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War of words heats up between Unity and Improbable

13 January, 2019, 23:25 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Unity White On Black

Updated Improbable, the UK-based maker of the SpatialOS Game Development Kit (GDK) for the Unity game engine, on Thursday warned that all Unity-based titles integrating its GDK are now violating Unity's Terms of Service.

Unity is well-known as one of the most popular cross-platform game engines. We have never communicated to any game developer that they should stop operating a game that runs using Improbable as a service. Then two weeks ago, Unity switched off Improbable's license keys, barring them access from the engine and stating that the developer "had left us no choice". "We are very concerned about this news, and hope it is some kind of mistake".

"Six months ago, we informed Improbable about the violation in writing", they said. Unity has, in an update to that post, said it is now working to make its TOS clearer. But in a odd 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.

Overnight, this is an action by Unity that has immediately done harm to projects across the industry, including those of extremely vulnerable or small scale developers and damaged major projects in development over many years. In, the game-engine company offered a clarification for any Unity game makers concerned about their use of SpatialOS: "Projects that are now in production or live using SpatialOS are not affected by any actions we have taken with Improbable", the blog post says.

"We are genuinely disappointed that we have been unable to come to an agreement with Improbable, and their improper use continued until we took the action we did". "To start, we just wanted to apologize to the incredible community of game developers we've seen engaging in discourse today", Improbable said. The decision imperils the operation of many in-development game projects, including some that have already been released to the public.


So, it seems that Improbable is now in a stand off with Unity until this whole debacle gets sorted out. Improbable released a second statement saying that both companies were at fault for the spat. While not taking responsibility for the chaos, the response went on to suggest that the gaming industry needs to rethink how it business is conducted between developers and content creators.

"We believe we are at the beginning of an unprecedented age of inclusive online games that become parts of our everyday lives", Epic chief Tim Sweeney wrote. We encourage others with a similar vision to reach out, so we can find ways to make it come sooner.

This money will be distributed via the long-running Unreal Dev Grants initiative, as well as in the form of Improbable developer assistance funds and Epic Games store funding.

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.

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