Epic looks to cash in on Improbable, Unity spat

Demo FPS game built using SpatialOS

Unity also claim that Improbable were told about its violation of Unity's services over a year ago, which were not disclosed but involved "making unauthorized and improper use of Unity's technology and name in connection with the development, sale, and marketing of its own products".

On Thursday, British developer Improbable published a post on their official blog stating that games that made use of the Unity engine would no longer be able to use the SpatialOS cloud platform, owing to a change in Unity's terms of service at the end of a year ago.

"You may not directly or indirectly distribute the Unity Software, including the runtime portion of the Unity Software (the "Unity Runtime"), or your Project Content (if it incorporates the Unity Runtime) by means of streaming or broadcasting so that any portion of the Unity Software is primarily executed on or simulated by the cloud or a remote server and transmitted over the Internet or other network-to-end user devices without a separate license or authorization from Unity".

Unity said that developers should not have been affected by the ongoing dispute.

'The game engine provider Unity recently changed (Dec 5) and then clarified directly to us (9 Jan) their terms of service to specifically disallow services like Improbable's to function with their engine, ' claimed improbable in a blog post on the matter. At present, only games using both Unity and SpatialOS are at risk.

The move jeopardises all games built on SpatialOS and Unity, with at least one developer pulling their game offline until the dispute is resolved. If permanent, the license termination would be a significant blow to Improbable, which enables studios to host large online multiplayer games across multiple servers.

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From here, Improbable says that it will continue trying to solve this problem with Unity, with the ultimate goal being a reversal of this particular ToS change. Those developers would do well to visit Epic's Unreal Dev Grants webpage and anyone anxious about the controversy impacting their gaming should keep an eye on Improbable's blog. "Failing that, Unity must grant Improbable sufficient legal basis to protect its existing customers, or be honest with the community about the situation".

Business Insider has contacted Unity for comment. We'll update our stories when we hear more. 'We terminated our relationship with Improbable due to a failed negotiation with them after they violated our Terms of Service. "We've made it clear that anyone using SpatialOS will not be affected". Improbable also says it is continuing to talk to Unity in an effort to reverse the decision, though its license to work with the Engine has now been revoked.

The way Improbable told it this morning, Unity changed their Terms of Service last month and then, without warning, pulled the rug out from under them.

"Currently the lack of clarity in the Terms of Service for Unity - and the ambiguity created by their subsequent statements - places us and developers in a hard situation", says Improbable. "This is a unique case - and not a situation we take lightly - but Improbable left us no choice".

"If you want to run your Unity-based game-server, on your own servers, or a cloud provider that provides you instances to run your own server for your game, you are covered by our EULA", he explained.

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