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Unity have updated their Terms of Service and they seem a lot more fair

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After the debacle (and this) over Unity and Improbable's SpatialOS, it seems Unity has made some solid steps after a lot of feedback on their Terms of Service.

To save you a click, from the other article I did, here's a very concise version of what happened:

- Improbable put out a blog post, claiming Unity overnight blocked SpatialOS and made Unity out to be a real bad company. Improbable then open source their Unity GDK.

- Unity made their own response, mentioning that they told Improbable a year ago about the issues.

- Epic Games and Improbable team up to help developers switch game engines.

They took a lot of heat for what happened, some of it was rightly deserved and some not so. From the post Unity has put out, it looks like their team has taken a lot of the recent feedback to heart.

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.

The problem is that Unity's TOS weren't clear enough, many developers had an issue with them and Unity's ability to change the terms whenever they felt like it was highlighted as an issue too. Unity has addressed that too, saying that developers will now be locked into the terms "for the same major (year based) version number" which sounds a lot more sane and allows developers to note have any sudden issues. If you're going to use a proprietary game engine, knowing what the terms are and knowing they will stay the same is pretty important, you don't want things suddenly pulled out from under your feet.

Setting the record as straight as possible, SpatialOS is no longer an issue as well as Unity say:

Today’s change in our TOS means Improbable is no longer in breach by providing you a service, and that we are able to reinstate their licenses. But we do not consider them a partner, and cannot vouch for how their service works with Unity as we have no insight into their technology or how they run their business.

Hopefully this will settle any lingering issues developers had with Unity. I'm no Unity developer, but to me the newer and updated terms sound a lot more fair to everyone who would want to make use of Unity.

They also put some extra bits, to make it clearer on how you can use the Unity name and logos.

See the full blog post here. If you have questions, they're hosting an AMA (Ask me anything) on Reddit at 6PM UTC.

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11 comments
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rkfg 16 January 2019 at 4:06 pm UTC
And that's why competition is so important. Unity and UE4 are so close that Epic's migration initiative could really harm Unity's business. So they pulled back and everyone won because of that (except maybe Epic).
eldaking 16 January 2019 at 4:13 pm UTC
I think there was one more step, with Improbable claiming that Unity had explicitly told them they were not in violation and the entire "notified one year ago" was solved.

Anyway, it is certainly an advancement on one front, but proprietary software is still a huge liability.

As for the other companies involved, you know what would be actually cool? If Epic, instead of opportunistically giving money for people to use their (equally proprietary) engine, open sourced Unreal to actually solve the issue. Or if Improbable partnered with Godot instead.
tuubi 16 January 2019 at 4:27 pm UTC
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liamdaweThere is still one part that could be an issue, although not a big one, which is this:
QuoteThird 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;
So unless you're approved by Unity, any service that integrates with it won't be able to display their logo.
Aren't you ignoring the words "a stylized version" in that quote?
liamdawe 16 January 2019 at 4:28 pm UTC
tuubi
liamdaweThere is still one part that could be an issue, although not a big one, which is this:
QuoteThird 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;
So unless you're approved by Unity, any service that integrates with it won't be able to display their logo.
Aren't you ignoring the words "a stylized version" in that quote?
Blerg, i totally misread that bit, adjusted.


Last edited by liamdawe at 16 January 2019 at 4:47 pm UTC
rkfg 16 January 2019 at 4:39 pm UTC
eldakingAnyway, it is certainly an advancement on one front, but proprietary software is still a huge liability.

As for the other companies involved, you know what would be actually cool? If Epic, instead of opportunistically giving money for people to use their (equally proprietary) engine, open sourced Unreal to actually solve the issue. Or if Improbable partnered with Godot instead.
That's true. It seems that Godot lacks the publicity level the major engines have and also cool (if not AAA) games made on it. Open the main page. Can you see the showcase? Because that's usually what you'd want to see first though I can only talk for myself of course. The showcase should, well, showcase the engine so you'd know the game quality that can be achieved. For that the engine developers might want to pick the best looking games. So, I need to make two clicks to reach that page, it's in "Community" for some reason.

I skimmed through the showcase and unfortunately the Godot games are numerous but not very shiny, they're mostly 2D. Not that 2D is bad or anything but it doesn't look as exciting as another super cool action game with high res textures and bright bloom all over the place. The gameplay might be shit but it's not what people look for. They want to know if the engine is capable of producing high fidelity visuals (UE4 set the bar quite high and now when you hear about a new UE4 game you know it has to look great). On the main page Godot promises 'Gorgeous 3D' but there's nothing in the showcase to back that claim.

You might not even want or know how to create games but you'll remember that 'Godot = cool' and tell your friends that, and some of them might choose it for their first/next game. If the engine looks exciting it will be used more and then it would be able to compete with Unity, UE4 and CryEngine. Not just technologically but on the user base size level (which is even more important I think). Again, IMO.


Last edited by rkfg at 16 January 2019 at 4:47 pm UTC
SilverCode 16 January 2019 at 8:27 pm UTC
eldakingI think there was one more step, with Improbable claiming that Unity had explicitly told them they were not in violation and the entire "notified one year ago" was solved.

Anyway, it is certainly an advancement on one front, but proprietary software is still a huge liability.

As for the other companies involved, you know what would be actually cool? If Epic, instead of opportunistically giving money for people to use their (equally proprietary) engine, open sourced Unreal to actually solve the issue. Or if Improbable partnered with Godot instead.
Unreal Engine 4 is already Open Source. Do you maybe not mean change the license to be a more permissive royalty free one?
Kristian 16 January 2019 at 9:16 pm UTC
SilverCode
eldakingI think there was one more step, with Improbable claiming that Unity had explicitly told them they were not in violation and the entire "notified one year ago" was solved.

Anyway, it is certainly an advancement on one front, but proprietary software is still a huge liability.

As for the other companies involved, you know what would be actually cool? If Epic, instead of opportunistically giving money for people to use their (equally proprietary) engine, open sourced Unreal to actually solve the issue. Or if Improbable partnered with Godot instead.
Unreal Engine 4 is already Open Source. Do you maybe not mean change the license to be a more permissive royalty free one?

No, UE4 is NOT open source. Their license requirements are far from being in compliance with the open source definition: https://opensource.org/osd-annotated
TheSHEEEP 17 January 2019 at 7:51 am UTC
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Kristian
SilverCode
eldakingI think there was one more step, with Improbable claiming that Unity had explicitly told them they were not in violation and the entire "notified one year ago" was solved.

Anyway, it is certainly an advancement on one front, but proprietary software is still a huge liability.

As for the other companies involved, you know what would be actually cool? If Epic, instead of opportunistically giving money for people to use their (equally proprietary) engine, open sourced Unreal to actually solve the issue. Or if Improbable partnered with Godot instead.
Unreal Engine 4 is already Open Source. Do you maybe not mean change the license to be a more permissive royalty free one?

No, UE4 is NOT open source. Their license requirements are far from being in compliance with the open source definition: https://opensource.org/osd-annotated
You can view something's sources? Open source to me.
I don't think a website called opensource.org gets to define what open source is or isn't by putting up additional requirements.

As that would lead to sentences like "The sources are open, but it isn't open source."
That just doesn't sound right to me.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP at 17 January 2019 at 7:52 am UTC
rkfg 17 January 2019 at 7:59 am UTC
TheSHEEEP 17 January 2019 at 8:13 am UTC
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Well, guess my opinion differs from the official definitions then.
*shrug*
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