Unfortunately for some Unity devs, a recent spat between the engine's creators and the developers of SpatialOS (a cloud service used to create MMOs), Improbable, is putting their projects at risk.
Section 2.4 of Unity's software terms of service forbids streaming or broadcasting Unity software, including the Unity Runtime, if it's executed or simulated by a remote server and transmitted over any network to an end user device without a separate license from Unity.
Only time will tell how Unity's dispute with Improbable will proceed moving forward, but here's hoping the collateral damage won't be too significant.
The fallout from Unity TOS changes continues as Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, and Herman Narula, CEO of Improbable, pen a joint blog post to reaffirm their commitment to developers. Worse, it has left some live and in-development games in legal limbo.
Since its open beta release in 2017 (), SpatialOS has allowed developers to easily integrate mass-scale multiplayer into their games by running a persistent version of the game in the cloud.
Fingers crossed that it doesn't come to that, as I doubt many smaller MMO studios could afford a change in networking tech or engine late in development.
Other studios have taken a more cautious tone, such as Bossa Studios, the developers of Worlds Adrift.
The SpatialOS GDK provides a cloud platform to serve real-time multiplayer games. 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.
But Improbable can't be certain what the real issue is until it discusses the matter in depth with Unity, something that company plans to continue doing.
"We terminated our relationship with Improbable due to a failed negotiation with them after they violated our terms of service", said Ante.
Variety tried to contact Unity for comment and will update this story when we hear back.
If the license change remains in place, it could put developers off using SpatialOS in future. While the folks at Improbable also seemed unsure about this detail, Unity clarified in its blog post that SpatialOS projects that were live and in production would still be supported. "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".
This change to Unity's terms came on December 5, 2018, but wasn't clarified directly to Improbable until January 9, 2019.
An Improbable spokesman told Business Insider that it was hard to estimate the potential financial impact on the startup, but added that the situation with Unity was "unique". Projects that are now in production or live using SpatialOS are not affected by any actions we have taken with Improbable.
"If you want to run your Unity-based game-server, on your own servers, or a cloud provider that provides you instances to run your own server for your game, you are covered by our EULA", he explained.
The firm wrote "For now, we believe this unfortunate and counterproductive action to be an error in judgement or coordination failure within Unity".
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