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Our response to Improbable’s blog post (and why you can keep working on your SpatialOS game)

, 10 января, 2019

Improbable published a blog post regarding their relationship with Unity earlier today. Improbable’s blog is incorrect.

We terminated our relationship with Improbable due to a failed negotiation with them after they violated our Terms of Service.

We’ve made it clear that anyone using SpatialOS will not be affected.

Projects that are currently in production or live using SpatialOS are not affected by any actions we have taken with Improbable.

If a game developer runs a Unity-based game server on their own servers or generic cloud instances (like GCP, AWS or Azure), they are covered by our EULA.

We have never communicated to any game developer that they should stop operating a game that runs using Improbable as a service.

If you are using SpatialOS, please contact us directly at or visit so we can address your questions and resolve your problems.

What happened and why?

Partnering with technology companies is key to our approach in providing a robust game engine across many platforms. As such, we were excited to listen and explore ideas with Improbable when we started discussions more than two years ago. Unfortunately, Improbable chose an approach which doesn’t involve partnering with Unity, but instead involves making unauthorized and improper use of Unity’s technology and name in connection with the development, sale, and marketing of its own products.

More than a year ago, we told Improbable in person that they were in violation of our Terms of Service or EULA. Six months ago, we informed Improbable about the violation in writing. Recent actions did not come as a surprise to Improbable; in fact, they’ve known about this for many months.

Two weeks ago we took the action of turning off Improbable’s Unity Editor license keys. This is a unique case — and not a situation we take lightly — but Improbable left us no choice. This was the only course of action to protect the integrity and value of our technology and Unity developers.

We believe that even though Improbable is violating our EULA, game developers should never pay the price for that. We have been clear with Improbable that games currently in production and/or games that are live are unaffected, and we would have expected them to be honest with their community about this information. Unfortunately, this information is misrepresented in Improbable’s blog.

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. Despite this fact, we can assure developers that they will be able to continue development while we resolve our dispute. We are committed to ensuring that developers will receive support for any outstanding questions or issues as we work through this problem.

If you are using SpatialOS, please contact us directly at or visit so we can address your questions and resolve your problems.

You changed your terms of service too, what’s that about?

From time to time, Unity will update its Terms of Service (TOS) to reflect how we run our business and address questions from our partners and customers. In December, we made clarifications to our Streaming and Cloud Gaming Restrictions because we received requests for clarification as the industry is evolving quickly.

At the core, the Streaming and Cloud Gaming Restrictions terms are still the same as before. We received feedback that the language was ambiguous, so we updated our Terms of Service to be clear on our distribution and streaming restrictions. We will continue to listen to the community and clarify as we can.

From a technical standpoint, this is what our clarification on our TOS means: 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. We will support you as long as the server is running on a Unity supported platform.

As an example, if you have made a Windows or Linux player build of your game to be an authoritative game server and run that on a server in-house, you can continue to develop, publish or operate your game as usual. If you rent a server or pay for a cloud instance to run the game, you can continue to develop, publish or operate your game as usual.

However, if a third party service wants to run the Unity Runtime in the cloud with their additional SDK, we consider this a platform. In these cases, we require the service to be an approved Unity platform partner. These partnerships enable broad and robust platform support so developers can be successful. We enter into these partnerships all the time. This kind of partnership is what we have continuously worked towards with Improbable.

Update: We understand there are still some questions about our TOS. We’re currently working to make the TOS clearer. If you are worried about your particular situation please write to and we’ll address your question.

Update (Friday 4:30PM Pacific): We’ll continue working over the weekend to clarify the language to make our intention as clear as possible rather than rushing and adding to the confusion. Rest assured we will never do anything that works against the better interest of developers. We’ll have an update in the next few days. Thank you for your patience.

255 replies on “Our response to Improbable’s blog post (and why you can keep working on your SpatialOS game)”

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Looks like SpatialOS is supported again. Awesome! Not sure what changed behind the scenes, Unreal may have helped move the needle, but I don’t think this was a case of Unity being right or wrong before, more of a case of Unity reevaluating it’s motivation. Unity is a large company, and it’s problems are of a much different nature today than they were yesterday, very good problems to have. It’s best for them to remember when they were less successful, and just be glad to have so many people on board and find creative ways to allow more people to join in the fun.

The developer crowd is a lot different than your typical crowd, and it’s good to remind Unity that this community values different things than many communities. Unity listens. They should rethink their policies from time to time to allow developers to offer as many services as possible without too much red tape and money changing hands. Unity is a generous, awesome, forward thinking company, but most importantly, they keep listening to the community.

I have been developing a game with unity for almost two years now. It being a multiplayer game that uses dedicated hosting on aws im very concerned about these developments as the new tos could be interpreted to put my game in breach of the tos. This would basically end my project as porting to another engine would be far to time consuming. I am really really disapointed here with unity about this. Especially in light that they are partnering with google for thier own cloud service. A bit underhanded really.

How is this going on? I just was going to try SpatialOS with unity, I dont really think that migrate to unreal or other tool is the right way, but also SpatialOS is looking good. What do you think guys about this??

Except that AMA’s, blog posts, forum posts and the such do not constitute any form of legal recourse when it comes to terms made in legally binding TOS. So it doesn’t matter what anyone from Unity says is okay or not to worry about, until that TOS is changed no one should blindly take their word for anything. It wont stand up in any legal matter when it comes to TOS enforcement and contracts.

While you are reviewing the ToS could someone please explain the specifics of Section 3: Consent to Data collection? Is Unity actually collecting random and arbitrary information from end users of software Unity developers create? Is that even legal in most countries?

3.1 Data Collection
You acknowledge and accept Unity’s privacy policy. You agree that the Unity Software (including the Unity runtime in your Project Content) may send data to Unity to: (a) check for Unity Software updates; (b) provide aggregated usage statistics of your use of the Unity Software and the use of your Project Content by end users; (c) provide optional Developer Services; and (d) validate seats in order to prevent unauthorized use. You acknowledge and agree that Unity may deliver messages and contact you about the Unity Software and other Unity product and service offerings.

3.2 Obligations
You agree, and will ensure by obtaining all required consents in accordance with applicable law, that Unity has the right to receive, collect, retain and use data collected from your end users in accordance with Unity’s privacy policy, which may be updated from time to time.

In the spirit of full disclosure, after doing more research specifically on the «Additional ToS» and Unity’s «Privacy Policy» They call out very clearly that this is being done and the onus is on the the developer to provide the appropriate notification and controls around advising clients.

This does not necessarily make it legal to do so but I am no lawyer and suggest developers ensure they are aligned with privacy laws covering the jurisdiction their software operates out of.

Additionally, in regards to GDRP and other privacy concerns there is now a «Unity Data Privacy Plugin» that developers can utilize to mitigate a portion of the privacy liability.

It appears in the free version of Unity prior to 2018.3 there may not be an ability to turn off the hardware data collection but I havent confirmed that yet. So a heads up to developers distributing apps with the free version of Unity, be aware of the privacy laws governing your app and if in breach upgrade to Unity Pro licensing to turn off the Hdw data collection until Unity provides a way for the free versions to disable it.

I largely agree with AlbertA’s posts further below. I personally don’t have a stake in Improbable’s tech and it really doesn’t matter at this point whose version of events is true; what matters is I expected better from Unity. As an indie developer I don’t have time and the resources to investigate the legal arrangement between Unity and every integration provider out there. All I need to know is, and I can’t overstate how crucial this is, when I see the Unity name and logo on a service provider’s integration list, I won’t get burnt by a spat like this.

«More than a year ago, we told Improbable in person that they were in violation of our Terms of Service or EULA.»
If this isn’t one huge admission of guilt, I don’t know what is. You knew they were in violation for over a year, and you let them use your name and logo on their website. When developers went ahead and promoted high profile projects built on SpatialOS and yours, you knew they were in violation and you stayed silent. You let Improbable maintain the image that this was a happy relationship between the two platforms and that developers could come on board safely. A year is more than enough time for a studio to hitch their raft to a sinking boat. You should have acted a lot sooner and compelled them to yank all Unity brand elements off their website.

And the promise that live games or games in production can still run? You know full well how handicapped those games will be, being tied to a platform that can no longer receive backend upgrades. And if Improbable decides to fold as a result because they are now shut out of a huge portion of the market? Those games are still royally screwed.

Again I’m not defending Improbable, in case anybody decides to point out to me how shady those guys are. Yeah, they messed up big time too, but they are not my business partner. Unity is. And I really expected a lot better from Unity.

This is the main issue. From a user’s perspective, Unity’s response is basically “we won’t sue you as a game developer” while doing nothing to let us know how to identify services that are safe to use alongside Unity.

It feels like Unity is becoming an engine only for students and hobbyists that do not need to rely upon third-party development tools.

— They will change the TOS whenever necessary.
I sure hope so.
I’d rather not work with a party that changes the TOS when it’s not necessary, or worse, that does not change it when it is necessary.

…whenever neccesary for them to make money off it. Untiy simply can’t be trusted. They already had one strike against them for casino games (look up that pricing model for a laugh). Now they are trying to get extra money from companies that don’t even develop the games.

«Unity simply can’t be trusted.»
Well then by that logic, Epic REALLY can’t be trusted then either. The reason they went and backed Improbable was purely an opportunistic move. They could have been civil and stayed out of this, but they saw an opportunity to simultaneously capitalize on the situation while making Unity look bad and they went for it. I don’t respect them at all for doing that. Kind of a dick move. Though for the record, I trust *any* company trying to make a profit to look out for themselves over their clients. It’s naive to think otherwise.

It’s all about money. Unity wanted a piece of the lucrative pie and when Improbable didn’t roll over and hand it over to them Unity did a backhanded move by revoking their licenses (holding them hostage basically) and altering the TOS retroactively to not only sink Improbable’s growth in Unity dev’s but prevent its complete use from a legal EULA standpoint.

I guess the difference is:
— Other cloud providers: «You can run your engine on our system»
— Improbable: «We will run your engine for you»

I have known and used Unity since 2008. And I can say for a fact that they care about their developers and would not deliberately go out of their way to pull off a move like this out of sheer greed. Here’s a bit of history for the new comers here:

— This is the same Unity that changed their business model in 2010 so that everyone could have access to some version of the engine
— It’s the same Unity that tried to bend over backwards to create a pathway to develop on IOS after apple changed their TOS regarding middleware-built apps for the platform.
— It is the same Unity that decided to make all features on the engine available to all license tiers.
— It is the same Unity that went ahead and supported flash because heck a bunch of us still wanted to target a sinking ship.
— This is the same Unity that even after changing their licensing model, (and subsequently got a bunch of us pissed off) Listened to its users and eventually found a middle ground that ended up working out.
— This was the same Unity that changed the rules of the game dev industry to the point that it forced UE to get off its high horse and make a more indie-friendly engine with an indie-friendly business model.

I could go on but I think you get the point…
There have been countless times where Unity has always come through for the community and in spite of the fact that they have grown as I company, they are as community driven as ever (Yes, even if a former EA boss is at the helm). And for those thinking John R. is responsible, take a look at who wrote the post; He is one of the 3 original founders. So before you call Unity greedy for making this move, take a good look as where we’ve been and how far we’ve come.

Obviously I do not have the full context regarding this whole ToS debacle (And neither does anyones else here). What I do have is Unity’s track record over the last 10 years. Not sure I can say the same for SpatialOS

I’m not sure we are ever going to know the truth about this. I suspect that Unity could not legally prove Improbable were breaking the TOS, thus after two years negotiating with Improbable they changed the TOS. The knee jerk reaction releasing the new TOS is utter crap, for instance is contains the phrase ‘You may not use a third party to directly or indirectly distribute or make available, stream, broadcast (through simulation or otherwise) any portion of the Unity Software unless that third party is authorized by Unity to provide such services.’. Legally this means that you cant use any third party not on their list to distribute games/apps developed with Unity. However none of the normal app stores (Apple, Google, Amazon, Steam, Discord) are included in the list of approved third parties. You can’t include streaming services such as Youtube, Twitch, etc unless such third party services are included on the list, they aren’t.
However I also think Improbable have deliberately worded their press release to create a back lash against Unity and have done that knowing they have the backing of Epic. Hope a clearer TOS is released soon.

