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Unity staff unhappy about firm signing military contracts

Unity staff unhappy about firm signing military contracts

Employees over at game engine maker Unity are apparently not content about the company's dealings with the US military.

As reported by Vice's Waypoint, internal documents indicate that management is experiencing some pushback from staff who are now being asked to make military technology. Apparently some Unity employees have worked on projects that ended up having military use without them even knowing at the time.

This new vertical inside the company is nicknamed "GovTech" and is apparently intended to "develop technologies across our products that helps the government adapt AI and machine learning."

In a post on Unity's Slack following Waypoint reaching out to the company for comment, CEO John Riccitiello saying that it would not be embroiled in deals that go against what it stands for as a company.

"We expect a story from a Vice journalist to talk about Unity’s work with the government and military,"  the exec said.

"The contracts for these engagements are very restrictive – similar to many of our partnership deals including some of the work we do with gaming companies and in verticals such as retail – so while we can’t share specific details, we can say that we have a thorough review process, and we have not nor will we support programs where we knowingly violate our principles or values."

Unity was released back in 2005 and has become one of the backbones of the games industry. Though used widely by smaller independent developers, the technology has also powered blockbuster hits like Pokémon Go, Monument Valley and Cuphead.

The firm went public in September 2020.

Unity is far from the only games-related company to have military contracts. Microsoft recently scored a $21.9bn deal to build a combat-focused version of its HoloLens augmented reality headset, while SpatialOS maker Improbable has worked with both the US Department of Defence and the UK military.


PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site PCGamesInsider.biz. In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for GamesIndustry.biz, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.

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