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Unity Updates Its Terms of Service, Reinstates Improbable’s Licenses

Updated: Unity Technologies updated its Terms of Service (ToS) Wednesday morning, nearly a week after its public spat with SpatialOS developer Improbable. The developer is no longer in breach of the ToS and its licenses are reinstated, it said in a blog post.

Last week, Unity reportedly changed its Terms of Service to specifically disallow cloud platform services like SpatialOS from functioning with its game engine, a move that potentially jeopardized numerous massively multiplayer online games. Unity then revoked Improbable’s licenses, saying the developer was in breach of the ToS.

Later that same day, Improbable formed a partnership with Epic Games, creator of the Unreal game engine. The two announced a joint fund of $25 million USD to assist developers affected by Unity’s ToS changes.

Unity claimed Improbable misrepresented its affiliation with the company and violated its ToS even before the changes occurred. But, it said developers can continue using SpatialOS to create and ship games even though it’s not a supported third-party service.

“Our ToS update on Dec. 5 was an attempt to define what our terms mean for the cloud and an opportunity to make our business model clearer,” Unity said. “After listening to developers, we realized how this language came across, and how it would impact your ability to choose.”

“When you make a game with Unity, you own the content and you should have the right to put it wherever you want. Our TOS didn’t reflect this principle – something that is not in line with who we are.”

While Unity said it’s currently working to create and integrate its own services, it won’t stop developers from using competitive third-party ones as well. It also plans to host ToS changes on Github going forward to give developers full transparency about what changes are happening and when.

Variety reached out to Improbable for comment on this latest development. It said, “We are glad that Unity Technologies has done the right thing by making Unity an open platform. We now have access to our Unity licenses again, and can provide full support to developers building games with Unity and SpatialOS. We are confident that this situation will not arise again.”

Improbable also said it will continue to update SpatialOS to work with Unity and it believes the best thing for developers would be for the two companies to formally partner up. It hopes to discuss such a partnership in the future.

“We would like to move forward positively, and would also like to note that what we think is an incredibly positive thing came out of the events of the last week,” it said. “The three largest third-party engine makers in the games industry have now confirmed that developers should be able to host engines wherever they want in the cloud. This is a key step, technologically, towards making the next generation of virtual worlds possible.”

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