they're working as I type this at runtime in a game engine, which was the hope of the Weta tools.

     
  20. Ruberta

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    Unity try to reduce cost. I can understand that. They would back to ficus on game engine once again.
     
  21. spiney199

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    That was their own fault though. They tried to cheat and got done for it. Should be no sympathy for them.
     
  22. IllTemperedTunas

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    All these companies are frigging terrible, but I have some respect for Epic for creating actual impressive tech that will allow for the creation of cool stuff. Everyone else, Unity included here for the past several years, are finding new ways of closing the market and stifling competition, which Unreal would of course love to do themselves. It's very much a pick your poison situation with game engines right now.
     
  23. spiney199

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    Unreal currently are and have done what you say when they bought out exclusivity for tons of games for their useless store front on their back of their Fortnite money. Exclusives are nothing new in games, but it was very much a case of "We'll give you unreasonable amounts of money to take your game off Steam and GOG, etc, to only be on our storefront". The Factorio devs were one such dev they tried to buy out but were denied.

    That's pretty much doing the same thing you're crying foul over Unity about, just with games as opposed to technologies.
     
  24. IllTemperedTunas

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    Right, at no point have I argued Unreal are perfect darlings. The only thing I said is they aren't as profitable as they could be due to other companies leveraging their monopoly against them. I'm not here morally justifying anything they've done other than to say "at least they produce good tech still".
     
  25. spiney199

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    And my point was this isn't true. No one is leveraging their monopolies against them, they just tried to cheat and got a deserved kick in the nuts.

    To say "they aren't as profitable as they could be" is absurd considering how much money Fortnite rakes in. They were making tons of money and tried to make yet more money on top of that. This isn't going to ethics behind how they make said money. *Cough cough* class action lawsuit *cough cough*

    Unity buying up companies to add to their portfolio's is just... normal business stuff in all honesty.
     
  26. IllTemperedTunas

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    I'm not going to derail this thread, but a cursory glance at the monetization schemes behind Unity's AI tools and the subscription models they were planning through their cloud services reveal some questionable monetary ideas coupled with their recent terms of service debacles. To say nothing of Apple's practices and production methods of their products. I'm not even sure what we're arguing about. Unreal isn't allowed on the Apple store and the monopolistic practices of modern markets is having massive impacts on bottom lines is all I said. I'm not entirely sure why Unreal is in the crosshairs here as other companies have abused far greater power over a far longer period of time.
     
  27. spiney199

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    Again, my point was that the reason they're gimped is because they tried to cheat. Sure they're at a disadvantage now, but they did it to themselves. There should be no sympathy for the position they're in.

    Yes the other players are all monopolies in one way or another. But in this instances Unreal brought the ire upon themselves. Same way Unity brought the heavens down on themselves with the runtime fee policy.
     
  28. IllTemperedTunas

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    This is debatable, from my understanding Apple is just as much in the wrong, if not moreso while enjoying huge profits dominating and gatekeeping the market.

    Anyway, wasn't looking to turn this thread into a flame war where we pick our favorite evil corporate entity and shill for all their monopolistic maneuvers. Unreal has far and away the best realtime rigging and animations today bar none, and I hope it generates them profit as in a healthy marketplace engines that produce quality tools should do well. I do not want unreal to make money because of more questionable monopoly and user exploitation.
     
  29. Murgilod

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    There's a difference between what's happened with Unreal and Unity being on its fifth round of layoffs in two years.
     
  30. jiraphatK

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    I just hope this didn't affect the Weta realtime team who are working on the gpu driven rendering in Unity.
     
  31. sqallpl

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  32. sacb0y

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    But also people generally seem to agree unity is much bigger than it needs to be :p
     
  33. Peter77

    Peter77

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    The entire games industry is currently in turmoil, and 2023 is proving to be a particularly difficult year. It seems to be a downfall following the peak in 2020 or 2021. A significant portion of this crisis is attributed to the unsuccessful Embracer deal that occurred earlier this year in my opinion.
     
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  34. sacb0y

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    This tweet was deleted, but for context it was one of the formerly Weta people saying they weren't fired.

    It's likely a reorganization, people seem to forget layoffs also correlate to hiring. I doubt it's the whole weta team but at least the people who worked on the stuff at unite still work there.

    That said, they probably didn't want to appear to speak for the company, and unity will likely make an announcement soon (once again not preparing news in advance).
     
  35. Murgilod

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    It is, but remember how a massive round of earlier layoffs involved firing the entire Gigaya team? You know, a bunch of engineers and developers, something that the engine probably needs more than the people who tend to stick around?
     
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  36. sacb0y

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    Yes but this time the weta people don't seem to be gone, at least not from what I can find.
     
  37. I think you're looking for them at the wrong place. The WetaFx deal got cut, with that, all those people, who worked on it. I'm guessing, New Zealand office or something. They may get hired by WetaFX again or form a new Fx studio to support WetaFx. who knows. Those are possibilities. They got booted after a big business transaction, that's for sure.
     
  38. sacb0y

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    Some of the tech shown in Unite is by Weta people, and from what i can tell those people still work there is what i mean.

    Also you're mixing up names isn't Weta Digital the unity side and Weta FX the movie stuff. I've also heard it called Weta Realtime.
     
  39. No, I do not. Unity's Weta had a deal with WetaFx (Peter Jackson's company, remained in his hands) to support them. This deal has been cut by Unity and the personnel involved will be laid off, according to the news. This is the news above and I was talking about this. I did not mix up names.

    Unity's Weta: what you're talking about is Weta Tools and it's just a brand encompassing the Weta software and know-how they bought and put in Speedtree and the Ziva stuff too). Weta Tools will stay (at least not affected this time as far as we know).
     
  40. the_unity_saga

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    I often think about it.

    What if Unreal Engine provided some form of C# cross-transplier for developers who are accustomed with the Unity scripting C# language?

    What if they had "C# Blueprints"?

    This is all fascinating. to me
     
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  41. PanthenEye

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    Unity already has C# blueprints - Visual Scripting package, albeit it hasn't been updated in any meaningful way since 2018.
     
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  42. They chose to make the idiotic and absolutely overengineered "verse" scripting language instead. Practically there is zero chance to have official C# connectors to Unreal.
     
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  43. tatoforever

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    The thing is Unreal has a parachute, Unity has none...
     
  44. Ryiah

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    Yet according to this twitter post someone linked on reddit they may have been involved in recent improvements to the engine like the new upscaler.

    https://twitter.com/mirror2mask/status/1729003110105055314

    upload_2023-11-30_1-7-34.png
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2023
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  45. Murgilod

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    What a shocker.
     
  46. impheris

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    i'm a bit confused, is this part of the films/tv shows (or whatever) industry thing unity wanted? will this affect game dev?
     
  47. PanthenEye

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    Some of Weta graphics engineers helped, but they are not the key drivers of this tech afaik. This started some 3 years ago before Weta was a thing. I'm in a conspiratorial kind of mood so I'm thinking just like Weta Tools rebrand that contains next to no actual Weta tools, this is an attempt to make it look like $1.625B weren't completely wasted.

     
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  48. sacb0y

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    No they are definitely key drivers of the upscaler, it's specifically attributed to the "Weta Realtime team" EDIT: And not just by the person they referenced but the tech lead too.
     
  49. PanthenEye

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    They definitely worked on it, but this is work any talented graphics engineering team could do for 1.6 billion less. This is not groundbreaking tech and the days of Weta being pioneers are long gone.
     
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  50. Antypodish

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    Yes.
    Basically Unity Engine heads slowly into abys, as it becomes less significant for Unity Tech.
     
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