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Improbable calls for Unity to clarify TOS in wake of SpatialOS dev concerns

Improbable calls for Unity to clarify TOS in wake of SpatialOS dev concerns

January 11, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

SpatialOS developer Improbable has published “a final statement on SpatialOS and Unity” with the goal of summarizing the last day’s worth of public back-and-forth between it and Unity. In the post, the company calls for Unity to clarify recent changes to its Terms of Service that have seemingly put Unity-based games that utilize SpatialOS at risk.

The post, which can be read in its entirety on Improbable’s website, reiterates its original argument that changes to Unity’s Terms of Service make it so that any owner or user of a managed service (like SpatialOS in this case) can be potentially found in breach of Unity’s terms, despite Unity's informal assurances that this is not the case.

Improbable has already been found in violation of Unity’s terms (a violation the company refutes in this latest post) and had its Unity licenses revoked as a result. So while Unity says that the TOS changes don’t affect individual game developers with live or in-production SpatialOS games, Improbable says that, with its Unity access cut off, it is no longer able to legally support those projects, fix Unity-centric bugs, or improve the service for those devs.

Unity’s post from yesterday (published in response to Improbable’s original notice) outlines why the company says SpatialOS devs don’t need to be concerned with the falling out between the two companies, but, as Improbable argues now, the actual text of the TOS offers none of those same assurances. Unity has, in an update to that post, said it is currently working to make its TOS clearer.

“Currently the lack of clarity in the Terms of Service for Unity - and the ambiguity created by their subsequent statements - places us and developers in a difficult situation,” says Improbable. “We urgently need clarity in order to move forward.” 

Improbable goes on to note that it does not have technical arrangements with other engine makers like Crytek and Epic Games, and that commercial arrangement should not be prerequisite for services to run as intended. 

“Our preference would be that Unity simply adopts industry standard practice and allows platforms to host the engine as was the case before the change in Terms of Service. Failing that, Unity must grant Improbable sufficient legal basis to protect its existing customers, or be honest with the community about the situation.”

Meanwhile, Improbable has teamed up with Epic Games to open a $25 million fund dedicated to helping SpatialOS developers "left in limbo by the new engine and service incompatibilities" introduced by the Unity/Improbable falling out migrate from Unity to Unreal Engine.

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