- Unity CEO John Riccitiello’s recent sale of 2,000 shares coincided with a controversial decision to charge game developers every time their game is installed, leading to a drop in share prices.
- Developers are concerned about the lack of control and transparency surrounding the new Unity Runtime Fee, which applies to developers with over $200,000 in revenue and 200,000 game installs.
- The backlash against Unity’s pricing changes not only affected share prices but also led to threats from developers to delete popular games in protest. Unity’s overall situation seems uncertain, with layoffs and office closures already taking place.
Unity’s CEO John Riccitiello sold 2,000 shares of the technology company last week. While not an unusual move on its own, this decision was followed by a change in how Unity charges developers that angered many devs and affected share prices.
On September 12, Unity decided to charge devs using its engine every time that their game is installed. The new Unity Runtime Fee will affect developers that had a revenue of more than $200,000 during the previous 12 months and have over 200,000 installs in a game. Unity is used in several popular games, such as Pokemon GO, Return of the Obra Dinn, and Genshin Impact, and this decision has been unpopular, to say the least. Among the main concerns, devs are worried about not having control over these fees and Unity’s lack of transparency about how the numbers are measured.
Now, on the heels of the unpopular announcement, the investment media outlet Guru Focus uncovered that John Riccitiello sold 2,000 shares of Unity’s stock on September 6. Soon after this week’s announcement, Unity’s stock plummeted, going down from $39 to $36 fairly quickly, a reduction of almost 10%. However, it should be noted that, according to Guru Focus, this is part of a larger trend. Riccitiello sold 50,610 shares during 2023 and bought none, so there’s no direct connection between him selling these stocks last week and the recent announcement. Also, Kotaku reported that other members of Unity, such as the company’s president of growth Tomer Bar-Zeev have also been selling shares, getting rid of 37,500 of them on September 1, while board director Shlomo Dovrat sold 68,454 shares back on August 30.
So far, the backlash from the controversial decision has not only affected share prices. The devs behind the popular Cult of the Lamb have threatened to delete it by January 1, 2024, the date on which the changes proposed by Unity would take place, as part of a protest to these changes.
Overall, 2023 does not seem like a very good time for Unity. For instance, Unity laid off hundreds of employees this year. Over 600 people were fired from the company, and plans were revealed to cut down offices from 58 to 30. At the moment, Unity’s next move is unclear, regarding whether these unpopular pricing changes will be kept or rolled back, or how they may affect the company’s profitability.