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Unity closes offices due to ‘credible death threat’

The company drew ire over a maligned pricing change

Inside The Unity Technologies SF Office And Lab Photo:  David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Unity Technologies has closed several U.S. offices due to a “potential threat,” a Unity spokesperson confirmed to Polygon. A Bloomberg report said offices in Austin, Texas and San Francisco were closed just as Unity CEO John Riccitiello was scheduled to address staff at a company-wide meeting due to what was described as a “credible death threat.” San Francisco police told Polygon that the person who reported the threat to police said “an employee made a threat towards his employer using social media.” The aforementioned employee reportedly works at an out-of-state office.

Police advised Unity to contact the out-of-state jurisdiction before taking a “courtesy report,” San Francisco public information officer Kathryn Winters said.

“Today, we have been made aware of a potential threat to some of our offices,” a Unity spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”

Reached for information, the San Francisco FBI referred Polygon to the San Francisco police department. Austin, Texas police have not responded to Polygon’s request for comment. Unity has not confirmed that an employee made the initial threat.

On Sept. 12, Unity announced its new pricing structure that tacks on fees tied to video game installs after certain download and revenue numbers are met. Developers have described the structure as disastrous, a business move that may put businesses at risk. Unity also drew ire for poorly communicating the new model that some said could be a violation of its own terms of service. Dozens of studios and developers have spoken out against the new policy, threatening to abandon the subscription-based engine should the changes not be reversed.

Update: San Francisco police told Polygon that officers responded to Unity’s San Francisco office “regarding a threats incident.” A “reporting party” told police that “an employee made a threat towards his employer using social media.” The employee that made the threat works in an office outside of California, according to the police statement.

Here’s the full statement provided by San Francisco public information officer Kathryn Winters:

On September 14, 2023, at approximately 0930am, San Francisco Police Officers assigned to Central Station responded to the unit block of 3rd Street regarding a threats incident.

When officers arrived on scene, they met with a reporting party who informed them that an employee made a threat towards his employer using social media. The reporting party also said that the employee works at an out of state location for the company, but that they had been unable to reach the outside jurisdiction to make a report.

The reporting party was advised to contact the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred, and officers took a courtesy report.

Update (Sept. 15): This story has been updated to add details from the San Francisco police department throughout the story.

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