‘You may not use a third party to directly or indirectly distribute or make available, stream, broadcast (through simulation or otherwise) any portion of the Unity Software unless that third party is authorized by Unity to provide such services.’

Yes this is the mother of all alarm ringing bells!

You have to have a license to profit from Unity’s hard work… I thought Unity was a charity. This isn’t Linus Torvald who’s cool with people making billions on his hard work. What about that bit of the TOS is different from anyone else? It makes perfect sense to me. You don’t have free access to their IP, you need to have permission and a license to profit from their IP. What about that is wrong? Go develop on an open source engine.

Ok then.
That would mean that you are locked in a Unity eco system where they dictate where you can distribute your binaries.
And they can change that retroactively whenever they feel so.

Sounds not more like Democratizing game development. More like Dictating game development.

Yeah, dude…that’s how it works. Just as Ford and Mercedes authorize certain repair shops to honor their warranties, Unity authorizes certain servers to host their software. Don’t like it? Build your own platform and give it away for nothing.

Difference is, I can still get anyone else to repair my car, just not under warranty. Under these terms I have no other option whatsoever than Unity approved partners. That’s somewhat anti-competitive.

@Lyje — nope…your warranted would be voided and you’d lose the ability to make any future claims. It could even preclude your from getting repairs from voluntary recalls.

I get it, technically Unity is probably in the right. However the amount of negative will in the community this may cause could cost more then the Spacial OS improved deal could make. People will switch as a result of this. The amount of downstream revenue lost could be huge.

«Could be», «can be», etc etc

The answer is no, because only one company among countless Unity has worked with on a partner basis has ever kicked up a fuss, and anyone else in business watching, knows that’s really not the done thing. You let lawyers work it out.

The fact is a Unicorn company with very little actual raw business experience is taking it all public because they built their entire business on Unity and now refuse to pay despite knowingly infringing the EULA in such a way to avoid partner licensing.

For anyone watching, there is only one company to avoid doing business with, and that’s the company that *didn’t* rely on lawyers to solve it. You have to wonder why.

Thank you Hippo! Crazy that the people that have been in the game making scene here the longest all seem to agree where the fault lies while the vast majority of the game making community blame Unity. I don’t really even understand how people are falling for this. Unity is guilty of having an unclear, tough to decipher ToS for the article in question. But I see no fault outside that and that’s no reason to freak out or switch.
I keep reading people saying that Unity screwed over their developers. The burden falls on improbable to ensure that they are in compliance with their license agreement. I believe they were actively aware that they were not in compliance but even if they weren’t they should have looked into it and warned their developers that they were at risk. Instead they ignored unity at the peril of their users and then posted a public fear mongering post that if they were truly concerned about they should have reached out to unity privately and got the facts straight before sending the community into a panic. I mean, their false report led to one of their biggest developers shutting down their game (albeit temporarily). So when people say Unity did wrong by dev’s, i’m like….. what? Unity has earned it’s amazing reputation these past 14 years (or at least the 12 I’ve been around for) and have done more to democratize game making than any other company in the history of the industry. They dont deserve these scars.

And honestly, I really like SpacialOS and I’ve had no reason to dislike Improbable, although I have heard some unsubstantiated passing assertions that they’ve had previous shady business dealings. I’m not sure what any of that was in reference to so if anyone has any ideas or sources I would love to see it.

I hate conspiracy theories and all that but when I put my tinfoil hat on and look at this whole Epic thing, I have some serious concerns. To prefix, I want to say that although unity is very much my engine of choice for the majority of my projects, I am still a big fan of the Unreal Engine and an even bigger fan of Epic games. I’ve been in the business and corporate world for the majority of my life and know how these sorts of things go. To suggest that Epic and Improbable got in communication, got the right people together, decided to start a fund, cleared all of the red tape, set aside 24 million dollars, and announced their intent all in 8 hours is…well… improbable. It would hands down be the fastest decision and deal of anywhere near that magnitude I’ve ever heard of. A program like that would reasonably take 3 months to a year easily and there is no way the companies would even want to announce it same day it was conceptualized as that would leave no time for proper framing or marketing. I get that they would want to shotgun a program like this to piggy back off the ill will being directed at a major competitor, but I just don’t see how it’s possible in 8 hours. I really can’t wait to learn more because as much as I don’t want to believe it I kind of speculate that either epic offered a lot of money to have exclusivity or there was some other reason improbable wanted to move away from unity; Like say not wanting to pay their affiliate program fees. This event let’s improbable step away from unity ass they take all of the blame even though it was improbable that left their developers out to dry.

I love to catch up with you again hippo as I think the last time we really chatted was in like 2011. I’ll hit you up with a pm.

For years Unity has done their best to be fair to developers and the community and have listened and made adjustments. Even through all of this Unity will still try to help the community of developers and artists they have built. Also I agree with Kyle LeMaster. It seems really shady that a $25million deal could have been put together that fast.

My prediction and opinion after reading all the posts: Improbable gets sued for libel and any partnership with Epic will crumble as Epic will not wish to be associated with them due to potential future liabilities.

While I appreciate Unity and won’t say that this would cause me to jump ship, I think the developer crowd is a lot different than your typical crowd. And it’s good to remind Unity that this community values different things than many communities. Unity listens. We need to let our voices be heard, and let them know that while they haven’t lost their faithful customers, they are losing some, and their reputation isn’t set in stone. When it comes to forcing companies to pay more and more to play, yes it’s good for Unity, and yes it allows them to have more money to spend on engine development, but there has to be a balance. And there will be other engines that understand the needs of this kind of community and what we value, and to rethink your policies from time to time to allow developers to offer as many services as possible without too much red tape and money changing hands. Thank goodness for competition and capitalism, because as generous as Unity is, without anybody else, it’s too easy for large, wonderful, successful companies to stop listening.

Probably cus none of them were worth a few billions so Unity asks for reasonable rates, not tens of millions for doing nothing. «What a nice cloud you have, would be a shame if something were to happen to it». Their CEO is the same guy who «earned» EA the title of most hated company in USA for nickle and diming people and weird crap like «always online, technically required and impossible to not have in the game DRM» for SimCity that made people unable to play on release. Look him up.

And yeah Adam, you are totally right. Regardless of who is truly at fault here unity is definitely taking the brunt of the blame. Having followed this situation closely from Improbables initial post, I very much believe that they are totally in the wrong and part of me thinks this character assassination was intentional. Regrettably it is true that unity’s terms of service at least for the article in question is confusing at best even after the December 5th clarification. On fortunately we seem to live in a time Where people seem to get very passionate and in trenched in an idea and become on willing to entertain new information. Improbable made the claims that they did and It took unity too long to respond. I personally appreciate their patience and that they spent the time to consider the situation but public opinion had already ruled against them. Honestly when I 1st read the blog post and then amediately hopped on various forms and reddit, I was definitely giving both companies the benefit of the doubt and was urging for patience, But it seemed to me that unity was indeed at fault. Once more information became available and with just the general handling of it it became clear to me that that wasn’t the case. Then you have all of these articles coming out by so called journalists who had taken the inaccurate information improbable presented and further reinforced it Then slapped sensational titles on it and Dammed unity in the process The bulk of the articles and even the impression I got from improbables blog was that unity had changed their terms of service that very same day and had informed improbable that the games using their system would be brought down. It turns out that this all came from improbable and their biggest developer shut down their game due to the allegations improbable was suggesting. It makes me sick to my stomach that people are saying unity is dangerous to developers. Improbable is the one who did not ensure that their product was in compliance and failed to inform their customers of the risks and then we’re the ones that caused the panic without looking into the situation. When you look at all of that together it really makes me feel that this was an intentional move by improbable.

So, hypothetically speaking, let’s say I create a service which does nothing more than take a zip file a developer has uploaded, install it on a cloud server, and execute it. Internally, we check for some common metrics we could use to collect user data, something like Steam API, but we don’t enforce that on the developer. They give us a zip file, and a command line to run, and we run it and provide the scalability(launching and shutting down instances) on our side. Would we be in violation of the Terms and Conditions then? At what point does it become a platform on its own?

In this situation, there’s a few problems with that. I’m no lawyer though, so maybe someone could clarify.

The first problem is that the hypothetical provider may never have accepted the terms and conditions. It is possible that they have never had to run Unity because they are simply providing an abstracted layer.

The second problem is that there is, in essence, an API that «could» be used so it would be borderline on the definition of a platform, however, the API is not required.

It should not be a problem I think. As long as its not using the Unity runtime (I think this is where the problem stems from). A lot of people say that Improbable uses the Unity runtime on the backend as well. But I’m not sure how true this is.

I’ll try to be very clear as I hope this message to be read by some from the Unity staff. I also want to advise Unity to be careful with the allegations about being an «isolated case» or not «affecting game developers». This whole Improbable vs Unity situation caught me at the beginning of the production cycle of a series of plugin for Unity to support my game development. As most indie game developers, I had to make several sacrifices to be able to achieve my dream job. I’m a professional software developer almost a decade now and I don’t have the naivete of young game developers. I also had my fair share of contracts and EULA to deal with. Now that I explained my context, I will be crystal clear about what I see:

For all I know, I don’t really care if Improbable is at fault or not. I feel very sorry for the developers of SpatialOS for Unity and the games using the GDK, but I’m worried about the way Unity is dealing with this situation. First, I don’t feel comfortable committing to use a development environment by a company with a EULA without any safeguards against arbitrary changes. I’m learning Unity for the past year and when I read this news I suddenly realized I was running into a dire situation if it was the case. I don’t care specifically about THIS change in the EULA. What I want is to be contractually safe to do my work without the fear of some high executive from Unity screwing my years of works. I had chosen Unity as my game engine, now I’m not sure and as a solo developer, I cannot have the luxury of lose so much time and resources. If this changes, I would be very glad to return. I really liked the engine, but I have to pay my bills and this kind of unsafe legalese is the worst of troubles.

Second, I was sure Unity was known for its close relationship with the developers. If this «Improbable» situation (pun intended) was brewing since a year ago, Why it ended this way? The GDK users are your clients too. As several other comments had reiterated, with this license shut down, It is very bizarre to expect them to be able to continue the services and fix bugs.

For any way I try to figure what happened, I cannot cease to think you neglected your users and crafted a messy EULA to be signed with blood to say the least. Also, all this situation make me and several other developers see Unity as bully and shady. I don’t if it is true and I’m not accusing without knowing the «real» story. But Unity is at fault for being opaque and obtuse as a company. I sure continue to admire the beauty of the engine and the awesome individuals working on it, but I cannot stay with the rotten smell this situation left in the air.

Hi Albert!

Glad you’ve been enjoying the engine. I don’t work for Unity, but I have been using it since 2007. Unity has always had a well earned reputation for being incredibly developer focused and has done more to democratize game making then any other company. I’ve never witnessed them pull the rug out from anyone. I understand your concerns, but I think much of it stems from misinformation.

Firstly, it’s important to note the ToS’s intent did not change. As far as Unity was concerned, Improbable was always in violation, and Unity made them aware of that (or at least attempted to). On December 5th, after also sending written notice to Improbable, Unity modified the language of their ToS to hopefully clarify. I think in that, they failed. In fact, I’d say the new language is worse allowing one to interprete the article in question even more broadly. This is unfortunate and I hope they correct it soon.

