Marc Whitten, head of Amazon’s entertainment devices and services group and former longtime Xbox exec, has left the e-commerce giant to join Unity Technologies as general manager of its Unity Create Solutions game development division.
John Riccitiello, Unity’s president and CEO, announced Whitten’s hire on the company’s earnings call earlier this month.
“Marc is an incredible leader in the world of tech and entertainment,” Riccitiello told analysts. “He brings a lot to Unity and his leadership will add to our ability to grow and grow faster in the months and years to come. So there is always something going on at Unity, but in this instance, what we’re trying to do is map and make sure that the opportunity is met with the ability to realize it.”
At Amazon, Whitten oversaw the company’s Fire TV, Fire Tablet, Kindle, Amazon Luna gaming and Amazon Appstore businesses. His departure from Amazon was noted this week by industry consultant Matthew Ball, former head of strategy at Amazon Studios.
An Amazon rep said Daniel Rausch, most recently VP of smart home and Alexa mobile, is now overseeing the Fire TV and Luna business lines.
Prior to joining Amazon in June 2016, Whitten spent two years at smart-speaker company Sonos as chief product officer. Whitten previously worked at Microsoft for 17 years. He was part of the founding team that launched the first Xbox videogame console in 2001, eventually rising to the rank of corporate VP and chief product officer for Xbox. He’s also “essentially the founder of Xbox Live, there from the very beginning,” as Riccitiello put it.
Unity develops and sells a platform for creating and running interactive, real-time 3D content. For full-year 2020, the company reported revenue of $772.4 million, up 43% year over year, and narrowed adjusted operating loss to -$50.6 million (versus -$91.8 million the year prior). The Unity Create Solutions segment competes against proprietary game engines built in-house by large game studios, as well as Epic Games’ Unreal Engine.