Unity to lay off 25% of its staff amid “reset” following fees debacle cover image

Unity to lay off 25% of its staff amid “reset” following fees debacle

Unity now faces a dramatic series of layoffs following controversy over its fees in 2023.

Game engine creator and software company Unity Software will lay off around 25 percent of its workers, as per a report by Reuters. The report broke late on Jan. 8, revealing the scope of Unity’s layoffs.

Reuters’ Amy Tong reported that around 1,800 jobs would be lost, as per a regulatory filing and internal memo from Unity, sent on Monday, Jan. 8. The layoff is apparently the company’s largest ever and comes amid a “company reset” following a 2023 filled with controversy.

Unity faces layoffs following controversy

(Image via Unity)
(Image via Unity)

Unity is one of the gaming industries largest game engine providers, with hundreds of popular titles running on their platform. Hearthstone, Fall Guys, Cities: Skylines, Pokémon GO, and many other titles run on Unity, making the engine a core part of the modern gaming space.

In September 2023, Unity announced a hugely controversial change to its fee structure, suggesting it would start charging developers per install of their software. This radical change in their pricing structure would have reportedly cost developers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. 

In the wake of this announcement, many developers swore off Unity, with dozens of major developers stating they’d move to Godot, a rival open source option, or Unreal Engine.

Days later, on Sep. 18, 2023, Unity would apologize for their announcement, blaming the controversy on “confusion.”

By October, the company had all but entirely walked back their announcement, and in the fall out, CEO John Riccitiello, a figure often seen as a gaming monetization pariah, was forced into retirement

Then, in November, new Unity CEO Jim Whitehurst announced a “company reset” that would see 3.8 percent of its staff released. Now, months later, that figure has risen to 25 percent, as Unity attempts to navigate a share price dip that saw the company’s stock value dip by almost 40 percent. Unity’s share price rose upon the announcement of the layoffs, correcting a slight dip since last year.

Unity remains the platform of choice for many developers, but has faced issues of monetization. These layoffs are reportedly geared towards ensuring long-term success and profitability for the software platform.

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