Poor and confusing language aside, I’ve never witnessed Unity make any changes to their EULA or ToS that would harm developers. Unity only exists because of their awesome community of developers, and they know it! This was another company who was making money off of Unity’s product and name who declined to make an agreement. According to Unity, Improbable was informed over a year ago that they were not in compliance and by extension, neither were their users. They decided not to inform their customers of that fact and allowed them to continue paying for their product while not disclosing the risks. Unity has allowed the developers to continue their efforts despite the utilization of non-compliant middle-ware. So who is really more dev friendly? Remember, it was Improbable that decide to make a public blog post about the situation without speaking to Unity that caused a game to be shut down, tarnished Unitys reputation, and caused mass panic. Yes, Unity did shut down their editor licensees for the time being, but only after they were ignored for over a year and could not come to an agreement.

It’s so unfortunate that unity has taken such a negative hit on public perception for this as I don’t believe it’s deserved. They’ve earned my trust and i’ll continue to give it to them. I hate to get into speculation territory, but I feel like there is more to this. Especially given the Epic / Improbable announcement of a $24 million fund. I’ve never heard of a program like that being drafted, agreed on, and announced in just a matter of 8 hours or so. Most desicions like that in business take weeks or months to be determined. A bit of me wonders if Improbable, wanting to exit Unity or force them to allow SpatialOS without paying, and knowing that Unity composes a bulk of their users, manufactured this situation in order to maintain positive perception. Alright, I hate conspiracy theory ctap, so i’ll stop there until we know more :)

Just wanted you to know my experience with Unity and why I think you have nothing to fear. It’s an amazing engine, made by some amazing people, with an amazing community. Now if they would just clean up that ToS

Thank you for the kind reply. I really appreciate the time you took to clarify your view of the situation as a developer. I don’t think I have all the pieces of the puzzle to say if Unity or Improbable are right. What I can clearly see is the fact both sides made a fine mess in this situation. I found difficult to believe Unity couldn’t take a more light-handed approach. The problem is not in the facts, these we may never know for sure, but in the perception of the situation. In the end, the price will be paid by the developers, even the ones directly affected. Maybe Unity could simply have made this sharp move months ago.

Epic is not a red cross charity house, but the sole fact I have to side them in their d*ck move was the need for explicit safeguards on EULA and TOS for all levels of use. For example, retroactive use rights face contractual changes. Sure Unity may not have done anything harsh before, but this situation shows the fragility of the legal side of their business. I want to make a bold proposal and I would be very glad if someone from Unity could say something to us:

Maybe Unity should be the one to make the move Epic hinted (but I doubt they will do) to organize the game frameworks users rights on an intercompany scale. This is big, but I think could revert the bad taste this ugly business let on everyone’s mouth. If not, I suggest adding a safeguard mechanism to the TOS and EULA.

As I said, a bulk of the developers are individuals or very small business. We can’t afford uncertainty as big companies can sometimes. Several of us could become a penniless overnight if a contract problem affected our projects. Even if Unity is telling the truth, the messed hugely this time too. It’s time to change the focus from this little squabble and really address the legalese problems in more ways than simple clearing that article.

Begging your pardon Kyle but they most certainly did change the ToS. You can call it clarification or whatever but the words of the ToS can be legally interpreted (although challenging to enforce due to being overly broad) to make the majority of network WAN/Internet games today in breach.

Secondly, and of the most concern is that in making the sweeping change to the ToS to help them drag improbable through the mud Unity has shown that any company that raises enough capital can be a target for being classified a «platform service». There is no definition of what they consider the service, no specifics around «any part of the unity runtime» (Graphics rendering pipeline anyone? a DLL?).

Let’s just please wait until Unity comes back with their updates to the ToS before we sound the all clear. As it stands today, as reviewed by a corporate contracts lawyer, the EULA puts most Internet multiplayer games in breach. Of more concern to me was when I asked if a persistant online gaming world that spins up new server instances based on demand for load blancing etc could be construed as a platform service based on the existing wording I was told yes.

Regardless of the terms that Unity comes up with the real issue here is the comapnies willingness to do a stealth change to the ToS as part of a play to wring money out of a studio. Alarmingly coincidental as it aligned within weeks of announcing their partnership with Google for server hosting.. Yes all just one big coincidence I am sure…

Hi C. I’m well aware of who John is, thanks. The people I know who have worked with him never had anything negative to say about him though. And yeah, a lot of mistakes were made at EA during, between, and after his tenure.

I hadn’t heard that Unity requested tens of millions of Improbable to be an affiliated partner. Thank you for sharing that information. We are lucky you are privy to those negotiations.

I’m a dev, and If it is, as outlined above, then Unity were well within their right to do this. It reads like SpatialOS as acting as wrapper around Improbable’s one time licensed Unity runtime which is pretty shady — to some degree, I don’t know how much. It’s an «API to an API». So, Improbable pay a single Enterprise license to Unity, while lots of people pay for access to a wrapper around it (aka SpatialOS)? If it is as above, Improbable will be pretty lucky if it doesn’t go further than this.

«Rest assured we will never do anything that works against the better interest of developers.»

As they block us from using specific third-party platforms that compete with Unity’s upcoming cloud services.

How can it be all Unity’s fault? How is Improbable being mindful of devs, if they were pulling shady moves like that they endangered their developer community.

Yeah, I think it was more that unity informed them that they were in violation and improbable ignored them and refused to enter into a partnership agreement and pay their dues. Improbable is clearly and benefiting from using unity and its name but they didn’t want to pay up. Then it was improbable that made a blog post completely publicly without 1st speaking to unity that contained in accurate information that led to a panic and a game even shutting down. The way I see it that was improbable being negligent with their developers. The burden lies with improbable to inform their customers that they were not in compliance And there was a risk of a shut down due to them playing hardball. It’s amazing to me seeing all these comments all over the Internet blaming unity for all of this. Unity has been around for 14 years of watch I’ve been using it for 12 and I wholeheartedly believe they deserve the amazing reputation they have for being incredibly developer friendly and for doing more than anyone to democratize game making.

Regardless of «whose fault it was», it still sets a dangerous precedent and definitely harms developers by limiting available options. That alone is enough for me to think twice before doing business with Unity Technologies in the future; especially when there are options available which avoid this issue entirely.

Last year i have the doubt if continue with Unity or start a new project with Unreal, after this episode i go with Unreal, now with Unity changing their TOS in this way only to atack other companies a project with years of work can be ruin in a second.

Sure, but they didn’t change their terms of service. They simply rewarded them on December 5th in an attempt to clarify them which regrettably they only became more confusing admittedly.

And they didn’t attack a developer. They took very minor action against a company that was utilizing their name and arguably some of their tech to turn a profit while declining to enter into an agreement or provide any compensation outside of some enterprise licenses. If improbable had cared about their developers, They should have ensured that they were in compliance or at least inform their users that they were declining to meet unity’s terms and thus putting their developers at risk. They did no such thing but instead posted a public blog passing misleading information and causing such a panic that 1 of their top developers actually shut down their game. They blew unity off for over a year and ignored written requests Then when unity takes action instead of discussing the matter with them privately they inaccurately declare that all the games are at risk of shutdown. The thing is I like their product and I had no reason to dislike the company But that was either horrible handling of a situation that scarred a great company’s reputation or it was brilliant handling of a more nefarious plot. I’m just saying if they really got with Epic And set up a 24 million dollar fund in 8 hours it would have been the fastest desicion made of business history.

I am co-founder and CTO of a Unity-centric game studio. That won’t change for us, we love Unity. But we also love our fellow indie developers and feel bad for the predicament these guys now find themselves in.

Three things:

1. You cannot say people should continue developing their SpatialOS games while at the same time saying the very existence of SpatialOS violates the TOS. That is an incredibly mixed signal. If you’re sticking to your guns on this, you have to communicate that developers should stop developing these games or risk being unable to launch them.

2. If this was a known issue 2 years ago, shut them down at THAT point before so many companies have invested in their technology. There was apparently no warnings given to Unity developers cautioning them against building a SpatialOS project. So instead, for 2 years, developers have been engaged with the SpatialOS platform thinking everything was AOK.

3. This whole thing strikes me as penny-wise but pound-foolish. Yes, you can probably extract some platform fee from them, but ultimately what you’re signalling to developers is that support for platforms can be granted or revoked on a whim. You’re absolutely asking for the lashing that Epic is going to give you in the PR department, and you may find that you ultimately win the battle but lose the war.

My advice — worth nothing so feel free to ignore — would be to focus on improving your core product and attracting developers by softening what is perceived to be a poorly-worded and heavy-handed TOS.


1. We are saying that existing games that have started production already can continue to do so. We are giving those developers & Spatial OS an exemption. We do that because we believe developers should never be held hostage over such a dispute.

2. We believed that we would come to an agreement with improbable.

3. We are working on an update to the TOS that does that.

The intention is that nothing in section 2.4 should apply to game developers specifically.
As a game developer you should be able to do whatever you like with the unity runtime in the cloud or your own servers.

The intent of section 2.4 is that “Third party cloud service providers” can’t build their own platform on top of the unity runtime without having a partnership with us. Where the Unity runtime is executed in the cloud with custom SDK extensions, essentially morphing Unity into a different game engine and then selling it as a platform / service that builds on our technology. We are super happy to partner with anyone, and obviously do so with many many companies.

Thanks for the reply Joachim. This has obviously been a trying week and I appreciate your responses. Over the last 10 years of my professional carreer I have been privy to some fairly non-trivial ToS and contract discussions, the largest of those being a 3 Billion dollar asset sale. (Not my assets, boy wouldn’t that be nice) Understanding that Unity needs to protect their IP is a given. And the «Intent» behind the ToS changes and whatever is going on with Improbable is logical but how it went down and the wording as it stands today puts the vast majority of Unity developers with Internet based network games in breach of contract.

I am sure you have corporate lawyers helping you with the new wording but please consider that the use of the ToS as a weapon against Improbable is what scared the Unity community. Please consider that with Unity’s coincidental launch into the hosting space in the new deal with Google, demonstrating that there is no strategy in place to limit in any capacity or thwart in any way a studios ability to host network/WAN/Internet based persistant worlds without at some point in the future Unity labelling that persistant world as a platform service or any other hook that might revoke the license would be a tremendous step in the right direction.

I wish you all the best working this out. It has been a very rough week on a lot of folks trying to work through where Unity is headed with this shift. Based on your statements here it sounds like it was all a mistake/misunderstanding that is being rectified. Looking forwad to the outcome.

You may intend 2.4 not to apply to game developers, but it does. How do we pick the right tool when we don’t know which tool might be banned halfway through development?

Unity also looks quite unprofessional for terminating Improbable’s keys, and not just telling Improbable to stop offering access to Unity-related tools for new customers. It sounds like you fixed that afterwards, but that it wasn’t done right the first time is a major cause for concern.

I hope you have really smart people working on this, because I would definitely not want to be trying to restore trust after something like this. Best of luck.

You keep saying that they «violated your EULA» but don’t mention in what way. I think what’s going on here is that they are threatening some of Unity’s products by being in the market. So instead of making sure you have a better product, you just kill improbable off. Disgusting…

«However, if a third party service wants to run the Unity Runtime in the cloud with their additional SDK, we consider this a platform. In these cases, we require the service to be an approved Unity platform partner. These partnerships enable broad and robust platform support so developers can be successful. We enter into these partnerships all the time. This kind of partnership is what we have continuously worked towards with Improbable.»

If Unity is 100% on this, then it is Improbables fault. If I released my own game engine and then allowed a third party company to offer it as a service (by breaching my TOS and not being an affiliated partner), then I’m GOING TO BE PISSED!!!!!!
Hopefully, Unity will share what exactly was the breach.
I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to deter a lot of developers.

