An open letter to Unity

Oliver Oliver • Published 9 months ago Updated 8 months ago

Update 10 October 2023

John Riccitiello has stepped down as CEO of Unity, so this leaves me with an interesting decision to make. I have not yet made a hard decision on whether or not I'll start using Unity again.

I'd like to give it some time and see how things pan out before I lean one way or the other. However, since Unity is still public, I fear the company will always hold the shareholders' interests higher than the community's.

I'll continue to stay updated on the situation and we shall see what happens.

To Unity:

I'm Oliver Booth, and I've used Unity for a very long time and I am intimately familiar with the engine.

I wrote a post recently that was more emotional than it should have been. More filled with anger and upset than I should have allowed. That was my fault, but I feel my emotion wasn't entirely unjustified.

Frankly, I have to say: It's too late.

Yes, you should have spoken more with the community and listened to the feedback. I don't know how many developers you spoke with, you claim it's a reasonable amount. Even if that were true, you failed to listen.

This isn't the first time you have caused disappointment and frustration with your users, but it is with heavy heart I say it is the last time you cause it with me. I am glad that you have taken the community's responses seriously and made changes that are beneficial, but unfortunately I maintain my position that it should not have taken outrage and backlash for you to realise what you were suggesting was a monumentally bad idea. At this point in time I have trouble deciding whether it was a poor executive decision, or if your PR team has trouble conveying a message effectively and professionally because frankly they did a piss-poor job of doing either of those things.

I'm also glad that you have decided to remove the splash screen requirement. Alas, I see this nothing more as sweetener to soften the blow you've caused.

Ultimately the problem is this: You've let us down. Multiple times. This is the explosion you've caused after a considerable amount of poor decisions both on a corporate level and on a technological level. Many packages are unfinished, the engine is littered with bugs, and Unity going public was arguably the worst thing you could have done.

I'm in a position where I find myself struggling to justify continuing to use Unity, both out of principle and out of an ever-growing disdain of the technology and the mindset that has been displayed. I know this is not the engineer's fault, my outrage has always been at leadership. And sadly this is the only thing, in my opinion, that can redeem your place in the industry - new leadership.

The CEO has a known reputation for being a tyrannical money-grabbing monster. His actions are unforgivable. For as long as he's in charge of the company, Unity will continue to sink. It's a shame, because Unity has made gamedev a lot more accessible to beginners. It's upsetting to see so many people lost and confused, reluctant to use the engine for fear of being screwed over again in future. And it is my firm conviction that for as long as Riccitiello leads the way, this will happen again. Maybe not in the short term, I think you guys have more sense than to allow this kind of shit to repeat itself so soon. But it will.

I hope that Unity decides to change the direction it's heading. I hope that you focus more on the community's feedback, and the engine's capabilities, because I sincerely want beginners to have an accessible way to get into game development. I never had this privilege growing up, I never had millions of tutorials on the internet to learn what I was doing. We're in such a fantastic time where people can learn easier than ever, I would hate for that to vanish.

But until you change leadership, I can no longer encourage people to use Unity. I refuse to be complicit when I see this level of injustice.

You have a lot of work ahead of you. Please make the right choices.

3 legacy comments

Legacy comments are comments that were posted using a commenting system that I no longer use. This exists for posterity.

Ahmet Ahmet • 8 months ago

So, the Unity CEO is “stepping down” (aka fired lmao), do you think you'll ever return to the engine after this?

Oliver Booth Oliver Booth • 8 months ago

I did hear about this! I haven't yet made a decision because I want to give the new CEO (or rather the interim CEO) a chance. I err on the side of caution though as Unity is still public, so as long as that's the case they will always hold the shareholders interests higher. We shall see what happens.

However even if I do start to use Unity again, I'm still gonna be using Unreal and likely writing posts/tutorials about it!

oglop oglop • 3 months ago

I wanted to make a simple game and I chose unity to simplify the abstraction over input handling. I am not too far with the project, would you recommend someting else? Eg GoDot? Thank you.