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  • 01/10/19 04:11 PM

    Unity TOS Changes Impact Improbable's SpatialOS, Potentially Thousands of Devs

    News

    khawk
    • Posted By khawk

    Improbable announced today that all existing and in-development games using SpatialOS are now in breach of Unity's TOS. While the TOS was changed on December 5, 2018, Improbable received confirmation of breach on January 9. Improbable had just released the SpatialOS GDK for Unity around the same time as the TOS change.

    Improbable is taking steps to help all developers affected by this change, including:

    Quote

    Steps we’re taking: we also want to reaffirm our support for our incredible developer community and commit to the following:

    • Good faith: We will do everything in our power to solve this issue in good faith with Unity. The ideal outcome is a reversion of this terms change.
    • Development support: We will do everything in our power to help developers using SpatialOS with Unity to finish, release and operate their games.
    • Emergency fund:  We are setting up an emergency fund for partners who this action will leave in financial difficulty. Please contact us to discuss further.
    • Moving engine: Engine moves are always the last resort, but we and partner companies are working to resource a team to assist if you need to take this step. Please contact us, as this resource may be limited.
    • Reaching out:  Please contact us to see if we can help you or if you are concerned, we are also contacting many of you proactively.
    • Unity GDK will be fully MIT licensed. As a first step, we will be fully open-sourcing under the MIT license the code of our SpatialOS Game Development Kit for Unity, in case this assists individual customers. We will continue to support the GDKs to the best of our ability.

    But this change to the Unity TOS may have wider implications for developers in the Unity ecosystem.

    The clause in question is Section 2.4, which states:

    Quote

    2.4 Streaming and Cloud Gaming Restrictions.

    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. Without limiting the foregoing, you may not use a managed service running on cloud infrastructure (a “Managed Service”) or a specific integration of a binary add-on (for example, a plugin or SDK) or source code to be integrated in the Unity Software or Your Project Content incorporating the Unity Runtime (an “SDK Integration”) to install or execute the Unity Runtime on the cloud or a remote server, unless such use of the Managed Service or SDK Integration has been specifically authorized by Unity.  Additionally, you may not integrate the Unity Runtime with a Managed Service or  SDK Integration and offer that integration to third parties for the purpose of installing or using the Unity Runtime on the cloud or a remote server. For a list of Unity authorized streaming platforms, Managed Services and SDK Integrations, click here.This restriction does not prevent end users from remotely accessing your Project Content from an end user device that is running on another end user device.  You may not use a third party to directly or indirectly distribute or make available, stream, broadcast (through simulation or otherwise) any portion of the Unity Software unless that third party is authorized by Unity to provide such services.

    Specifically troubling for all Unity asset and service providers and developers is that Unity now prohibits "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...".

    Seeing as this applies to the Unity runtime and Project Content, this could mean that any kind of processing offload for entity state occurring on a server or cloud provider (such as SpatialOS) is no longer allowed. While Unity does provide an authorized list of streaming platforms, with these Terms in place, developers who planned to use Unity in any kind of distributed network capacity may find themselves in a difficult situation.

    Update:

    Comments from Epic's Tim Sweeney:

    Further comments from Sweeney:

    Update from Unity

    https://blogs.unity3d.com/2019/01/10/our-response-to-improbables-blog-post-and-why-you-can-keep-working-on-your-spatialos-game/

    Quote

    Partnering with technology companies is key to our approach in providing a robust game engine across many platforms. As such, we were excited to listen and explore ideas with Improbable when we started discussions more than two years ago. Unfortunately, Improbable chose an approach which doesn’t involve partnering with Unity, but instead involves making unauthorized and improper use of Unity’s technology and name in connection with the development, sale, and marketing of its own products.

    More from Improbable

    https://improbable.io/company/news/2019/01/10/an-update-on-todays-events

    Quote

    We hope some of the efforts of our team and partners have helped a little,  and we have plans on how we can do even more, which we hope to announce soon. Once again, please reach out if we can help in any way.

    But honestly, we don’t believe that today was about Unity or for that matter Improbable. Ultimately a commercial dispute between two companies, in which both sides have certainly made errors, should never threaten access to essential technology used by a large number of developers. A world where this happens frequently will be a world with very little innovation in gaming.

    We think this incident shows that, as an industry, we might need to consider making some changes which hugely increase the rate of innovation and the collective success we could all experience.

    Epic and Improbable Partner Up

     

    Edited by khawk



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    User Feedback




    23 minutes ago, Septopus said:

    Otherwise I'll be brushing up on my c++ too.... 

