Unity Software will eliminate 265 jobs making up nearly 4% of its workforce. This round of job cuts focused on Weta Digital. Unity has had a lot of controversy in the past two months and has struggled with profitability for its entire history. Unity acquired Weta Digital from Peter Jackson for 1.6 billion at the end of 2021.
What is Weta?
This is where things can get a little confusing, so let’s go over some background information. Weta Workshop is a physical Visual Effects Company (VFX) that is owned and operated completely separately from Weta Digital. While Peter Jackson did work with them for the Lord of the Rings films, the company he started, Weta Digital, is completely separate. After the sale of Weta Digital, a part of the company remained with Peter Jackson, and was renamed Weta FX.
Weta FX is completely unaffected by this. The part of the company that made the software and development tools was purchased by Unity in 2021 for $1.625 billion and kept the name Weta Digital. Weta Digital will close its doors, eliminating those employees’ positions but keeping the development tools and software it acquired.
What is happening at Unity?
In September of this year, Unity announced a disastrous plan to get to profitability, and a week later started walking it back. Less than a month later, Unity Software CEO, John Riccitiello retired with immediate effect. Unity has never been profitable, and since their original plan failed, they are restructuring many of their development costs and studios.
Unity Software made the engine used to make many great games. Unity has stopped its current foray into VFX with the closure of Weta Digital. Should they change their mind, they still have all of the software and development tools originally purchased. These are the types of changes Unity has said they will be making in their attempt to achieve profitability. With over $2 billion in debt, we can likely expect more of these changes in the future.