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Update: Unity have now responded. Bit of a headscratcher! Unity won't go after people using it, but they're removing any chance Spatial has to actually support it at all. They also said in comments they will make their TOS clearer.

Original article below:

While not directly related to Linux gaming, this is still some interesting news to be aware of for those working with the Unity game engine. Especially so, since both the Unity editor and Unity games (if the developer makes it so) work on Linux.

The team behind SpatialOS, a "managed cloud services" provider just announced that "all existing SpatialOS games using Unity, including production games and in development games of all developers, are now in breach of Unity’s license terms" which doesn't sound good at all.

Unity changed their terms of service last month, which specifically mentions this:

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.

This new restriction, is likely going to impact quite a few multiplayer games that were using Unity and SpatialOS. Using the wise words of developer Simon Roth on Twitter "Unity is looking to fully control who is allowed create cloud based games. It also means that they can control who starts a game streaming service." and that sounds pretty bad.

It doesn't seem to affect "normal" dedicated server hosting though, just to be clear on that point. The main points seem to be specifically involving streaming. I'm not entirely clear on just how different that is though in this case.

Here's the thing, Unity acquired the game hosting part of the company Multiplay back in 2017 so it's likely a case of Unity wanting to squeeze money out of every other provider, to put them off and get more people to use Unity's own services with their game engine.

As a non-developer, it's still all somewhat confusing I will admit. However, the idea that you pay to use a game engine like Unity as a service (since you don't actually own the Unity copy, it's only a license) and they set the restrictions on what platforms you can run on? Sounds bonkers to me.

See more here.

Ps. Good time to mention the FOSS Godot Engine.

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TheSHEEEP 10 January 2019 at 9:14 pm UTC
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codythedragondudeWhen unity stops being about unity
Have you heard of a company called Electronic Arts? ;)


Last edited by TheSHEEEP at 10 January 2019 at 9:14 pm UTC
RFSharpe 10 January 2019 at 9:22 pm UTC
An interesting sidelight:

I have used MultiPlay servers for over five years for both communication (Mumble) and game servers. I got a notification from MultiPlay last Thursday (1/3/2019) that the servers that I purchase will be shut down on the 28th of February 2019. The email had this link to the MultiPlay Blog:

https://multiplay.com/2019/01/03/important-information-regarding-multiplays-community-server-offering/

There are two takeaways that I get from this post:
1. They have decided to "close our community server offering",
2. Their new business model will focus on "providing services direct to game creators and a better experience for gamers"

I am having a hard time sorting this all out, but my first thought is that MultiPlay (now owned by Unity) is gearing up to be a/the gaming platform for Unity based games.


Last edited by RFSharpe at 15 January 2019 at 4:41 am UTC
liamdawe 10 January 2019 at 9:51 pm UTC
RFSharpeAn interesting sidelight:

I have used MultiPlay servers for over five years for both communication (Mumble) and game servers. I got a notification from MultiPlay last Thursday (1/3/2019) that the servers that I purchase will be shut down on the 28th of February 2019. The email had this link to the MultiPlay Blog:

https://multiplay.com/2019/01/03/important-information-regarding-multiplays-community-server-offering/

There are two takeaways that I get from this post:
1. They have decided to "close our community server offering",
2. Their new business model will focus on "providing services direct to game creators and a better experience for gamers"

I am having a hard time sorting this all out, but my first thought is that MultiPlay (now owned by Unity) is gearing up to be gaming platform for Unity based games.
I was wondering how long it would be before something like that happened, it was obvious once Unity purchased them that's the way it would be going.

I now just use https://linuxgsm.com/ on a cheap cloud unit if I want to host a game server.
iiari 10 January 2019 at 11:35 pm UTC
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liamdaweI was wondering how long it would be before something like that happened, it was obvious once Unity purchased them that's the way it would be going.

And one could argue, with their subsidies, Epic wants their store to be the platform the Unreal engine...
Ananace 10 January 2019 at 11:56 pm UTC
liamdaweUnity have responded: https://blogs.unity3d.com/2019/01/10/our-response-to-improbables-blog-post-and-why-you-can-keep-working-on-your-spatialos-game/

I think I can see what Unity is trying to get at here;

QuoteAs 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.

So basically they want their ToS to basically say that you're not allowed to do Game as a Service - or Game-Server as a Service - systems. You're only allowed to run instances of your game on systems that you implicitly own by paying for them, so systems that are owned by other providers aren't allowed to run your game for you unless you - as the games developer - pay them to do so.

Going to be interesting to see how they're planning on writing this in legalese without making it really easy to abuse, as you could easily misconstrue this to mean that players aren't allowed to host their own servers for your games, meaning you have to provide all server hosting if you want to do Unity games.
Creak 11 January 2019 at 4:08 am UTC
It's indeed a bit confusing, but I think most of the confusion comes from the fact that most people don't know that Unity is used for far more than just games.

In the case of games, it's not a problem as long as the game developers bought their licenses or stayed with the free version of Unity. Once the game is released, if the game has ads in it (like in most mobile games), then Unity receives some cash.

But if you're doing a regular application with Unity, it's trickier. It will depend on the purpose of this application. Say this application is a VR ad for a car. The car company bought their Unity licenses, they can publish their ad wherever they want, everyone is happy.

But what if the application is a web service allowing game developers to use the Unity runtime for free. The base company paid for one license and no one else is paying a license. As much as free is good, Unity still needs to have a viable business model, and this sort of loophole is a problem for their business model.

That is why basically they're saying that games aren't impacted by the new ToS/EULA, but service providers can't profit off of this loophole anymore.

Unity started to speak with Improbable two years ago! But Improbable stated on twitter that it was a complete surprise for them... I'm disappointed by this kind of behaviour, I must say.


Last edited by Creak at 11 January 2019 at 4:11 am UTC. Edited 5 times.
codythedragondude 11 January 2019 at 5:24 am UTC
TheSHEEEP
codythedragondudeWhen unity stops being about unity
Have you heard of a company called Electronic Arts? ;)
Yeah they used to make games i think
i heard they make gambling simulators now
DerpFox 11 January 2019 at 7:10 am UTC
Will this impact streamed/cloud computers like Shadow? ( https://shadow.tech/ )

I mean obviously the computer being hosted on a VM then streamed to the customer does this count as a streaming service or as a computer?
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