    Godot has had C# (via Mono) since late 2017. Microsoft sponsored adding that with $24k. I don't know how good Godot or its C# integration is but at least it's all MIT licensed so no one can ever pull the ToS rug from under you (unless they steal code from someone or violate patents or something else crazy).

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    6 hours ago, FRex said:

    And Unity is the only one not saying which clause, being vague and only engine vendor having this problem. Keep that in mind. :P

    There will be on going, and potential legal issues, from this which would limit what could be said - this is part of why the reply took 9 hours to happen as everything had to be vetted. (The other parts being the timing of the initial hit piece was such that SF, who deals with this stuff, was asleep and the employees at Unity also chimed in on the wording/direction of the reply blog.)

    2 hours ago, FRex said:

    https://improbable.io/company/news/2019/01/10/an-update-on-todays-events

    https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/blog/epic-games-and-improbable-working-together-for-developers

    And I still don't get what's Unity's problem. :ph34r:

    And some comments on Reddit and Unity forums are so factually wrong it's not even funny.

    It's worth keeping two things in mind with those blog posts above; 

    1. The 'update' was posted before Unity's reply... probably because it was late UK time and people wanted to go to bed. The "can't we all get along?!?" line is clear manipulation designed to clear them of wrong doing and at odds with the 2nd entry...
    2. A 'fund' doesn't just appear from no where - this would have been planned in advance with Epic, who obviously want Unity out of the market and more money from developers. 

    Unity's problem remains the same it has been for a year; the EULA was broken and an agreement wasn't reached. Improbable have keep their customers in the dark and used the twitter outrage factory to their advantage on this. (and, tbh, I'm applaud them, this is some top quality PR/emotional manipulation/outrage generating stuff to make them look like the victim here - which also takes good planning.)

    I'm disappointed, but not surprised, by Epic and Tim over this too, but business gotta business I guess... although clearly everyone has forgotten the time when Epic also changed their EULA to screw over Xamarin *after* Xamarin had already done most of the integration work... because the internet remembers; https://forums.unrealengine.com/unreal-engine/feedback-for-epic/25346-i-want-feedback-from-epic-about-mono-for-unreal-engine/page2?54595-I-want-Feedback-from-Epic-about-Mono-for-Unreal-Engine=&viewfull=1

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    FRex

    Posted (edited)

    1 hour ago, _the_phantom_ said:

    There will be on going, and potential legal issues, from this which would limit what could be said

    Where did you get that information from?

    Both Unity and Improbable act as if this is a completely done story (break ToS = lose license because it was given under that ToS) and disagree on the details (whether it was Improbable breaking ToS and spitting on hand Unity extended to try make a special deal about it a year ago or if it was Unity wanting more money for allowing a 'platform' to exist and updating ToS to kill it when they didn't get it).

    Improbable doesn't claim that it was illegal for Unity to retroactively update the ToS (just mean) and doesn't seem to want to sue/arbitrate and punishment for a ToS violation is revoking a license (as stated in the very ToS), not "legal issues".

    And if Unity is so sure and there was a violation a year ago then how would saying which point Improbable violated affect that?

     

    1 hour ago, _the_phantom_ said:

    this is part of why the reply took 9 hours to happen as everything had to be vetted.

    And despite that and claims by Unity that lawyers helped write the blog post there's tons of contradictions between the ToS and the blog post. Even using SpatialOS is forbidden by the ToS but allowed by the blog post.

     

    1 hour ago, _the_phantom_ said:

    The other parts being the timing of the initial hit piece was such that SF, who deals with this stuff, was asleep and the employees at Unity also chimed in on the wording/direction of the reply blog.

    Unity's piece is the only one that sounds like a hit piece here to me.

    Improbable is based in the UK so why should they care about day schedule of a company that is so hostile to them and based in SF? And Unity has like 5 or 6 branches in the EU!

    And it's Unity's license key revoking and ToS change that triggered this post about how using SpatialOS in your Unity game makes you violate the new 2.4.

    Did they expect Improbable to just stay silent and then planned to go after the developers of Unity SpatialOS MMOs one by one for violating new 2.4?

    Edited by FRex

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    On 1/10/2019 at 3:07 PM, Rutin said:

    I have a commercial game in production

    See now this has me all sorts of curious.  But I also respect if someone prefers their anonymity. 

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    On 1/11/2019 at 9:01 AM, FRex said:

    Where did you get that information from?

    I know far more about what is going on behind the scenes than I can tell unfortunately.

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