Dispute Between Unity, Cloud Service Shuts Down Some Online Games

World's Adrift

Bossa Studios' World's Adrift is still online for now

"Unity has clarified to us that this change effectively makes it a breach of terms to operate or create SpatialOS games using Unity, including in development and production games", the British company said in its post.

"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".

The letter acknowledges the spat between Unity and Improbable and hints that developers are "concerned" about the future of their games.

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. Improbable said Unity has hurt projects across the industry, particularly among smaller developers, leaving games in legal limbo. At present, only games using both Unity and SpatialOS are at risk. It'll also help developers change engines, which is a monumental task for pretty much any game. "To start, we just wanted to apologize to the incredible community of game developers we've seen engaging in discourse today", Improbable said. If permanent, the license termination would be a significant blow to Improbable, which enables studios to host large online multiplayer games across multiple servers. Unity then revoked Improbable's ability to continue working with their engine. 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.

Unity has since responded, saying Improbable's version of events is incorrect.

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Business Insider has contacted Unity for comment. 'We terminated our relationship with Improbable due to a failed negotiation with them after they violated our Terms of Service. But in a unusual twist, Unity released a statement (via Game Informer) saying that what Improbable was saying wasn't the whole story: they knew about their violations months ago, and Unity only took action because of Improbable's inaction.

Hopefully we'll hear from those companies soon, confirming that everything is safe and secure for developers on that side of the fence.

The future of several MMOs using SpatialOS cloud server tech is in question over a dispute between Unity Technologies and SpatialOS studio Improbable.

This change to Unity's terms came on December 5, 2018, but wasn't clarified directly to Improbable until January 9, 2019. Projects that are now in production or live using SpatialOS are not affected by any actions we have taken with Improbable. 'This is a unique case - and not a situation we take lightly - but Improbable left us no choice, ' Ante claims. "This was the only course of action to protect the integrity and value of our technology and Unity developers".

We now hope Unity will seek to engage with us to solve this issue.

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