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Death threat shuts down San Francisco video game company

A hand is holding a smartphone with the Unity logo on the screen. Behind the hand is a computer screen with the logo.
The Unity logo can be seen on a smartphone and a computer screen. | Source: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/Getty Images

San Francisco game development company Unity shut down its offices Thursday after an employee allegedly issued a death threat on social media. 

A Unity spokesperson told The Standard that the company was “made aware of a potential threat to some of our offices” on Thursday morning. Its San Francisco office will remain closed on Friday. The Austin office also shut down.

“We have taken immediate and proactive measures to ensure the safety of our employees, which is our top priority,” a Unity spokesperson told The Standard. 

A San Francisco police spokesperson told The Standard the threat was allegedly made by a Unity employee who is out-of-state and that the company was “unable to reach the outside jurisdiction to make a report.”

Unity built the game engine popular games like Pokémon Go, Genshin Impact and Cuphead run on. It’s often a popular choice for smaller and independent game developers—at least up until this week.

On Tuesday, the company announced changes to its pricing model, introducing a new fee developers must pay every time users download their games—if they meet certain thresholds. The move was slammed by both game developers and users, who warned the charge would harm game creators and stifle independent video game development. 

Unity has not said whether the death threat is connected to the rollout of the new fee. Unity Chief Executive Officer John Riccitiello was scheduled to speak to workers Thursday; the all-staff meeting was canceled in light of the threat, according to Bloomberg, which first broke the news of the office shutdown.