Unity employee reportedly forces office closure with death threats over installation fees
As backlash for Unity’s proposed Installation Fee Policy continues, indie developers continue to voice their concerns. Now, the software company has closed two North American offices over death threats amid the drama.
Unity announced on September 12 that they planned to begin charging developers using their engine a fee based on software downloads. Numerous developers, including the team behind Cult of the Lamb, are now threatening to erase their games to avoid the fees.
Following the wave of criticism from developers using the Unity Engine, the company had prepared to host a Town Hall meeting to straighten things out. The event has since been canceled following death threats to Unity staff.
Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier reported on September 15 that Unity was forced to close its San Francisco and Austin offices due to the threats. Following initial reports, Polygon reporter Nicole Carpenter tweeted images of a police report alleging that a Unity employee was the one who made the threats.
Unity death threats allegedly came from inside the company
“Today, we have been made aware of a potential threat to some of our offices,” a Unity spokesperson explained in the press release. “We have taken immediate and proactive measures to ensure the safety of our employees, which is our top priority.”
While not mentioned in Unity’s press release, a report from the San Fransico Police Department mentions an employee of Unity as the source of the threat. “When officers arrived on scene, they met with a reporting party that informed them that an employee had made a threat to his employer via social media,” the police report read.
“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 spokesperson finished in the press release.
Unity’s announced policy is to charge developers using their engine $0.20 for every new installation after 200,000 units. Multiple developers have expressed their misgivings, threatening to switch engines or delete their games entirely. Whether they hold true to those threats however, obviously remains to be seen.
Games that could be impacted by the new policies include Pokemon Go, Honkai Star Rail, and Genshin Impact. Unity has since attempted to calm its partners by claiming that “more than 90%” of its customers will not be affected by the changes.
If Unity does not abandon the move entirely, the controversial Installation Fees will come into effect on January 1, 2024.