Unity has announced it is to lay off over 250 employees as part of what interim CEO Jim Whitehurst is calling a company-wide “reset”.
According to Reuters, 265 of Unity’s overall staff will be laid off, which constitutes around 3.8% of the studio’s workforce. This mostly pertains to the closure of Weta Digital, the development wing of Peter Jackson’s visual effects company Weta FX.
It’s important to note that Weta Digital is not the same entity as Weta FX, who provide visual effects for movies like Avatar; rather, Weta Digital is the wing of the company that provides development tools and other engineering support. It was originally acquired by Unity back in 2021.
Reuters says that Unity’s layoffs include “termination of the professional services piece” of an agreement struck with Weta Digital in 2021.
As such, the 265 employees that are being laid off have jobs “related to the agreement”, according to Reuters, which in turn cites Unity.
As well as these layoffs, Unity also says it will close offices in 14 global locations, including Singapore and Berlin, and will “significantly reduce its office footprint” for remaining offices.
It’s been an odd few months for Unity, to say the least.
In October, former CEO John Riccitello departed the company following the announcement of major new pricing changes to the Unity toolkit, which has been used to develop games like Hollow Knight, Metal: Hellsinger, and Cuphead, among many others.
After developers expressed dismay at the changes, Unity apologized for causing “confusion and angst”, subsequently revising its pricing policy in the wake of the backlash.
The controversy also led to GameMaker taking a swipe at Unity; when announcing that the GameMaker suite would be free for non-commercial use, the platform took aim at the “awkward moves with…pricing and terms” made by “other platforms”.
It’s also worth noting that Unity’s layoffs are part of a wider chain of industry issues that have seen companies like Embracer Group, Humble Games, and Amazon’s gaming division letting staff go in recent months as well.
Stay tuned for more on this.