After last week's controversy involving Unity and Improbable, Unity has once again updated their Terms of Service. The controversy between both companies was in part due to an update to Section 2.4 of Unity's TOS. Improbable's SpatialOS, a multiplayer cloud platform, was in violation of the new clause. On the Unity3D blog, Joachim Ante wrote that the Unity team was listening to feedback. He agreed that the previous iteration of the Terms of Service and End User License Agreement (EULA) were "too restrictive."
When you make a game with Unity, you own the content and you should have the right to put it wherever you want. Our TOS didn’t reflect this principle – something that is not in line with who we are.Unity charges a flat fee to developers, rather than engaging in revenue sharing. Ante writes that the update on December 5 was an attempt to better define some terms in their cloud and promote a clearer business model.
Section 2.4 of the Unity TOS has since been updated for clarity. Most notably, the update makes clear that developers are free to use any third party service compatible with Unity. Not all services, however, will necessarily be supported. Developers using legacy versions of Unity may abide by the older TOS under some conditions.
When you obtain a version of Unity, and don’t upgrade your project, we think you should be able to stick to that version of the TOS.Ante wrote that Improbable was in violation of Unity TOS even before the December update. He added that the company misrepresented its affiliation with Unity. The news had a domino effect, impacting several games produced using the development tools. Titles such as Scavengers and Spilt Milk Studios' Lazarus now worried that they violated Unity's TOS. Development for numerous projects suddenly halted. The ambiguity of the December 5 update left many developers unsure of their projects' futures. Many unanswered questions about what the changes to the TOS meant for them lingered.
In practice, that is only possible if you have access to bug fixes. For this reason, we now allow users to continue to use the TOS for the same major (year-based) version number, including Long Term Stable (LTS) builds that you are using in your project.
Moving forward, we will host TOS changes on Github to give developers full transparency about what changes are happening, and when. The link is https://github.com/Unity-Technologies/TermsOfService.
Today, however, Unity revised its Terms and clarified additional points. At this point, Improbable and its SpatialOS are no longer breaching the TOS. Improbable's license has therefore been reinstated. SpatialOS can be used for development and shipping again, although it is not officially supported by Unity. During the controversy, Epic Games and Improbable mentioned establishing a $25 million fund to help developers transition to more open engines and services. At the time of writing, these plans are still in place.
Unity's updated section of the TOS is below.
Section 2.4 Working with Third Party Service Providers.To engage with community members and generate dialogue, Joachim Ante is hosting an AMA today on r/Unity3d at 10 a.m. PST.
Unity developers are free to use any service offered to Unity developers (each, a “Third Party Service”). Unity does not have any obligation to provide support for any Third Party Service provider or Third Party Service under this Agreement.
Third Party Service providers may not, without Unity’s express written permission: (1) use a stylized version of any Unity name, trademark, logos, images or product icons, or other Unity-owned graphic symbols; (2) use a product name confusingly similar to a Unity product or that could be construed by Unity developers as being a Unity product or service; or (3) create or use any marketing materials that suggest an affiliation with, or endorsement by, Unity. All use of Unity’s trademarks must comply with Unity’s Trademark Guidelines.