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Improbable, the UK-based maker of the SpatialOS Game Development Kit (GDK) for the Unity game engine, on Thursday warned that all Unity-based titles integrating its GDK are now violating Unity's Terms of Service.
In a blog post, the company informed customers that Unity changed its terms of service on December 5, and on Wednesday got in touch to explain that its terms of service "specifically disallow services like Improbable’s to function with their engine."
SpatialOS - GDK - Cloud - Platform - Multiplayer
The SpatialOS GDK provides a cloud platform to serve real-time multiplayer games. It can be integrated into various game engines, such as Unity, Unreal Engine, and Cryengine.
Such tools are often used by small and mid-tier gaming companies to hasten software development. Larger gaming companies tend to build their own technology to limit reliance on vendors, though Blizzard chose Unity for its popular Hearthstone card game.
Upshot - Multiplayer - Games - SpatialOS - Result
The upshot is that multiplayer games built using SpatialOS may have to be pulled offline as a result of being in breach of Unity's fine print, though at least one developer, Bossa Studios, has been assured its SpatialOS-based title, Worlds Adrift, can stay up and running while Unity and Improbable work through this falling out.
In a phone interview with The Register, Daniel Griffiths, head of communications for Improbable, said he couldn't provide any insight into why Unity singled the company out.
Thing - Terms - Service - Restriction - Streaming
"The thing that changed in the terms of service is a restriction on streaming and cloud gaming, specifically managed services," he said. "We believe it's that change that led to the identification of our service. It's a managed platform for multiplayer gaming. It's effectively a network backend product."
Section 2.4 of Unity's software terms of service forbids streaming or broadcasting Unity software, including the Unity Runtime, if it's executed or simulated by a remote server and transmitted over any network to an end user device...
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