It is with a heavy heart that we are announcing Wednesday, September 27th as the date of the final Boston Unity Group event.

Founded in the summer of 2010 by Elliott Mitchell and Alex Schwartz, BUG was the first official Unity user group in the world. At that time the Unity game engine was still a relatively new technology that empowered creators with an accessible tool for shipping games on a variety of platforms. Over the last 13 years, BUG has hosted regular monthly meetups with networking events, technical lectures, panels, interviews, parties, demo nights, workshops and more. It’s been a place for us to network, share our struggles, find and give help, and learn and grow together. The consistent growth of the BUG community spawned a new era of game development in Boston and beyond.

BUG’s membership has grown from a few dozen to a few thousand, bringing together everyone from Boston’s indies, hobbyists, AAA developers, AI researchers, museum exhibit designers, med-tech innovators, archeologists, automotive designers, software engineers, volumetric filmmakers, VR/XR game makers, educators and countless others. With growing membership our leadership team also grew. Jono Forbes, Graham Pentheny, and Chris Hart joined Elliott in organizing BUG’s events and online presence. Unity lived up to its name, bringing together people with widely diverse backgrounds under a shared love for creating interactive technology.

From day one, BUG was enthusiastically sanctioned and supported by Unity and former CEO David Helgason. Unity provided logistical support, Pro license giveaways, workshops, presentations, sponsorships, speaking opportunities at Unite, and so much more. In those early days, David and Unity understood that fostering grassroots groups of independent developers was essential to planting the seeds of Unity’s long-term growth and building toward their goal of democratizing game development for people from all walks of life.

We are immensely grateful to David and all the Unity employees who have given their time and effort to support BUG and the broader Unity community.

Over the past few years, Unity has unfortunately shifted its focus away from the games industry and away from supporting developer communities. Following the IPO, the company has seemingly put profit over all else, with several acquisitions and layoffs of core personnel. Many key systems that developers need are still left in a confusing and often incomplete state, with the messaging that advertising and revenue matter more to Unity than the functionality game developers care about.

Recently, Unity unveiled a set of unthinkably hostile terms of service and pricing changes for its users. The resounding, unequivocal condemnation from the games industry was unprecedented and Unity had no choice but to rescind some of the most egregious changes. Even with these new concessions, the revised pricing model disproportionately affects the success of indie studios in our community.

More importantly, we’ve seen how easily and flippantly an executive-led business decision can risk bankrupting the studios we’ve worked so hard to build, threaten our livelihoods as professionals, and challenge the longevity of our industry. The Unity of today isn’t the same company that it was when the group was founded, and the trust we used to have in the company has been completely eroded.

Since our launch in 2010, the focus of BUG has been first and foremost about supporting developers, not the Unity company. As members of the broader Boston game developer community, we feel our efforts as organizers would be better spent creating opportunities for everyone, not just Unity users. Please join us as we all work together in the larger local development community to continue to host events and presentations for all to enjoy.

We encourage our members to join the Boston Game Dev meetup group where they can continue to connect with local developers using Unity, Unreal, Godot and everything in between.

The Boston Unity Group Youtube channel will continue to host recordings of past events.

The final BUG meeting will be a social event next Wednesday, September 27th, held on Zoom. We’d like to take the opportunity to thank our community members for their contributions and active support, celebrate the last 13 years, and discuss Boston Game Dev and other groups our members can join to support their endeavors.

At the end of the day, it was the thousands of people – participants, speakers, and organizers – who made BUG what it was. As our communities and industry evolve, let’s continue to support each other and find new ways to unite.

Much love,

Elliott, Chris, and Graham

Boston Unity Group Organizers

Read More