There’s a lot going on here, but not sure if anyone commented on this interesting bit:

Unity claims they went out of their way to make sure this wouldn’t impact existing users of SpatialOS w/Unity. But, unless I misunderstand something, they also canceled their Unity licenses. This means Improbable couldn’t even do a bug fix much less keep features progressing (inline with their general tech platform). Not to mention the financial incentive to maintain and and/or advance the tech would evaporate since there is no new Unity business It would be, for all practical purposes, impossible for this not to impact existing users dramatically.

Sadly, I therefore find this statement to be dubious at best and disingenuous at worst.

I don’t use either SpatialOS or Photon, so I’d appreciate clarification so I can better judge the implications of this. It doesn’t look like these tools are distributing access to the editor, but rather publishing an SDK that works with the engine so that the engine can be used with their service — am I in error on this? The rest of the EULA seems to be restricting use of the editor under the term “Unity Software”. If on the other hand, “Unity Software” means any game using the Unity Engine, that’s a very different matter. I can’t see how integrating an SDK into Unity in any way violates 2.4 of the EULA if the SDK only allows games built using the Unity Engine to run on the cloud, rather than running the editor (aka “Unity Software”) itself on the cloud.

If, however the problem is that a build of a game using the Unity Engine is running on the cloud with an SDK, then section 2.4 would also appear to ban any use of the Unity Engine running on the cloud, as it says in the beginning of that section “You may not directly or indirectly distribute the Unity Software…by means of streaming or broadcasting so that any portion of the Unity Software is primarily executed on or simulated by the cloud or a remote server and transmitted over the Internet or other network to end user devices without a separate license or authorization from Unity.” If that means just the editor, then that’s in line with what most software EULAs state, but that doesn’t seem to be what SpatialOS and Photon are doing.

I can see the possibility that the problem is with the SpatialOS GDK rather than the SDK, but that isn’t what Unity or Improbable has said, so I must assume that this is in not what they are talking about. I can also see the possibility that whoever wrote both the EULA and this attempt at clarification don’t understand what Unity is or does, and don’t know the difference between the Editor and the Engine so they think any «software» that is from Unity should fall under the restrictions placed upon the «Unity Software» but that would still mean that the same rules would ultimately be applied to any use of a game built with the Unity engine on the cloud.

You nailed it I think Jeff. This was an epic blunder by Unity in an effort to squeeze $35M out of Spatial. They rolled the dice and got called on it. They need to do what they said they were going to do and make it right for the developers using their product.

Mark, do you have proof of this or are you just going to repeat what Lloyd said which in case you didn’t read his post, his source was «(according to what I heard)».

I’ve also theorized that Unity is led by Grays and Improbable is led by Reptilians — so I second not relying too much on random comments on a blog post :D

I will say though that I suspect my source is right at least in that it is just a dispute over money for a platform. Occam’s Razer suggests the simplest explanations is the most likely and charging platforms for support is an age old Unity revenue stream. Right or wrong it would be crazy to use spatial os with Unity before this all clears — they seem to be more than happy to change the ToS at will and the truth is often in the middle somewhere.

I’ve managed to find Unity’s EULA on a Reddit:

February 21, 2018 2.4 Streaming and Cloud Gaming Restrictions. You may not directly or indirectly distribute the Unity Software, including the runtime portion of the Unity Software, or your Project Content (if it incorporates the runtime portion) by means of streaming or broadcasting so that any portion of the Unity Software is primarily executed on or simulated by a server and transmitted over the Internet or other network to end user devices without a separate license from Unity. This restriction does not prevent end users from remotely accessing your Project Content from an end user device that is running on another end user device. You may not use a third party to directly or indirectly distribute or make available, stream, broadcast (through simulation or otherwise) any portion of the Unity Software unless that third party is authorized by Unity to provide such services.

December 5, 2018 2.4 Streaming and Cloud Gaming Restrictions. You may not directly or indirectly distribute the Unity Software, including the runtime portion of the Unity Software (the “Unity Runtime”), or your Project Content (if it incorporates the Unity Runtime) by means of streaming or broadcasting so that any portion of the Unity Software is primarily executed on or simulated by the cloud or a remote server and transmitted over the Internet or other network to end user devices without a separate license or authorization from Unity. Without limiting the foregoing, you may not use a managed service running on cloud infrastructure (a “Managed Service”) or a specific integration of a binary add-on (for example, a plugin or SDK) or source code to be integrated in the Unity Software or Your Project Content incorporating the Unity Runtime (an “SDK Integration”) to install or execute the Unity Runtime on the cloud or a remote server, unless such use of the Managed Service or SDK Integration has been specifically authorized by Unity. Additionally, you may not integrate the Unity Runtime with a Managed Service or SDK Integration and offer that integration to third parties for the purpose of installing or using the Unity Runtime on the cloud or a remote server. For a list of Unity authorized streaming platforms, Managed Services and SDK Integrations, click here.This restriction does not prevent end users from remotely accessing your Project Content from an end user device that is running on another end user device. You may not use a third party to directly or indirectly distribute or make available, stream, broadcast (through simulation or otherwise) any portion of the Unity Software unless that third party is authorized by Unity to provide such services.»

If this is accurate, they obviously used the runtime without proper authorisation (as Unity have said that they’ve been notifying them for the past 2 years). To me, the EULA prior to December looks exactly the same (ie running the runtime without proper authorisation). All they added was a specific instance of the breach.

I believe that it is time for Unity to brake open the piggy bank and start investing seriously into networking. It is too important to leave it be controlled by a third party, because, money, competition, long term strategy, mess like this one. I do not mean infrastructure, google is a great choice for this, I mean ip for game centric networking services.

I am sad to see, again, so many opponent hired voices having a podium in Unity site (they are free to speak in other places, like Unreal site), I expect that common sense will prevail and there will be some sort of comment moderation at some point.

Unity is not perfect, realizing its weaknesses can help it become better.

This is not at all like MS licensing or even most service provider licensing schemes.

Most service provider licensing is done in a way where everyone is on an even playing field, including the vendor. I can get better MS windows pricing from competitors of Azure. MS isn’t trying to gain a competitive advantage over value added providers just because they compete with them. They are really good about avoiding even the appearance of that. The licensing program is transparent and applied uniformly and fairly. You don’t see exceptions where they ignore some companies and not others.

Unity’s model is not like that. Which begs the question why not? So to suspect that their motives are not to the benefit of developers, is not unwarranted.

Well, obviously no company should be able to re-sell such service under in regular licence using unity runtimes, BUT !
If I understood correctly :
don’t know how you managed to mess up your TOS in such an incapable way, made it like, no one can stream, run on cloud as a server and such, using unity runtimes??, Who thought that was a good idea?

Way to go Unity for stepping up and speaking out about the confusion. I think maybe you could have spoken about Improbable’s behaviors sooner (unless that wasn’t legally possible) to give everyone a heads up this company was acting inappropriately.

Although i am not affacted by this it does worry me. As a big fan since version 2 of unity I’ve always held it near and dear. I really hope I wont see more of these weird sudden TOS changes that may end up in affecting me or any others on the scale this have. With that said, I’m very splitted on this issue, Improbable have indeed been in a grey area, but I can’t help but think how such sudden changes to the TOS/EULA can affect me or others in the future, it really seems to me you shot your foot off this time, and I am debating if other open source engines with less strict TOS is the way to go now.

This is the same kind of stuff Adobe and MS sue companies over — no hosting apps in the cloud without a license that explicitly allows for it.

Improbable didn’t want to pay for it so they ran with the normal licensing hoping to prove out their product before Unity shut them down. Their board of investors were either OK with this or were kept ignorant. At least one person in leadership at Improbable should lose their job over this.

If the conversation started over 2 years ago, it was probably around the time SoftBank was doing due diligence for the $502 mil funding round.

Gambling on dodging legal issues with someone else’s software is a stupid, STUPID move, and Improbable’s customers & investors are paying for it.

Read between the lines on this one. If you are confused by the post, it is because not all of the information is presented. Unity did not block them to make sure the platform is better for developers — anyone can see that is inaccurate and hiding the truth. One of the tiers of revenue, as told to me by a Unity director, is charging companies a yearly fee of around 1,000,000 or higher to have included support in Unity. Typically, the unity team doesn’t develop this and requires the OS or device maker to do the work, it is just money for them for their stories of approval. Being cloud based, SpatialOS didn’t need Unity to help or need to pay them for their 1m+ in yearly licensing. They were wise, why pay Unity for work you can do yourself. After Unity saw how much money SpatialOS generated, they significantly increased the 1m price point to around 35m per year (according to what I heard) and SpatialOS refused as they have limited value from Unity. Further to this, Unity was angry that it lets developers bypass their endless amounts of services that they keep deprecating and using a third party service — which gives them even less money. And spatialOS didn’t rush to negotiate as the ToS were on their side. So yes, Unity modified their terms to try and bully SpatialOS into accepting the agreement. And yes, this means they can do this to any developer or platform at any time — they do this frequently.

When BlackBerry was unable to pay their 10m a year fee back in the day, Unity disabled and removed their platform support. We saw this again when 8th wall couldn’t get native support and neither could OSVR (one of the first open-source cross platform VR solutions) because they couldn’t raise 10m for the licensing fee requested by Unity. This isn’t to create a better development experience (all of these guys do the work themselves) but to make more money as a tier of revenue. By being a big company, they can force small ones like Vuforia to pay exhorbant expenses for inclusion. It is borderline monopolistic and to the detriment of users (as we then also have to go pay for licensing individually, to build for a licensed platform, and to pay for ongoing licensed services — all that may be discontinued or changed at a moment’s notice). You have a right to be concerned.

Point being, yes it is a bully tactic and money grab. And yes, if you start making serious money on their platform they can change their ToS anytime to target users or makers of any kind. They have always been a shady company this is just one small part of that.

You seem confused — Improbable is reselling Unity’s product.

If Improbable wanted to protect their customers and investors, they would have entered into a legal agreement with Unity that would not allow for arbitrary changes in licensing fees.

Improbable didn’t want to pay Unity for a proper legal agreement, and instead took a foolish, unprotected gamble. This is Improbable’s problem and mistake, not Unity’s.

Where did you get your information? I keep seeing the idea that Improbable was selling Unity’s editor, source or runtime. This isn’t true; the user is responsible for compiling both a game client and a headless server worker. Spatial’s code is written in a platform agnostic way; it uses headless unity server instances for unity games in order to handle AI/physics authoritatively. It does the same thing with Unreal for unreal games.

If what you say is true, then the cancelation of they Unity keys are not a problem, because the consumers of SpatialOS are the ones compiling and deploying the game. If that is a problem for them, then that means that they were using those keys for their users, as there is no other use for them

They revoked the editor keys not to stop service (which it did not affect), but to force Improbable into a tight spot. If they use Unity now, then they are in breach of the general ToS and can be sued. Improbable can’t legally continue development for the Unity SDK or provide support.

Was it a legal case, Unity would go to court and take their money. But Unity changed ToS instead. ‘Unity’ had to explicitly modify ToS to make it impossible to do what ‘Improbable’ does. So, previous ToS was not enough, right? :)) So how da hell it was violated ?

Even if you warned improbable and improbable was at fault too, the ToS is extremely draconian on that regard. Not to mention that I feel we’ll never get simulation server at this point. It feels like you want to be more of a service oriented platform (which I understand since it’s a free engine), but being a plus user wouldn’t fix that mindset, for example.

Hmm… I just read their blog post. I know this maybe a lot to ask for, but what did they exactly violate. Maybe if someone can clarify to me what rule they broke I can understand what the whole story is. Though I totally understand that the TOS is something not to be trifled with and that there might be a possible lie in the blog post.

It seems as though Improbable created a cloud-based service that allows developers to run multiplayer off of the service, which uses the core of the Unity platform itself (almost like an unofficial branch of the Unity engine but not quite). I believe Unity’s issue is that Improbable is just reselling an extended Unity platform under their own name and brand, and Unity requires any company providing a service like this to enter a close partnership so that Unity can maintain quality control over the Unity brand and be able to provide the support necessary to maintain it so as to not tarnish the Unity brand if there is a customer backlash and they blame Unity instead of Improbable for the issues they face using the engine.

