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Unity Lays Off 25% of Employees

Yesterday, Unity, a leading video game software company, disclosed plans to reduce its workforce by approximately 25%, which amounts to 1,800 positions. This decision, revealed in a regulatory filing and an internal memo, marks the company's most significant reduction to date and is expected to be finalized by the end of March.

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The San Francisco-based company, known for its essential software tools used by over 1.1 million game developers monthly, including creators of renowned games like "Pokemon Go," "Beat Saber," and "Hearthstone," experienced a near 5% increase in share value following the announcement.

The forthcoming job cuts will span across various teams and departments. This move follows a statement made by the interim CEO, Jim Whitehurst, in November about a strategic "company reset," aimed at sharpening the focus on key areas to enhance long-term success and profitability.

Amidst these changes, Whitehurst has not elaborated on specific structural adjustments, but a spokesperson indicated further modifications are on the horizon. Notably, this is the fourth wave of layoffs since July 2022, reflecting a challenging phase for Unity.

Last year, the company faced backlash over a proposed "runtime fee" pricing model, leading to a drop in share prices and a subsequent policy revision. This incident preceded the retirement of then-CEO John Riccitiello, ushering in Whitehurst as interim CEO and Roelof Botha, a Sequoia Capital partner, as board chairman.

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The initial phase of Unity's reorganization included ending a collaboration with a visual effects company and altering workplace policies. The recent layoffs represent a continuation of this strategy.

Unity, founded nearly two decades ago by a trio of Danish engineers, gained widespread acclaim for its user-friendly game engine, facilitating game development across diverse platforms. Beyond gaming, it's utilized in sectors like film and automotive for 3D visualization and virtual reality. Despite a successful IPO in 2020 and a peak stock value in 2021, Unity's shares have seen significant fluctuations, only recently rebounding by around 40% following the announcement of the corporate restructuring.

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