Unity Technology has found itself at the center of controversy as multiple offices across the United States received death threats. The threats come on the heels of the gaming engine developer's recent announcement of a new fee scheme that has sent shockwaves through the gaming community.
Unity Prioritizes Employees’ Safety Amid Threats
Unity Technology has responded promptly and decisively to the threats, prioritizing the safety of its employees. The company has closed two offices that were deemed potential targets and is actively cooperating with law enforcement agencies in an ongoing investigation.
The root of this turmoil can be traced back to Unity's announcement of a controversial fee scheme on Tuesday, September 12th. Under this plan, Unity planned to charge game developers $0.20 per install for its Personal and Plus versions, with additional scaling fees for those using the Pro or Enterprise software. This pay-per-install model was set to commence on January 1, 2024.
The announcement of these fees triggered a wave of outrage in the gaming community, with both fans and developers expressing their concerns. Critics argued that these new charges could potentially lead to game developers owing Unity more money than they would earn in profits.
Unity developers attempted to ease the backlash by explaining that approximately 90 percent of their client base would remain unaffected by these fee changes. They emphasized that developers would only be charged once for each installation, avoiding an ongoing revenue share model. Despite these clarifications, the controversy surrounding the fee scheme persisted.
Adding fuel to the fire, Unity's Chief Executive Officer, John Riccitiello, sold 2000 shares just six days before the fee scheme announcement, contributing to suspicions within the community. Riccitiello's decision to sell 50,000 shares throughout the year, without making any purchases, raised eyebrows and deepened the sense of discontent.
Unity's response to the threats has been swift and diligent. In an update provided on September 15, 2023, the company conveyed that they had become aware of a potential threat to some of their offices. They promptly implemented immediate and proactive measures to prioritize the safety of their employees. Unity decided to temporarily close offices that might be vulnerable to this threat, spanning both today and tomorrow. Additionally, they affirmed their full cooperation with law enforcement in the ongoing investigation.
As Unity Technology grapples with these threats, the controversy over its new fee scheme continues to loom large, casting a shadow over the once-celebrated game engine developer. Unity's ability to navigate these turbulent waters and restore trust within the gaming community will undoubtedly be closely watched in the days and months to come.