Unity Faces Credible Threat Amid Controversial Pricing Changes

Unity, a game technology vendor, faced a credible death threat against its U.S. offices amid controversy over its pricing changes. Executives also sold shares amid financial challenges.

Unity, a prominent video game technology vendor, has been forced to take drastic precautions in response to a "credible" death threat against two of its U.S.-based offices. The threat, of which the specifics have not yet been disclosed, has led Unity to cancel its scheduled September 14 company town hall meeting and close both its Austin, Texas, and San Francisco, California offices for at least two days.

Unity CEO John Riccitiello expressed deep concern regarding the threat and emphasized the company's commitment to ensuring the safety of its employees. A Unity spokesperson confirmed that these precautionary measures were taken in response to a potential threat and that they are actively cooperating with law enforcement agencies during the ongoing investigation.

These unsettling developments occur in the midst of intense criticism aimed at Unity for its controversial decision to revise its pricing structure for game developers using its Unity Engine software. The revised plan proposed charging developers 20 cents for each end-user installation or reinstallation of their games, which met widespread opposition within the game development community. Critics expressed frustration and distrust towards Unity, with many questioning the company's integrity.

In response to the backlash, Unity has slightly adjusted its approach, clarifying that it will now "only charge for an initial installation." However, this modification has not quelled the skepticism among game developers, and some are actively exploring alternatives to Unity's popular technology.

Unity, which went public in September 2020, faced significant challenges in the stock market, experiencing a fivefold decline in stock price by mid-2022. This financial setback was accompanied by a significant workforce reduction, with over a thousand employees being laid off. Notably, several Unity executives, including CEO John Riccitiello, were observed selling portions of their shares during this turbulent period.

The combination of these recent events has left Unity at a critical juncture, with both its reputation and financial stability under scrutiny. The company's response to the threat against its offices will be closely watched as it navigates these challenges and seeks to regain the trust of the game development community.

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