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Epic Games And Improbable Announce $25 Million Fund for Devs Hit by Unity Changes

Epic Games and Improbable have announced a joint fund of $25 million USD to assist developers affected by apparent changes to Unity’s terms of service.

The new $25 million joint fund will come out of a number of different sources, including Unreal Dev Grants, Improbable developer assistance funds, and Epic Games store funding, according to a statement released Thursday evening by Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney and Improbable CEO Herman Narula.

This follows recent reports from Improbable that Unity’s new terms of service disallows services like Improbable’s SpatialOS from functioning with the game engine, putting projects which use both SpatialOS and Unity at risk.

“Recent changes by Unity to their terms of service have raised concerns among developers about their future ability to choose freely among engines, middleware SDKs, stores, and cloud service providers,” reads the joint statement. “Worse, it has left some live and in-development games in legal limbo.”

“Epic Games’ partnership with Improbable, and the integration of Improbable’s cloud-based development platform SpatialOS, is based on shared values, and a shared belief in how companies should work together to support mutual customers in a straightforward, no-surprises way,” the statement continues.

“We believe we are at the beginning of an unprecedented age of inclusive online games that become parts of our everyday lives. Enabling this will take much more than Epic or Improbable; it will take a vastly more mature, broad-based industry to enable this future: a community of companies connected by values such as fair and openly disclosed business terms, respect for developer choice, and full interoperability between platforms, software, and services. We encourage others with a similar vision to reach out, so we can find ways to make it come sooner.”

Earlier on Thursday, Improbable published a blog post highlighting a change in Clause 2.4 of Unity’s terms of service which specifies “all existing SpatialOS games using Unity, including production games and in development games of all developers, are now in breach of Unity’s license terms.”

“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. This was previously freely possible in their terms, as with other major engines,” the post reads. “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.”

“In addition, Unity has revoked our ability to continue working with the engine for breaching the newly changed terms of service in an unspecified way. This will affect our ability to support games.”

Unity released an official statement of its own on Thursday refuting some of Improbable’s claims. According to the company, Unity states it terminated its relationship with Improbable after the developer violated its terms of service and negotiation failed. However, it stresses that anyone using SpatialOS will not be affected.

Spilt Milk Studios, which uses both Unity and SpatialOS for its sci-fi MMO “Lazarus” temporarily shut down its servers on Thursday. “We’re not quite sure what’s going on,” the studio tweeted. “We were told that access to the servers would be revoked by 2:30 p.m. today, but it seems that’s not the case. Until either the servers are forced down or we’re told to turn them off, we’ll keep ‘Lazarus’ live.”

Bossa Studios’ “Worlds Adrift” also uses both platforms, but said it’s currently “operating as normal.”

Variety has reached out to Improbable for comment.

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