The layoffs continue as Unity has also decided to fire 265 employees, calling it a company reset. The company is also closing up shop for Weta Digital and is ending its agreement with Weta FX. The employees that have been subject to this mass layoff make up 3.8% of the total workforce of Unity.
Weta Digital was originally partly acquired by Unity in December 2021, this included the company’s digital tools, production pipeline, tech, and workforce. The deal totaled $1.625 billion and was clearly meant to be long-term. The part acquired by Unity was renamed to Weta FX, while the percentage that was not acquired remained in the ownership of Peter Jackson.
According to Unity, it has now ended the professional services portion of the agreement, which is the reason for this mass layoff of 265 people. Weta FX, the part of the company owned by Unity, said in a statement that it will try to get as many of the affected workforce re-hired as possible. The tools, however, will continue to be used as normal at Unity.
Unity believes the Weta Digital team is remarkable, but Unity needs to become leaner as it focuses its expertise on its core business. It also believes it makes more sense for Weta FX to own full end-to-end production activities directly. Unity will be focusing its expertise and people on other matters, and Weta FX will be getting support for its use of the Weta Tools directly from its own crew – a shorter path which makes sense for both companies.
Unity’s Mass Layoff & Its Reason
Unity is referring to this restructuring as a “company reset” with the aim to focus more on its core product, its game creation engine. To achieve this “refocusing” Unity is aiming to reduce its costs by letting some people go, shutting down offices in Singapore and Berlin, and allowing work from home for more people.
But keep in mind, Unity is not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, instead, it is doing it to recover from its anti-industry moves that have tarnished its otherwise solid reputation in the gaming space. This happened when the company’s ex-CEO, John Riccitiello, suggested a new way of increasing revenue in which each and every install of a game made using Unity would be charged individually.
This asinine move resulted in an understandable backlash from the industry and a permanent loss of trust in the community. Since then, Unity has been hard at work trying to recover its lost credibility but moves like mass layoffs will only make that long road even more challenging.