Unity’s Cinematic Tools Division Faces 265 Job Cuts: What You Need to Know

Unity Software is restructuring its operations, including laying off 265 employees from its Unity Weta Tools division, terminating an agreement with Weta FX, and closing offices, as part of a broader effort to streamline its business and focus on core priorities.

unity weta layoffs
unity weta layoffs

Unity Software is laying off 265 employees from its Unity Weta Tools division, constituting 3.8% of its global workforce. This is Unity’s third round of layoffs.

Alongside this, the company is ending a professional service agreement with Weta FX (formerly Weta Digital) and closing 14 offices while scaling down the remaining ones.

Weta Digital was the FX company behind the Lord of The Rings and The Planet of the Apes trilogy.

Unity is also revising its office work policy, eliminating the requirement for employees to be in the office three days a week and reducing full in-office services to three days per week at most locations.

The decision to downsize the Weta Tools unit contrasts with Unity’s ambitious plans when it acquired Weta Digital’s tools and engineering staff in December 2021 for $1.625 billion.

Despite the recent launch of the Unity Weta Tools division at SIGGRAPH in August, Unity is now streamlining its operations. Unity will retain ownership of the technology acquired from Weta Digital and explore ways to enhance its offerings, while Weta FX will have the right to build and extend the intellectual property, developing its own tools and techniques.

In response to the layoffs, Weta FX expressed its commitment to extending offers to as many affected team members as possible, intending to expand its research, development, and support functions.

The technology acquired by Unity will remain available to Weta FX, enabling the company to continue building and extending its intellectual property and evolving as a leader in visual effects.

Unity justified its decision, stating that while it recognizes the exceptional talent of the Weta Digital team, the company needs to become more streamlined and focus on its core business.

Unity believes it makes more sense for Weta FX to handle full end-to-end production activities directly. The company aims to concentrate its expertise and personnel on other priorities, while Weta FX will receive support for its use of Weta Tools directly from its own team, creating a more efficient collaboration.

These changes for Unity come at a challenging time, marked by discontent from game developers following alterations to pricing models and Terms of Service in September.

The company witnessed a significant drop in share price, leading to the retirement of longtime CEO John Riccitiello, who was replaced by Interim CEO Jim Whitehurst. Whitehurst, speaking with Reuters, emphasized that the recent changes are part of a broader effort to “refocus” Unity’s business and streamline its operations.

Going forward, Unity intends to “reduce the number of things we do overall.”

Gerard Thompson
Gerard Thompson

Gerard Thompson, a seasoned tech industry worker understands the struggles of facing layoffs firsthand. Having navigated the uncertain and daunting world of job loss himself. Gerard is the founder of JustLayoffs.com

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