It clearly goes much deeper and more accurate than my simple explanation/assumptions, but I think that is the general idea.

That’s the wrong interpretation, or something that Unity wants you to think. The backend of improbable has very little to do with Unity and is the core IP of SpatialOS. Unity is essentially a wrapper around the services that Improbable provides. They have the exact same API with Unreal, Java, and C++. Heck you can even build your own workers without ANY unity code and have them interact the same way with Unity the way the Unity workers do.

This is the same kind of stuff Adobe and MS sue companies over — no hosting apps in the cloud without a license that explicitly allows for it.

Improbable didn’t want to pay for it so they ran with the normal licensing hoping to prove out their product before Unity shut them down. Their board of investors were either OK with this or were kept ignorant. At least one person in leadership at Improbable should lose their job over this.

If the conversation started over 2 years ago, it was probably around the time SoftBank was doing due diligence for the $502 mil funding round.

Gambling on dodging legal issues with someone else’s software is a stupid, STUPID move, and Improbable’s customers & investors are paying for it.

Joachim, we need two things from you:
1. Clarify what exactly Improbable did that violates the terms and assurance (and delivery) that you will adjust the TOS to capture this case versus all the other cases clearly. «Unity runtime» aka any build made with Unity running on a server, using whatever sdk (using? at build time? or server calls?) is absurdly broad. Does «server» relate to hosting-for-download (like or hosting-for-streaming? Is Steam and their SDK a platform in your new book? Will it be when they stream?
And even if you restrict it to the core of what I THINK Improbable did to violate, does that mean that services streaming Unity executables need an agreement with you (and pay up) so as a Unity developer I’m suddenly a highly disliked user of such services because my executable carries the evil seed that now is the Unity runtime?
2. We need a clarification on how you will treat EULA changes going forward. If you need to tighten your license model or introduce new licensing criteria, there needs to be a guarantee for developers who started projects earlier to be able to rely on the EULA at the time they started the project. Epic is giving you fire there and you deserve every bit of it. It is a fundamental understanding for you as an engine provider that you won’t kill EULA covered use cases after years of blood, sweat, tears and $$ developers put into those by simply changing the EULA. You can change. It’s your right. But honor existing agreements, the same way Epic and other engine providers just clarified they will, this is essential.

1. / steam or other stores are not violating the section 2.4 because they are not even executing the Unity runtime in the cloud.
In any case we are completely aware that section 2.4 is confusing, and it is too broad. We are working on an improved section 2.4 that we will share soon.

The intention is that nothing in section 2.4 should apply to game developers specifically.
As a game developer you should be able to do whatever you like with the unity runtime in the cloud or your own servers.

Section 2.4’s intent is to only apply to «third party cloud services».

The intent of section 2.4 is that «Third party cloud service providers» can’t build their own platform on top of the unity runtime without having a partnership with us. Where the Unity runtime is executed in the cloud with custom SDK extensions, essentially morphing Unity into a different game engine and then selling it as a platform / service that builds on our technology. We are super happy to partner with anyone, and obviously do so with many many companies.

2. First of all updates to the EULA only apply to versions of Unity released after the update of the EULA. It does not apply retroactively to older versions of Unity.

Section 2.4 has been in our EULA for years. We changed it in order to make the intent clearer.
Unfortunately it turns out we made it too broad. And it is not explicit enough in saying that section 2.4 in no way should apply to game developers themselves.

Your 2.4 says (and always did) that the developer may not use certain services you didn’t approve or they violate the TOS. How does it NOT apply to the developer if the onus is on them to not use these services you didn’t approve?

Unity is the only game engine with weird and absurde restrictions like the dark theme in free version, 2019 is a good year to change.

Sounds like Unity is in the right here. Feel like it’s a PR mistake for Epic to get dragged into this, they should’ve held off for a while to see how the dispute panned out.

Looking on last events (all this aggresive markenig of epic store and so on) Epics just has some mental problems because of unexpected amount of money they got from fortnite.

why? unity dosnt seem to want to expand or continue to grow. they found a cash cow and seem determined to milk it. classic publisher that wants to sink.

Let’s get right into the news, but without Keemstar.
In April U.t. CEO told they’re ready to IPO. Maybe that was a proper time . . .

When I first saw this last night i got upset but held off a bit. Then today i see this. I can’t blame Unity.
And i want to stick with Unity. My question is, if i don’t agree with a new TOS down the line, can i stick with the previous version of Unity that came out with the previous TOS?

If I am remembering correctly when they update their ToS it retroactively updates it for every previous version. So no matter what version of Unity you use, you will have to agree and adhere to the new ToS.

The Unity EULA does not apply retroactively. It applies going forward to new versions of Unity after the release of the EULA change.


1.4 Modification

Unity reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to modify, discontinue or terminate the Services. Unity may also modify the Agreement at any time and without prior notice. If we modify the Agreement, we will post the modification on the Site or otherwise provide you with notice of the modification. We will also update the “Last updated” date at the top of these Terms. By continuing to access or use the Services after we have provided you with notice of a modification, you indicate that you agree to be bound by the modified Terms. If the modified Terms are not acceptable to you, your only recourse is to cease using the Services.

Unity and Improbable issue is child play that I don’t care about, they’re backstabbing each-other for their internal negotiation. What got me scared is Unity EULA acts retrospectively, meaning if I agreed on their EULA and started developing my games for 2-3 years, there is a possibility Unity changes their EULA in a way I lose all my investment the past 3 years.

My second issue is the post here is literally the opposite of what is written in the terms of service especially this one: «If a game developer runs a Unity-based game server on their own servers or generic cloud instances (like GCP, AWS or Azure), they are covered by our EULA.»

Joachim has said several times here that changes in the EULA do NOT act retrospectively. This means that if you’ve been working on a game for 2-3 years, you’re affected by the EULA as it was at the time you started development (assuming you do not upgrade to newer Unity versions during development).

Please read what it is being said here before jumping to conclusions.

How is it a marketing stunt that Unity retroactively altered their TOS to support their stance to revoke their licenses before anything was said or done? Let’s face it, Unity did this on their own free will.

For people saying that unity is greedy. You know that Improbables pays to Epic to be able to use their technology?
Secondly, if someone has made service allowing people to play your game from one license, for example, they have a pool of 100 licences and they run instances of your game to stream them to their clients would you be OK with that? Or you would require a special license in that case? As you can read in blog Unity has revoked Improbables’ editor keys they used in their platform.

Improbables pays to Epic to be able to use their technology? the same with unity, Improbables pays unity for editor licences/keys to use unity technology.. and everyone know ue4 5% royalty , this is two difference licensing system. u can’t compare

License is sold to developers and companies, end user does not care about unity license. This is shady term from Unitys side. «We will support you as long as the server is running on a Unity supported platform.» so basically they can make other statement about advertisement provider, and say you can use only Unity ads, because other providers are forbidden. This is shady and I don’t understand why people are defending Unity.

Are you saying Unity now sell license to their runtime? We aren’t talking about the IDE or the engine, we are talking about the runtime here. This is what is bundled with the game to make it run. Unity doesn’t sell license for that, how would a free game make sense then with Unity?

They do sell it — not to the game developers but the platform makers. To use the Unity runtime on Tizen for example, the manufacture pays an exhorbant fee every year for licensing. The manufacture then needs to port the runtime for them. From that moment forward, game developers can use it on Tizen because the manufacturer paid a lot of money for it. It is companies that are able to use this for free that makes Unity angry as they like passive income generation

I’m shocked by how many people read this and still side with improbable. Makes me wonder how many are real users of unity.

Anyway, I didn’t trust improbable before (opaque pricing anyone?) and I certainly wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole now.

This PR stunt is not the way to do business at the $2bn+ Company level.

I’m on the other side and have issue believing how you can side with Unity here. I’ll give you that, they are in the right (even though legally speaking, I’m not sure it’s true, but that’s a whole other things and whether it’s the case or not, doesn’t matter because I believe they have the right to do what they have done).

The thing is, they chose to apply this EULA selectively. Can you explain to me how this doesn’t apply to servers run using Unity, which this blog said they are fine? I can’t, they are infringing that EULA. Can you explain to me how this doesn’t apply to game in production or currently live, that are running SpatialOS? Unity themselves said they are infringing that EULA.

This means that selectively, Unity can decide to shutdown your game. Your only recourse would be to start from zero and based on this post, you would have at most, a year to do it.

Improbable has nothing to do with this, it’s all on Unity, yet you believe Improbable is the one in the wrong, while still today, Unity say it’s alright to do something their EULA say is wrong.

I agree. Companies need to learn to stand by their agreements at the time of signing. I’m tired of a ToS being changed every few weeks by some company that wants to find another way to exploit users and partners. They sold licenses for use that was acceptable per the ToS, they should be honouring those terms. I’ve seen how greedy unity can be, I have no doubt they cherry picked a lot of information here ;). Anyone should be suspicious when the claim so a dispute over ‘making sure it is the best platform for developers’ when really it is a dispute over money. Smoke and mirrors.

As I thought Epics and Improbable are big scammers. Hope Unity will get stronger and bigger in close future. I’ll do whatever I can to help them.

If you are considering building a MMO with Unity you can use instead of SpatialOS. It’s also reactive and can scale as well, but it’s simpler (no simulation stuff) and has an integrated distributed database. On the upside it’s proven (450 CCU on dual core machine with 45% CPU) and open-source.

You are completely correct the packaging is non-existent right now. I added a tutorial chapter that I will improve over the coming days.

Can’t reply directly to you (this comment system only allows for 4 comments in depth), but search for Tutorial on the about page linked above. I will add a chat to that page for live support.

This was an unfortunate PR disaster since it will scare people away from an engine that is really picking up speed.

Unity is becoming such a great engine, just look at the recent additions with script engine, nested prefabs, shader graph etc. I don’t agree at all with the comments that Unity doesn’t care, I find it quite the opposite.

Let’s just hope that this leads to something good, maybe more open sourcing of the engine might be a good response to everyone’s worries. I really want to stay with Unity.

Petty squabbles between both companies aside, this statement does not sound very reassuring.

When does something become a «platform»? It sounds like SpatialOS simply offers a kind of distributed database to store and query the state of entities in a game. If I write a web service to query and post high scores and let other Unity developers use this, does it suddenly become a platform?

Was it also a clarification when the «pay to own» clause silently disappeared from Unity’s license terms and blogs?

Since the day Unity embraced the despicable ad revenue business model things have turned rather sour. Businesses get milked and individuals are goaded into generating money via Unity Ads, Unity IAP. It’s an EA-style business now.

Presently, my old perpetual Unity 5 Pro license is collecting dust and I have ported all in-progress projects to Godot Engine…

I started using Unity back in 2008. As the years went by and as the original three founders slowly exited their primary roles of developing and taking care of Unity and its user base, the company took a big hit. Unity became unpredictable when it was handed over to corporatism and the push for only making money. They forgot about us. The little guys.

I stopped using Unity and switched engines because I knew stuff like this would happen. It was only a matter of time. I saw the signs. They stopped listening to us. They stopped caring about their user base. They focused only on money money money. And with that, we started getting screwed.

This new scummy move with SpatialOS only makes developers lose total trust in Unity and wonder «who is next or what else is next we have to worry about». Unity has shot itself in the foot and there is now no way to regain the little guy’s trust.

What exactly is the scummy move here? Improbable breached Unity’s EULA and violated the TOC that they agreed to follow when they partnered with Unity to make SpacialOS. And even then, the Unity team tried for TWO YEARS to remedy the issue with Improbable directly before they were left with no other option but to protect their interests. And in the meantime, developers currently using SpacialOS can continue to do so with Unity’s blessing. That’s incredibly generous on their part.

