Wednesday, May 15th, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

Unity Create head Marc Whitten to resign

Unity Create head Marc Whitten is to resign on 1 June 2024, and will leave Unity by the end of the year, the company has revealed in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

As Chief Product Officer of the section of Unity responsible for the Unity game engine, Whitten wrote the open letter to users apologizing for last year’s unpopular Runtime Fee policy.

News of his resignation comes the week after Unity announced a $291 million quarterly loss, much of it resulting from its subsequent restructuring program.

Whitten to resign as Unity Create head next month, but to stay to ease the transition
Marc Whitten joined Unity in 2021, having previously been Vice President of Amazon’s Entertainment Devices and Services division, and Chief Product officer for Xbox at Microsoft.

As Chief Product Officer and CTO of Unity Create, the part of Unity responsible for the Unity game engine, he was the person charged with writing – or at least putting his name to – the open letter to the community apologizing for last year’s controversial Runtime Fee policy.

The original proposed fees prompted a backlash among game developers, which was followed by a fall in share price and sudden retirement of then-Unity-CEO John Riccitiello.

In a 8-K filing to the SEC, Unity announced that Whitten will resign from his role on 1 June 2024, but will remain at the company until the end of the year to ease the handover.

His resignation package includes a lump sum payment of $400,000 equal to “100% of his target bonus for 2024 under the cash incentive bonus plan”.

News follows Unity’s latest quarterly net loss, much due to cost of restructuring
The news comes a week after Unity announced a quarterly net loss of $291 million, $212 million of it from restructuring costs. Revenue from Unity Create itself grew year-on-year.

In January, the firm announced that it planned to lay off 25% of its workforce in order to “[refocus] on its core business”, which would “likely include discontinuing” other products.

The company subsequently cancelled its Ziva product line of character rigging tools.

Unity had already laid off the team responsible for developing the in-house software it acquired from VFX facility Weta Digital, some of which was due to be made available publicly via the now-aborted Unity Wētā Tools product line.

Company ‘reset’ in the wake of the Runtime Fee controversy is now complete
Unity will be hoping that the latest changes draw a line under a turbulent period in its history.

In its report to shareholders, the firm described the quarterly loss as “in line with expectations”, and the “portfolio and cost reset” as “completed”.

The report also announced the appointment of games industry veteran and former Zynga COO Matt Bromberg as Unity’s new permanent CEO, taking over from interim CEO Jim Whitehurst.

Read Unity’s SEC filing announcing Marc Whitten’s resignation

Read Unity’s May 2024 shareholder letter announcing its new CEO and recent quarterly losses

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