Unity Gets in a Spat With SpatialOS Developers

Posted by alphaatlas 10:05 AM (CST)

Friday January 11, 2019

Improbable Game's SpatialOS Engine and cloud service are behind a number of promising, upcoming MMOs, including Worlds Adrift , Mavericks: Proving Grounds, an MMOFPS called Scavengers, and a mysterious project from Runescape developers Jagex. But yesterday, Improbable released a statement saying that a change in Unity's terms of service puts all existing Unity SpatialOS games at risk. Improbable lashed out at Unity for doing "harm to projects across the industry, including those of extremely vulnerable or small scale developers and damaged major projects in development over many years," but later that day, Unity responded by saying that Improbable broke their terms of service, that no existing or unfinished games are at risk, and that they clearly communicated this information to Improbable many months ago. Improbable later issued a half-apology, and Epic Games, of all companies, jumped into the fight and announced a $25 Million fund to help developers migrate to "more open engines" (like, for example, Epic's Unreal Engine). Overall, the situation looks like a mess, and many developers behind the upcoming MMOs seem confused, to say the least. Thanks to for spotting the dispute.

Perhaps it's time to create a code of conduct, or basic set of principles that the enablers within the ecosystem need to operate by, as against developers and clearly also players. The law is a useful tool in disputes, but as today has shown, in game development reputation and trust can be equally powerful. As a first step, we may be able to self-police, or at least experiment with informal principles to help guide this space.