Video game software giant Unity has canceled an upcoming town hall over controversial pricing decisions citing death threats at two offices, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
Unity, a game engine that serves as the foundation to tens of thousands of video game projects, announced Wednesday it will charge a developer 20 cents every time a game with their engine is downloaded starting Jan. 1.
The change garnered massive criticism from developers and gamers who fear the fees could bankrupt small developers and make free-to-play titles unprofitable.
The company said it was “made aware of a potential threat to some of our offices” and has “taken immediate and proactive measures to ensure the safety of our employees,” Bloomberg reported.
Unity originally planned a town hall to discuss the pricing decision with employees Thursday morning. The two offices under threat — in Austin, Texas, and San Francisco — were closed Thursday and will remain closed Friday, the company said, according to Bloomberg.
The 20 cent charge was initially believed to apply to any install of any game with Unity software, including pirated copies and re-installs from users who have already played the game before, but the company has since clarified that is not the case.
In a social media thread Wednesday following the backlash, Unity clarified that the fees would only apply to “those who have found a substantial scale in downloads and revenue and have reached both our install and revenue thresholds.” The company estimated that about 90 percent of users would not be affected.
The company also said that fees will not be applied for re-installs and pirated copies of games. It is unclear exactly what the thresholds to qualify for fees are.
Rival game software company Epic Games, developer of the Unreal Engine, only charges similar fees for projects that make more than $1 million in total revenue — exempting the smallest hobbyists and games entrepreneurs. Both software programs are free to use and feature assets and tools that can be purchased.
Some developers have already announced that they may avoid using the Unity engine in the future and opt for the company’s rivals, even if their games are not levied with fees.
“This decision puts us and countless other studios in a position where we might not be able to justify using Unity for our future titles,” indie developer Aggro Crab Games said in a statement Tuesday. “If these changes aren’t rolled back, we’ll be heavily considering abandoning our wealth of Unity experience we’ve accumulated over the years and starting from scratch in a new engine. Which is something we’d rather not do.”
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