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New Unity CEO Riccitiello takes to forums to soothe devs' fears

New Unity CEO Riccitiello takes to forums to soothe devs' fears

October 23, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

"Not sure I look good in a popped collar. It's David's trademark... Will leave it with him."
- Unity's new CEO, John Riccitiello, on the Unity forums

Yesterday, Unity got a new CEO in the form of longtime EA exec John Riccitiello. Given his old company's sometimes controversial relationship with game developers and players both, reactions from devs were mixed.

The new CEO waded into the discussion to offer his views on the company and address the concerns of Unity developers who didn't like the announcement.

Besides joking about easing the transition between CEOs by aping co-founder David Helgason's signature look, Riccitiello took time to answer questions.

Speaking to those who fear Unity will become more EA-like, Riccitiello said that while EA was in bad shape in 2007, when he became its CEO, there's no such problem at Unity -- which he describes as "a very different company in a very different place," so they're not comparable.

"The things that might have been right (or wrong) with EA when the company was in a turn-around situation are entirely different than what is right for Unity. The companies are very, very different," he wrote.

He also echoed the sentiments outgoing CEO David Helgason shared with Gamasutra yesterday -- that the company's recent focus on service offerings, alongside its game engine, is the path forward.

When asked what he meant when repeating "democratizing game development," Unity's longstanding mantra, Riccitiello had this to say: "As for democratizing... to me this is about recognizing that developing a great game is hard, and then even you pull it off, having your game discovered, installed is also hard... and earning a good living on all of this is very hard."

He also said he doesn't have plans to rapidly expand Unity: "My philosophy is not to get bigger or more profitable for the sake of these things," Riccitiello wrote.

The full thread is well worth a read if you're curious to see the new CEO take his first steps. For more on the exec shift, read our interview with co-founder David Helgason, who will remain at the company and work to steer its engine and service strategy.

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