Update (9/15, 14:30): It has been revealed by San Francisco police that the individual responsible for the threat was a Unity employee, via a message to their employer via social media. (via Polygon)
Unity Technologies, the company behind the popular Unity game engine, has had to close up some of its offices after it received threats to its employees' safety.
While the threats came soon after Unity announced a controversial new installation fee policy, which would charge developers per install after reaching a certain threshold, it's important to note that it hasn't been confirmed that the threats issued are in relation to the policy.
After receiving what it referred to as a credible death threat, Unity offices in Austin and San Francisco were temporarily closed, Bloomberg reports.
A Unity spokesperson provided further context in a statement to IGN, saying: "Today, we have been made aware of a potential threat to some of our offices. We have taken immediate and proactive measures to ensure the safety of our employees, which is our top priority. We are closing our offices today and tomorrow that could be potential targets for this threat, and are fully cooperating with law enforcement on the investigation."
Unity's new policy has received much criticism in the days since its announcement, from developers and players alike. When enacted, the policy would see developers charged a fee of $0.20 per game install after a threshold of 200,000 installations has been passed. It will come into affect on January 1, 2024.
Titles like Among Us and Cult of the Lamb are just a few of the games that have claimed they'll be pulled from digital storefronts after the policy comes into affect. While Unity has acknowledged the "confusion and frustration" felt by developers, they've only muddied the waters by claiming they will no longer be charging for re-installations, trials, demos, web and streaming use and games that are sold as part of a charity bundles.
We want to acknowledge the confusion and frustration we heard after we announced our new runtime fee policy. We’d like to clarify some of your top questions and concerns:Who is impacted by this price increase: The price increase is very targeted. In fact, more than 90% of our…September 13, 2023
How it intends to actually work out which installations are trials or sold as charity bundles remains to be seen, however.
Unity is one of the most popular and accessible game engines for developers out there, and is largely used by both indie developers and AAA studios. Some popular titles running on the Unity engine that would be impacted by the fee include Genshin Impact, Fall Guys, Cuphead, Escape from Tarkov as well as anticipated upcoming games like Hollow Knight: Silksong.
Some indie developers are encouraging fans to purchase their titles now ahead of Unity's new policy coming into effect. You can browse our best indie games and best Steam games guides for top recommendations.