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Unity appoints Riccitiello as CEO

Helgason stepping down, taking EVP role

Unity co-founder David Helgason is leaving his role as CEO of the company and will be replaced by none other than former CEO of Electronic Arts John Riccitiello.

"I'm so proud of everything Unity accomplished in the last decade but now it's time to look forward to an excellent future. Our mission is an important one, so I'm incredibly happy that John has agreed to lend his formidable experience to the role of CEO at Unity," said Helgason.

"We've had the chance to work together over the last year-and-a-bit and come to recognize how similar our views are on the importance of the democratization of development to a thriving developer ecosystem and healthy games industry. We're in great hands."

Helgason isn't stepping back from Unity entirely though. He'll continue there as executive vice president in charge of strategy and communications.

Riccitiello knows Unity well, having served on the Board of Directors since November 2013. He left his role as CEO of EA in February 2013 and since then has worked with companies like Oculus VR and Chinese company SilkCloud as investor and advisor.

"Unity has been a hugely positive force in the games industry for years. Now it's my incredible fortune to have the opportunity to help guide Unity going forward," added Riccitiello.

"Unity is more than a great engine or packages of services, it's an amazing and diverse community of developers, many of which are changing the way we think about game design and production. Unity's mission -- to democratize development -- is an important one that I'm very happy to help drive forward."

Earlier this month Unity rubbished reports that it was for sale.

If you have jobs news to share or a new hire you want to shout about, please contact us on newhires@gamesindustry.biz

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Latest comments (12)

James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada2 years ago
Very cool news!
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Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster2 years ago
I hope all goes well with Unity's future. It certainly is a very important pillar in the current gaming landscape, allowing lots of indie games and a few big ones to exist and providing a very fluid IDE.
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Gareth Martin Senior Programmer, Epic Games2 years ago
Given he stepped down from EA because of "[his] accountability for the shortcomings in [EA's] financial results", one wonders if this is wise for Unity.

I hope it works out for them.
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Show all comments (12)
Pete Thompson Editor 2 years ago
Oh, Lets hope Unity doesn't get put on the Worse Company list any time soon.. Not sure if it's a good move, but time will tell, and I hope things continue to go well for Unity..
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster2 years ago
Unity are a vastly different company to EA, which to be fair as its own triumphs. This appointment is very interesting.
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Anthony Gowland Consulting F2P Game Designer, Ant Workshop2 years ago
Riccitiello spearheaded EA's push to increase the quality of their output, rather than just the profitability, and also saw the change in tide coming that would require them to move over to digital rather than just boxed publishing. A smart guy.

I still think this, and the recent pricing up rumours, point to an IPO in the near future.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development2 years ago
Yeah, I can't be the only person who on hearing "We're definitely not selling" read "We're trying to up the bid".

Maybe they're now looking to sell themselves to the public instead?
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Istvan Fabian Principal Engineer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe2 years ago
The public as well as AAA developers as a viable engine.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development2 years ago
I meant as in an IPO ;)
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Istvan Fabian Principal Engineer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe2 years ago
Me too :)
Unity is the engine of choice for many, if not most indies, but most AAA developments are using other engines, even when specific technical requirements would not warrant that, especially considering the feature set of the upcoming Unity 5.
JR's leadership, not to mention industry wide contacts may very well change this.
He could also be the front required for a possible IPO.
So I'd say win-win, and a very wise choice.
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Anthony Gowland Consulting F2P Game Designer, Ant Workshop2 years ago
Doubt you'd convert most of the AAA guys, there is too much risk to shareholders in being that beholden to the whims of another company, and even the initial shifting of the whole company across to a new engine at this point is a huge undertaking that you need faith is going to pay off in the coming years. Plenty still remember getting burned by Renderware
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Istvan Fabian Principal Engineer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe2 years ago
There are many AAA-ish projects where say company X would publish the game, but would not want to share technology with an otherwise 3rd party for various reasons and the technical level of Unity would suffice. Using Unity in this case is a viable solution.
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