[Update] Unity Changes Terms of Service to Block SpatialOS Tool from Improbable

World's Adrift

World's Adrift

So while Unity says that the TOS changes don't affect individual game developers with live or in-production SpatialOS games, Improbable says that, with its Unity access cut off, it is no longer able to legally support those projects, fix Unity-centric bugs, or improve the service for those devs.

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 previous year.

Improbable placed the blame squarely on Unity, and said the change could leave game creators in a hard situation financially. "We are very concerned about this news, and hope it is some kind of mistake".

Buzzy British game tech startup Improbable says its cloud gaming platform has been blocked by Unity.

View the full blog post here. Though the terms of service were changed on December 5, Improbable says Unity confirmed directly to them this week that the update "specifically disallow [s] services like Improbable's to function with their engine".

The developer community has been thrown into chaos after Unity changed its Terms of Service to render all games made with Improbable's SpatialOS in breach of Unity's licence, before Epic Games stepped in to announce it would partner with Improbable to create an open integration between SpatialOS and the Unreal Engine. Projects that are now in production or live using SpatialOS are not affected by any actions we have taken with Improbable.

The problems with the new ToS may also go beyond the SpatialOS system, as noted by Flying Oak Games developer Thomas Altenburger on Twitter, meaning hundreds of games are now in legal jeopardy for violating the new terms of service.

"Something that this has really brought home to us is if you're a developer or independent studio, it's not great to be vulnerable to changes in licensing agreements, especially if you've already invested significant time or resources into developing a game", Griffiths explained.

Variety tried to contact Unity for comment and will update this story when we hear back.

So, it seems that Improbable is now in a stand off with Unity until this whole debacle gets sorted out.

Improbable then responded to Unity's response apologizing for the confusion and uncertainty.

This caused a ripple effect in the gaming industry, as developers who used SpatialOS quickly began taking their games down from the market.

Every cloud has a silver lining (bravo - ed.), and Epic Games has leapt into the fray with the formation of a $25 million fund, created in partnership with Improbable, which it claims will be provided 'to assist developers who are left in limbo by the new engine and service incompatibilities that were introduced today [and] help developers transition to more open engines, services, and ecosystems' - primarily, of course Epic's own Unreal Engine, which is a direct competitor to Unity. Funds will be made available through Dev Grants, Improbable assistance funds and "Epic Games store funding".

"We believe we are at the beginning of an unprecedented age of inclusive online games that become parts of our everyday lives", the letter reads. We'll see what happens from here, so stay tuned.

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