Well… this has certainly been an interesting day. It started off with Improbable blogging about how their license with Unity had been terminated due to ToS changes and that they would no longer be able to function as a cloud based networking layer for Unity game developers. Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney chimed in on Twitter about how bad of a mistake this move was. Then at the end of the day, Unity responded essentially saying Improbable was lying, clarifying what the news terms of service mean for mean for Unity developers and “platforms”. So that’s the end of the story… right?
Enter Epic Games, announcing a partnership with Improbable, and a $25 million dollar fund to “help developers transition to more open engines, services, and ecosystems”. Details from the Unreal Engine blog:
First, we want to reaffirm our partnership. Unreal Engine provides full C++ source code for everyone, and its license (https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/eula) ensures it remains open to all game developers and middleware providers, and enables all to collaborate together through SDKs, services, and forks of the source code. Likewise, Improbable is developing a completely open Unreal integration for its online game development platform, SpatialOS. The combination enables developers to rapidly build and deploy both session-based and persistent online worlds across all platforms with the functionality of Unreal Engine and the increased possibilities of distributed computing and cloud services.
Epic Games’ partnership with Improbable, and the integration of Improbable’s cloud-based development platform SpatialOS, is based on shared values, and a shared belief in how companies should work together to support mutual customers in a straightforward, no-surprises way.
We believe we are at the beginning of an unprecedented age of inclusive online games that become parts of our everyday lives. Enabling this will take much more than Epic or Improbable; it will take a vastly more mature, broad-based industry to enable this future: a community of companies connected by values such as fair and openly disclosed business terms, respect for developer choice, and full interoperability between platforms, software, and services. We encourage others with a similar vision to reach out, so we can find ways to make it come sooner.
To assist developers who are left in limbo by the new engine and service incompatibilities that were introduced today, Epic Games and Improbable are together establishing a US $25,000,000 combined fund to help developers transition to more open engines, services, and ecosystems. This funding will come from a variety of sources including Unreal Dev Grants, Improbable developer assistance funds, and Epic Games store funding.