The only scummy move here is Improbable trying to paint the whole thing like Unity is somehow trying to single them out and sabotage them for no reason other than greed, and it’s incredibly sad that it’s apparently working.

What are you talking about? Unity didn’t do anything other than what they had no choice but to do. Improbable brought this upon themselves when they breached the EULA and violated the TOS that they agreed to back when they partnered with Unity to produce SpacialOS. And even then, Unity gave then TWO YEARS of leeway while trying to work with them in order to find an amenable solution, and even now that they have been forced to take direct action, they are still allowing current SpacialOS users to continue using it unaffected. That’s incredibly generous of them.

The only scummy thing going in is Improbable trying to jump the gun and paint the whole thing like they are getting unfairly picked on when in reality they had every chance to make things right. They are the ones who are only concerned about money here, not Unity. The really sad thing, though, is that apparently enough people like you are buying into their deliberate smear campaign that it’s working.

@Doofi, if you left Unity behind and switched engines, why are you commenting here? You must be interested enough in Unity to keep following their posts. Or are you just trolling?

I’ve been using unity since about the same time as you started and in my opinion the engine and editor has gone from strength to strength. It’s accessable for everyone.

like many said….
pfui Unity and Joachim….
it was clear after some time this will happen and other thing in 2019 too….
restrictions here and there… it’s now all about the making money game…
Hey Joachim… we know us and i know all of you 3 when you started…
where is your original intention gone?
did the money from M$ eat all of your brain?
i see also still performance problems on the Mac and iOS platform…
hey we have 2019 and many promises you gave are not happened…
see now Unity3d goes Windows… i promised it will happen when you open the engine for Windows!!!
Read my letter… it’s all true what i have written…
Money is your God now … shame for the community!

«Improbable and Unity, it seems, haven’t made up. In Epic Games, however — the company behind the immensely popular Fornite battle royale game — Improbable has forged a seemingly deep and powerful alliance. We’ll just have to see how many developers decide to take up their offer and switch from Unity to the Unreal Engine.»

since your first dispute some years ago…. i switched to Unreal engine also for mobile development….
in beginning it was not easy… but now it’s much easter to switch….
all is there now…. also free assets and scripts and a store…
but the best is the performance… especially on mobile and Mac OS X.
very happy that i did it long before this dispute… it was all clear since v 4 of Unity and the new people that where hired…
i still use Unity… but not for commercial … just for prototyping and try some idea’s … it’s good for that purpose…
but when it comes to performance… way behind Unreal on Mobile and Mac… way behind!
it’s like with Photoshop….
it started very well on the Mac platform…. than some people wanted more money… so let’s port it to Windows… Mac version did get not much updates and was not interesting anymore… so old code still found in PS… very old code…
same happened to Unity… the Mac platform made them a nice team… 3 friends started with a great idea….
now you see what happened if a company becomes too big and many can’t get enough having only one goal…
making money and collecting personal data… with every build you do you sent data to Unity!
if you use the build in store tools… then Unity knows exactly how much you sell and to who…
i don’t know if this is really allowed here in eu ???
If you start a game or app made with Unity3d… data get collected and sent to Unity3d.
Every time when you have a internet connection…
Do you think that is ok?
I don’t think so…. not here in EU… so investigation takes place now what user data get sent…

Only Improbable are breaking the Unity EULA. By the way did you guys notice that if you searched Unity for the last few months the first search item was an Improbable payed listing? It seems to be a pretty dishonest original post from Improbable and I would expect them to come to an agreement with Unity. Maybe Improbably is feeling the pressure to match its profit expectations after a South Korean company paid half a billion for less than 50% of its shares a few years ago. Can’t believe how often people trash Unity. It’s like screaming at your mum because your dinner isn’t tasty enough. More people use it than any other platform. They give it away completely free until you make 100k and then you pay a relatively tiny amount, and underneath it has the most impressive tech.

» If you rent a server or pay for a cloud instance to run the game, you can continue to develop, publish or operate your game as usual» this one is important for us

You do not decide how we make games or what technologies we use. You provide the engine, we pay the appropriate fees, you stay out of the way.

Yes they do. EPIC also decides how you can use Unreal. Adobe decides how you can use Photoshop, Illustrator. Microsoft decides how you can use Windows. Have you ever read an EULA before?

I’ve read my share of EULA’s, and I’ve been to court enough times to know they are often enforceable, often not, and are regarded more or less as a best-case-scenario wish-list for the company writing it. Adhesion Agreements like EULAs typically don’t hold the same weight as negotiated contracts (with the exception of certain U.S. circuits), and we’re all very fortunate for this, as nearly all of them are patently unconcionable. Most clauses of EULAs are not routinely enforced, instead, they exist to be selectively enforced. This is why few people who are truly familiar with them, puts that much emphasis on their specific text, and isntead relies on other cues from the company.

People also don’t read them.

Of course, they should, though, right?

A typical litmus test for the reasonableness of a paticular requirement, is to hypothesize what would happen were everyone to comply with it.

So, what would happen were everyone to read every EULA presented to them?

Why, the online economy would grind to a halt overnight. Companies would go out of business one after the other, and revenue would drop off 60, 70, 80 , 90% as potential customers spent 4 hours each reading and understanding 47-pages of legalese. And, of course, all of the pages linked to from those 47 pages.

In fact, businesses which have EULAs depend on people not reading them in order to stay in business.

This being the case, the notion that EULAs should be read by everyone, is on its face, at the very least, completely disingeuous, since the existence of the very business depends on that not happening.

In the end, people don’t pay as much attention to EULAs, as they do to the actions of the company directly.

Apparently, you didn’t understand what they were saying. You can still use Unity however you want as long as it’s for your own game. What they take issue with is if you are using a Unity-based server service that you intend to lease to other people for them to use in their games. That’s when your project stops being a game and becomes a platform, and that requires special permissions and partnerships with Unity. And that is what Improbable failed to do for two years, so Unity deactivated their licenses. It couldn’t be any simpler a concept, nor any more evident that Improbable is very clearly in the wrong over this whole situation.

Hearing this seriously makes me feel sorry that I decided to give Unity a try for the next project despite the fact that I had many doubts from their track record.

This clearly shows Unity’s mentality. To me, Unity devs are very lazy and incompetent and yet very stubborn. The only way to protect themselves is being protective instead of innovating themselves to fend off competitions.

If they could provide a better solution, no one really needed to go to SpacialOS in the first place. Unity doesn’t offer any alternatives, and now they want some piece of the action.

Seriously, if it weren’t Asset Store, Unity will be long dead. Unity should realize that many 3rd party developers had carried Unity thus far fixing Unity’s own problems. Unity should be more appreciative.

In short, Improbable is not ruining Unity, they are actually helping. They are just capitalizing on Unity’s slack and users are benefiting.
If Unity wants to punish them, the best Unity can do is to provide a better solution than them.

What are you talking about? Improbable violated Unity’s EULA and TOS two years ago, and Unity is acting now because Improbable refused to work with them on a solution over it. Unity would like nothing better than to continue partnering with Improbable to let developers continue using SpatialOS, but they can’t let people walk over the legal documents they agreed to follow and then just walk away scot-free. Stop falling for Improbable’s now clearly false telling of the events, because they are the ones that are so clearly in the wrong over this.

Sounds like «Any access of service provided by a none Unity partnership company is not guaranteed». So the question is, why am I using Unity?

It was fun as long as it lasted. Sadly this mess has proven that Unity is not even understanding their own TOS/EULA.

Company is incapable of communicating clearly and has now put several projects in risk, so sanest (but expensive) option is to jump the ship…

This is a pretty disappointing and… feels really out of character for Unity. The promise of SpatialOS + Unity was very exciting. Hopefully you are still able to work something out.

This blog post is very poorly written as is the TOS/EULA. What you claim and what lawyers who read the TOS/EULA say it says is in direct disagreement. You need to fix this and fast or you will lose quite a lot of devs. Either update the TOS today with clarity or everyone will just skip updating engine versions and accepting new tos/eulas.

So, my stance after reading both this here Unity’s blog post on the topic:


Improbable’s first and then second blog post on the topic:

So, Unity Tech in the blog post makes clear that no, Improbable did not all of a sudden get their licenses revoked without any warning, they were warned over a year ago that they were acting against the TOS.

While Improbable in their first blog post and initial messaging on twitter and elsewhere had made it sound like this all came like a total surprise to them

Now in their second blog post Improbable says:

We apologize that this event we instigated has created so much uncertainty, confusion and pain for so many developers who really do not deserve this.


They go on babbling but that line alone makes me shudder. So they knew full well that they were acting against the TOS (not just about the recently changed one, but against the older version, too and Unity Tech had told them over a year ago). Then when after a year the sledge hammer finally came down, they started an «event», basically a smear campaign based on lies and omitting critical information, acting like this came as total surprise to them and UT is the all evil one for shutting them down all of a sudden.

Note: i find the TOS badly worded and UT will surely (as they also said here and elsewhere in blog comments) update it soon, but that level of intentional mis information by Improbable while at the same time also putting all their users into a scare craze, intentionally making their users think their running projects would get shut down (so as to also have them further increase more negative vibes of course all around the web), while UT told Improbable that would explicitly not be done, yeah, that is just sleazy to the max by Improbable.

When one looks at the reputation damage campaign article Improbable triggered on the Guardian:
earlier on, then yeah, it becomes more and more obvious what actually likely happened here:
-Unity saw what Improbable is doing as a platform type thing and likely would charge money for that
-Improbable likely wouldn’t pay it and went on ignoring Unity’s warnings of a breach of TOS for a year
-Then when the ban hammer finally came down on Improbable, instead of paying up to solve it (no matter if one agrees or not whether they are a platform or not or whether they should have to pay extra or not) or trying to solve it in other amicable way, they went out there and started an «event», really a smear campaign trying to make Unity look like the ruthless guys shutting people down without any warning, and hence causing major chaos across the internet making people all around the Unity eco system very worried.

Yes, Unity has to improve those TOS, that’s a separate topic well worth going into, too, but Improbable, what you attempted there is intentional reputation damage not just to UT but essentially causing harm to all your users and also to every single Unity using business, because for a few hours suddenly the internet went into a craze whether one couldn’t rely on any Unity using service anymore and that affects every Unity dev using or creating such a service.

In my eyes Improbable can be happy if they don’t get sued into Oblivion for this, i imagine Unity Tech wouldn’t do it because that would just help Improbable painting further the picture they tried to paint of Unity for half a day there, but yeah, me personally as Unity dev working on Unity using services, i’m quite pissed about this, too.
I had many worried clients, partners and even Investors ask me about this today.

Not cool.

And note before all this i was actually considering using Spacial OS for something in the future.
But come on Improbable, you risk the livelihood of all your users for over a year by knowingly breaching a TOS and not informing your users about this and then when the ban hammer comes down instead of at least then owning up to it right away and doing all you can to fix the situation asap with Unity as to not further risk the livelihood of your users further even more, no, you then try to abuse your users and all devs and the media to start a smear campaign to come out on top.

Like, seriously..

reading your updated TOS as an attorney, what you are saying isn’t consistent with what’s actually in your license. it may be what you intended (or you may be walking back an earlier, perhaps inadvertent overreach by whoever did your legal drafting), but you really need to clarify your TOS if this is the position you’re taking.

Alright, let’s talk about this.

> Unfortunately, Improbable chose an approach which doesn’t involve partnering with Unity, but instead involves making unauthorized and improper use of Unity’s technology and name in connection with the development, sale, and marketing of its own products.

«Improper use» isn’t going to cut it here. You haven’t provided any explanation as to what had constituted such «improper use», and, in turn, breach of the Terms of Service or EULA. Sale and marketing, if not development as well, are fairly publicly verifiable territory, so I would expect you to guide us towards records of the actions deemed «improper use» that Improbable took regarding Unity and Unity Software.

