Unity receives ‘credible death threat’ amid per-install fee backlash

Ryan Daws is a senior editor at TechForge Media, with a seasoned background spanning over a decade in tech journalism. His expertise lies in identifying the latest technological trends, dissecting complex topics, and weaving compelling narratives around the most cutting-edge developments. His articles and interviews with leading industry figures have gained him recognition as a key influencer by organisations such as Onalytica. Publications under his stewardship have since gained recognition from leading analyst houses like Forrester for their performance. Find him on X (@gadget_ry) or Mastodon (@gadgetry@techhub.social)

Unity has been forced to close two of its offices and cancel a town hall meeting following a “credible death threat”.

The unacceptable threat came on the heels of an announcement regarding a new per-install fee for developers using the Unity video game engine.

Just two days ago, Unity created widespread backlash across the gaming community by unveiling its intention to charge developers a per-install fee each time a player downloaded one of their games.

Unity’s announcement immediately ignited a firestorm of criticism from developers who saw multiple flaws in this approach.

Chief among their concerns was the potential for players to exploit this system by repeatedly installing and uninstalling games as a form of retaliation, effectively costing developers money. This raised a slew of other issues, prompting many developers to call for Unity to reconsider its stance.

While Unity has attempted to address some of these concerns, the developer community remains wary of the company’s intentions. Some developers are shifting their projects to entirely different game engines in response to this controversial fee.

Unity CEO John Riccitiello had originally scheduled a town hall meeting this morning to address the growing concerns within the company. However, in light of what Unity perceived to be a credible death threat, the meeting was abruptly cancelled and Unity’s offices in Austin, Texas, and San Francisco, California, were temporarily closed.

Riccitiello is no stranger to controversy. Last year, Riccitiello issued an apology following an interview where he called some game developers “the biggest fucking idiots”. Before this latest situation, developers were already threatening to switch engines:

Tensions are high with livelihoods at risk and the backlash is understandable, but death threats are never acceptable. As the controversy surrounding Unity Technologies and its per-install fee policy continues to unfold, developers and industry observers are closely watching this unfolding saga.

See also: Ruby on Rails creator deplores ‘open-source hooliganism’

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