> This was the only course of action to protect the integrity and value of our technology and Unity developers.

There’s no way around that, with no further explanation, this looks like quite the opposite.

> We believe that even though Improbable is violating our EULA, game developers should never pay the price for that.

Your own Unity Software Additional Terms say otherwise. Until you change your legal documents to precisely reflect your policies and relations with developers and third parties, these claims will unfortunately be meaningless.

> We received feedback that the language was ambiguous, so we updated our Terms of Service to be clear on our distribution and streaming restrictions.

I don’t quite recall what point 2.4 of Unity Software Additional Terms originally sounded like, but «clear» is not a word I can use to describe its current text, while «ambiguous» definitely is. If the plan was to have it be clear and NOT be ambiguous, then obviously someone is not doing their job.

> However, if a third party service wants to run the Unity Runtime in the cloud with their additional SDK, we consider this a platform.

That is about as muddy as technical explanations get. Most of us can tell how problematic that is.

You’re clearly having communication issues, and you won’t solve them by pouting, turning your back and saying that everyone’s wrong, in PR speak of course. These issues and all the questions currently in the air arose out of your lack of clarity and transparency, so claiming that you’ve been clear and all isn’t helping the situation. I think it’s safe for me to say that, right now, as the gamedev community around Unity, we’re expecting significantly more extensive explanations.

If anyone wants to chat about this, you can tweet or DM me @Outfr0st. Unity Technologies people: please make your comments publicly.

They did explain what the improper use was. «If a third party service wants to run the Unity Runtime in the cloud with their additional SDK, we consider this a platform. In these cases, we require the service to be an approved Unity platform partner.»

» They did explain what the improper use was. “If a third party service wants to run the Unity Runtime in the cloud with their additional SDK, we consider this a platform. In these cases, we require the service to be an approved Unity platform partner.” »

Well, this is actually not clear. Technically, when writing an authorative server, I can write in using RPC which basically means, I can create an SDK around my game needs and run it on a server (hosted by me or in a cloud). The TOS, in it’s current wording, puts me into a situation where I breach the TOS.

If you are a game developer hosting your own game on a generic cloud or your own servers. You can do whatever you like and integrate whatever SDK’s you like for your own game.

Specifically in the TOS we are talking about a third party service running Unity as a service in the cloud with a custom SDK integration. No game developer falls into those terms. Middleware is also no problem under those terms.

It’s about being a cloud platform running the Unity runtime in your cloud offering that you are selling as a service with custom SDK integration required to make all of this work.

For those we require explicit partnership deals.

@Joachim It’s good that you’ve clarified Unity’s intent here, and that helps. However, please understand that as written, there is nothing in the ToS that clearly makes this distinction. «Managed service with SDK» is not a legally black-and-white term in any way. You say it doesn’t cover «generic» cloud services, but all cloud services are in some sense managed and have SDKs.

That’s always how the party making the response looks in these situations. If Unity had written a post first, then Improbable would be the one looking «like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar» as you say.

How are the developers not paying the price for this? This gives me only one choice, to turn away from unity or turn away from spatial os but honestly, I don’t want to do either.

Sounds like Unity wants to gut the competition or get more money from Improbable. PlayFab or Photon next? Such a shame. Unity seems light-years away from obtaining what Improbably has.

Photon Bolt has already been affected by this, and they need explicit permission from Unity to run headless instances. Their PUN Realtime and Quantam products are not affected. I’m guessing since they’re Unity partners getting Bolt approved won’t be an issue.

Sorry Unity but this is absolute nonsense. For us folks developing using the SpatialOS SDK, you have changed and then retroactively applied new ToS, killing in flight projects in the process. Please stop playing PR games. This is obviously about money and you’re prepared to throw people like me under the bus to force Improbable to play ball. You’ve done it in the worst way possible. There are so many factual errors in this blog post it’s gone beyond laughable and is just plain depressing.

Sorry Unity but this is absolute nonsense. For us folks developing using the SpatialOS SDK, you have changed and then retroactively applied new ToS, killing in flight projects in the process. Please stop playing PR games. This is obviously about money and you’re prepared to throw people like me under the bus to force Improbable to play ball. You’ve done it in the worst way possible. There are so many factual errors in this blog post it’s gone beyond laughable and is just plain depressing.

How is your TOS helping developers it’s restricting them, for example a multiplayer game developer that wants to save money on hosting servers for their players and offers dedicated server builds to them so they can host it or in many cases offers the dedicated build to hosting companies which in return allow free server hosting for the games official server, which saves indie developers a ton of money. This needs to be allowed by your EULA. or you will lose a lot of developers to other engines. Stop trying to milk indie developers more with your useless services that no one needs or wants, make your Engine a real 64bit as you claim and fix your bugs, this is the only thing that will save your Company from going under, you have to learn to earn on the success of games not profiting from the development of games. This is what Epic is doing properly, time for you to start understanding it before it’s to late. Just imagine what would Unity Engine be without the Asset Store or Mono / Visual Studio? You are using 3rd party services to sell Unity to us, so you should allow others to do so as well.

So, Improbable is pissed that they can’t come up with a deal with Unity, so they decide to publish a blog post bashing Unity and saying they’re going to shut down games that use Improbable’s technology. When in reality, Improbable is heavily using the Unity engine and rebranding it as their own.

Truly fantastic stuff here. Top notch Silicon Valley work.

If you’re a Unity dev, or even someone making services for Unity products, as long as you don’t BUNDLE Unity in your platform, you have absolute nothing to worry about. If you’re talking Unity’s technology and rebundling it within your own product without a license that says you can do that, you are in direct violation of Unity’s TOS.

In other words; 99% of Unity users have nothing to worry about. This is a huge nothingburger and typical of Bay Area startups to make a huge deal out of nothing.

What are you even talking about? What Bay Area start up or Sillicon Valley work?

Improbable is a UK company (with a second branch in Canada) that got funded by a Japanese company SoftBank and is partnered with Google.

SpatialOS is a multiplayer tech that works for any engine, they just have official SDK for Unity and Unreal (and a community one for CryEngine). No one was ‘rebranding’ Unity anywhere.

Unity is the one based in San Francisco (and they were founded in Denmark but moved there a while back and aren’t a start up).

Epic and CryTech also have no problems with Improbable, just Unity does and they still didn’t say which part of ToS did Improbable break. Their ToS is very unclear in point 2.4 and they recently added a portion to it to make SDKs forbidden as if they targeted Improbable specifically and they just happened to launch own cloud platform too.

«Epic and CryTech also have no problems with Improbable» — We don’t know that.They may also have been in talks lately. Or Improbable may already have gotten an appropriate license from Epic/Crytek for this specific use.

Tim Sweeney (CEO and founder of Epic) bashes Unity on Twitter and Epic and Improbable (via their CEOs) just made an official statement together. CryTek is silent. No one except the control freaks at Unity ever said that they have any problem with SpatialOS.

Quite frankly this does nothing to improve the optics for me. As a developer and leader of a studio, I like having options. If our team was using Unreal, we would have the option to use SpatialOS — which actually looks awesome. Further, the water has gotten so incredibly murky with the EULA being changed so nonchalantly. I’m worried other services that we use e.g. PHOTON BOLT are next on the chopping block. I feel bad for any 3rd party service that’s Unity focused.

All of this strikes me as such a strange move as I always understood Unity’s motivations to be about openness and bringing platforms together.

This blog post does nothing to reassure me as a solo developer making Edutainment games. Your blog post here does nothing to address the many problems created by wording of EULA. In other documention the «Unity Runtime» is the critical part of the Unit Player, aka the actual game executable. In an unfavorable reading the current EULA could be used to prevent streaming of Unity based game play on platforms like Twitch, Youtube, or Smashcast.

Another pessimistic reading also prevents us from living streaming active development of our titles. No Patron streams, no Vlogging. Also in the collateral damage is educational streams to students and interested developers.

It also has implications for using the Unity Editor in a virtual Desktop like Citrix. This is extremely bad for K-12 institutions that are primarily Chromebook or similar low-power laptop based, and want create a virtual computer lab with higher performance software.

Along that line it also reads like we can’t allow our games (finished and compiled executables) to be placed in such environments either.

It seems that in your effort to push your own Cloud Hosting you got in a spat with Improbable, and subsequently moved to cut off your nose out of spite. This has bad long term ramifications to your business and reputation. It makes me deeply consider abandoning your engine. Which would be a substantial blow to my finances. But if you’re gonna jerk us around with ill advised updates to your EULA like this, I can’t afford to stay long term with an unstable business partner. I can’t trust you folks, or at least I can’t trust your corporate management and lawyers. Which means I can’t trust Unity Technologies as a business.

Please stop saying «we are _clarifying_ the TOS… making it clearer etc» over and over again. We can read the TOS, the problem is not that we can not comprehend the meaning. The problem is the actual content of the TOS. So what you need to do is actually _change_ it. (not make it clearer)

– Unity in cloud for your game started by your own orchestration code: GOOD
– Unity in cloud for your game started by 3rd party orchestration service: BAD

And this, folks, is the reason that a AAA game industry head as Unity CEO was a bad move.

Between prioritizing flashy new feature development over fixing long standing bugs and missing basic features, a move to a more buggy DRM that only hurts their paying customers, and trying to monetize the engine like it was F2P shovelware, this is what we get.

BTW, years ago I tried making a streaming music service that developers would be able to add to their games. Upon submittal to the Unity Asset Store, I was told that the licensing fee would be $100k. How is a one person developer supposed to pay for something like that? I can’t even imagine what they must have been trying to charge Improbable.

Exploring different engines is a must. Unfortunate, since I love the Unity Engine at it’s core and the people that work on it are almost universally awesome.

But as far as I can understand, your ToS became more ambiguous than before. So it did not work…

«However, if a third party service wants to run the Unity Runtime in the cloud with their additional SDK», what does this even mean? Is it talking about a service which embeds the Unity Runtime? If I create a service to manage my server instances and run the game server, is it against the ToS? As far as I can understand, you are telling me I can’t automate my service scaling, distribution, balancing without your authorization (probably not free) first, is that right? Because that would involve third parties messing with Unity Runtime in some way.

You see? Even your blog post is still incomplete and ambiguous.

Ps.: Why even block people from serving their games through stream? You get your cut of the deal anyways… Or is it maybe to get more money from these people?

They’re doing a pretty lousy job of communicating — and this whole matter should have been lawyer to lawyer in arbitration or a court, not blog post to blog post.
The streaming they’re worried about is something like GeForce Now, or PS Now, not something like Twitch. Basically, they’re worried about a game rental model where an entity other than the developer is recognizing most of the revenue off the title. In that case, they want a separate agreement with the streaming company to make sure that they get some royalty money out of it.

Yep I knew it was exactly this. It’s services 101 and the clause was already in Unity long ago: Don’t compete with a services company using it’s own services… duh! :)

This was not already in the ToS, this was changed to be more vague then retroactively applied. As for competing using the same services, look at Fortnite and PUBG, I don’t see Epic hampering Bluehole/PUBG Corp in anyway even though they use the same engine. This just shows that someone at Unity got butthurt at Improbable and this was a knee-jerk reaction and everyone is paying for it.

On a side note I have seen you defending UT for the last few years and whereas you are doing what you can; I would recommend you start easing off to save your sanity. UT will continue to do this kind of thing and there will be a point in time (within the next 5 years I would guess) where you cannot defend them.

He’s an ambassador and admin on their forums, and always rude to new developers and learners. It is in his best interest to side with Unity whenever possible.

Hippo I have to agree, its a bit strange that people are even surprised by this?

Would Microsoft, Apple, Amazon or anyone else let you use their service to build a competing service, without paying them?

I just highly doubt it. Still, it unfortunately has not stopped people melting down, but ultimately it wont hurt unity in the long run as unity is not just a game engine, but a powerful community and I would think (hope) such a community is strong enough to survive some bad PR (lies/foulplay?)

> More than a year ago, we told Improbable in person that they were in violation of our Terms of Service or EULA.

OK, what was their violation?

> Two weeks ago we took the action of turning off Improbable’s Unity Editor license keys. This is a unique case — and not a situation we take lightly — but Improbable left us no choice. This was the only course of action to protect the integrity and value of our technology and Unity developers.

Well that sounds like BS. ‘Protect the integrity and value of our technology and Unity developers’ ? Please. This was all just about Unity wanting to charge Spatial more than they wanted to pay. Prove us wrong.

«what was their violation?»

Ans: Using Unity for there own service is the violation. Btw using Unity for own game on the cloud is legal without extra agreement.

We believe that Improbable has traded and continues to improperly trade on Unity’s engineering effort, goodwill, and reputation by using Unity’s technology and branding in a product that Improbable markets as a game development platform. While Unity is committed to enabling the continued success of customers that develop games using the Unity Engine, Unity will not tolerate Improbable’s improper actions.

Who cares what you «believe»? Take the previous version of ToS and point at exact paragraph which was violated by Improbable. That’s easy and will finish all this rant and flame. Can you do this ?

This is my take; Unity’s business model traditionally revolved around developer licenses. They reached saturation of that market; so they’ve been pushing to make money off of services, especially through extensive partnerships. Ads, hosting, other cloud services.

SpatialOS is a direct competitor in this hot new business target, so Unity decided to shut them down when SpatialOS was unwilling to fork over tons of cash. SpatialOS felt justified in their interpretation of the terms and conditions, but have obviously found themselves in hot water. It’s clear that you should not choose the combination of unity and Spatialos for any new games until Spatialos plays by unity’s rules.

Unreal’s business model already scales with commercial success; with the emergence of esports, Unity wants a bigger share of the pie. They want to double dip by taking percentage revenue from bigger partners as well as developer fees.

I would wager that an influence into this decision was Epic’s multiplayer roadmap where they’ve promised a unity integration. Instances of unity can no longer run in any capacity within that system; maybe that’s OK for Epic, but maybe not.

This approach very much goes against the spirit of democritizing game development. It’s just typical rent seeking behavior in a larger market.

Besides that, the distinction between a generic cloud service and a cloud service + sdk is honestly pretty vague. I wouldn’t be surprised if the definition keeps changing as services find ways around the definition.

Improbable used source code of the unity engine in their own product and sold it back to their customers. Unity warned them for over a year about this because it violates their terms and decided to pull the plug now after Improbable willingly ignored those warnings FOR OVER A YEAR.

Its not hard to understand. You don’t take source code from windows, make your own operating software, and sell it to people without getting sued by Microsoft.

What is so hard to understand about this?

Hi — your understanding of what they were doing is incorrect. The user would make a build on their own computer, then that would be uploaded to their service and would function as a headless server. They were not doing anything with Unity Engine source code.

Your TOS is bad. Everything you said here in this blog is literally the opposite of what the TOS says. Also it makes no sense why you can check the TOS on us anytime you want, and we have to suffer from it.

We were not just reacting to the Improbable blog post, but the specific text of your EULA, which is now so utterly poor that you’ve spooked the entire developer community and seriously damaged the trust in your company. You don’t get to sit there and point the blame at a thirdparty for your own published legal text being so easy to misinterpret.

«—We asked them for money for 2 years. They didn’t pay so we burn their business down despite the fact they paid for several pro licenses. Because we wanted that money and they refused us.»

The current TOS more or less directly states that «you cannot host your unity executable on any game server hosting platform unless you have explicit authorization. And you cannot stream/broadcast your game either»

The language in the TOS is vague enough to allow that interpretation if you want to. This is unacceptable

I’d also add that even the INTENDED restriction you are putting on cloud services/streaming seems to be completely unjustified and goes in direct opposition of your claims to be «democratizing» game development.

Any attempt to restrict the usage of the engine in this way is a massive red flag. It makes us question whether Unity is the right choice for an engine. Secrecy and restrictions belong to the past. The future is all about maximum openness

this isnt the first time you’ve frozen devs out for apparently no reason other than incompetent changes to your ToS. get your management team under control ffs, they should be on a tight leash. dangle some interesting objects in front of them and keep them away from dictating company policy.

If this is correct, then please have your lawyers update the EULA. As it is currently written, it is entirely too broad and impacts normal usage of the engine including streaming and dedicated server hosting.

This is extremely shady.

How can the games that use SpatialOS not be affected by this change, but Improbable is? You do realize that by telling Improbable they can’t do this anymore, you are also screwing over the many developers that use the service for their games?

This is laughably bad. As if I needed more of a reason to stay away from you, this is just the final nail in the coffin for me!

I agree. If you are turning off Improbable’s Unity Licenses, how the hell are developers reliant on Improbable’s infrastructure not going to be affected in any way?? This doesn’t make any sense, please clarify.

This post actually does very little to assure me that my project with Unity + SpatialOS still has a future. If you are cutting off Improbable because of some dispute (justified or not), I, as a developer, will be impacted.

I did not like that unity is seeing spatial os as a platform. Would it mean if I get help from an other company to host my servers this will be a violation? For me it still sounds like if you need help for hosting complex things, then please with unity or maybe later google cloud but not with others. Why you consider Spatial os as platform? Does not make sense for me. And other engines seems not to have problems with it. And I though unity is cool. It isn’t like windows or android. You even not compile for it or would you integrate otherwise spatial os as a build target?
Just let them do. All developers are still paying the unity licences.

If I run a game server using Photon instead of the HLAPI / LLAPI (because you neglected networking for 4+ years) does unity consider it ‘a platform’?
If I run a game server using Mirror (formerly HLAPI Pro) instead of the HLAPI / LLAPI does unity consider it a platform?

Does the indy developer supporting Mirror need to get in contact with your legal team?
Does photon need to do the same?

PUN, Realtime and Quantam are not affected by the TOS changes, Photon Bolt is however, and you need explicit permission from Unity to run headless Unity instances. Source : Photon Facebook Post

This blog post is a great step in remedying this situation. I am happy long as these statements become reflected in an updated ToS.

This makes no sense.

How can you say any Unity game developer using SpatialOS shouldn’t worry when you’ve just revoked the Unity licenses of the company that makes SpatialOS?

How is Improbable supposed to help their Unity users when they can’t even use Unity.

Thanks for the clarification, Joachim. Now it’s time to rewrite clause 2.4 because it’s laughably bad at the moment. Can we also have clarification on our headless server hosted on our choice of hosting company and uses mysql.dll and Steamworks — is that a «platform» or is it ok?

Please specify what exactly determines ‘a platform’ If we use a 3rd party program that replaces the HLAPI / LLAPI is this a platform?

Also, if one of the developers that you hired to work on your new networking solution with Google leaves your company, will you leave your networking slot open for 4 years like what happened to HLAPI?

So if we want to run headless servers for our game, we must do everything ourselves or use a Unity-approved third-party? The list of approved third-parties ( is surprisingly small for such an important change. Can the criteria for becoming an authorized streaming platform/sdk/etc at least be publicly known? If a company like Improbable can’t become one of these approved third-parties, that’s a big worry — clear criteria & explanations would help, and prevent this from just being «gatekeeping for the sake of gatekeeping». So far right now, this issue seems to just go against Unity’s mission of democratizing game development — there’s no real reason for it, other than «our EULA says so».

This simply isn’t what the ToS currently say, no matter how you interpret it.
Additionally in regards to Improbable, if you take the Editor licences from a developer, how are they expect to support their customers on that platform? They won’t be able to is the truth, and thus will be forced to abandon its support, no matter how many emails we send to support@unity. By taking that action you are indirectly stalling production or canning countless developers using their networking solution

This a pretty big blog post that shows the complete opposite what is stated in the new TOS. Might want to get your actual lawyers to help you write the post and explain it instead of completely over-ruling it now.

@Matthew Pruitt: Please be cautious about accusing other companies of providing false or incorrect informations. Defamation. It is now documented, so if Improbables is smart it will now use this against you, and there is good chance that they will benefit from it. Next time please double check your posts not by some wacky PR or internet guy, but by your legal department or an actual lawyer, if possible.

As for the actual debate: Please provide an update to your TOS as soon as possible. We are now, as a company, forced to review your TOS by our lawyers, but I will let you know what they think, if there is anything worth mentioning, of course.

I am not sure what to tell you. It is in fact very much in line with the TOS and our lawyers did in fact help out on this blog post to ensure its accurate.

Let’s agree to disagree. I your blog post was accurate then SpatialOS would not have violated any clause of the TOS.
There are no rebranding Unity in any way and their service is no different to using a cloud service such as AWS.

SpatialOS = Cloud + independent streaming library

you are just greedy and going the Oracle way (which is not a good example). Yet, what should we expect from a former EA executive?

Have you actually read your ToS?

«You may not directly or indirectly distribute the Unity Software, including the runtime portion of the Unity Software (the “Unity Runtime”), or your Project Content (if it incorporates the Unity Runtime) by means of streaming or broadcasting so that any portion of the Unity Software is primarily executed on or simulated by the cloud or a remote server and transmitted over the Internet or other network to end user devices without a separate license or authorization from Unity»

That very clearly says that I cannot run my server on the cloud or a remote server at all.

Then you go on with «Without limiting the foregoing…» so none of the extra stuff in that paragraph limits that draconian ToS

This is hitting on a larger issue with Unity’s general strategy.

If you want to ‘democratize’ game development, you need to release your stranglehold on your platform and its uses. Nothing in your blog points toward an interest in helping the game development environment in general, and I might point out that you have competitors that are ‘doing it better’, both in spirit, and in action.

Asking the real questions, Garry. This is a seriously disappointing step from Unity, it seems they’re trying to bully Improbable into being a “partner” — whatever that really means (give them more money.)

I’ve studied it and unless Valve/Steamworks is an *unofficial* Unity Authorized Streaming Platform Partner, then it’s now illegal to use the Steamworks SDK. Consult your lawyers right now! Don’t believe Unity’s PR whitewash. They’re probably not lawyers and EULAs are law. Blog posts aren’t.

It’s like the CEO who says «Trust me, I’ll give you at least a week’s notice if I need to lay you off» then lays you off a month later, the workday before Christmas, and gives you 5 minutes notice (happened to me!).

Thank you for this update post. This is reassuring the many, including myself.

One thing, would you mind clarifying what the «Unity Runtime» is exactly? Some have been speculating that it means the editor (since the ToS seems to define Unity Software as the editor and Unity Runtime as a subset of that). Does it mean Unity Editor or Unity builds?

The runtime denotes a ‘build’ of your game, not the editor. So any build, headless or not that is running is considered a process using Unity’s runtime.

To be completely clear.. A blog post is PR spin, a ToS is a binding legal agreement. Your blog is a complete 180 from the current ToS. When can we expect an update?

If you host your own server and manage your own runtime instances, it is not considered third party. If you use a 3rd party service that hosts and manages your runtime instances it is considered third party which is what the clause relates to.

But are your end users considered a 3rd party? From what I understand. If YOU(the dev) rents a server that does not utilize any SDK, like AWS, you’re in the clear. But it is not clear if my end users, the players are allowed to do the same.

You the game developer or publisher are not a third party to your own game. So gamers hosting their own games on the cloud is totally fine.

So if this blog is being completely honest can we expect an update to the ToS quickly that clearly states we are not in violation of the ToS by executing a Unity runtime on a «remote or cloud based server» because that is what it states today… A response would be appreciated.

I can see this on Reddit pretty quickly or Google News in my phone. People will talk. — Now I’m worried and looking for alternatives. Those comments are scary… and I want my company to have the rules of the game on the table each time I create something.

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