The ongoing saga of Unity vs Improbable has finally come to an end, with Unity reinstating Improbable’s Unity licenses, rewriting the controversial Section 2.4 of their EULA and also implementing a change so EULA/Terms of Service agreements are perpetual to the attached Unity version. This change makes developers mostly immune to retroactive EULA updates, a big point of contention in this entire ordeal. If this entire event is new to you, you can read about how it started here, then how Unity responded here, how Unreal Engine took advantage here and finally an update from Improbable on how their technology worked with Unity here. With the clarifications from Unity, I think we can declare this entire conflict resolved.
Unity blog on the update to the terms of service:
Today we have updated our Terms of Service, Section 2.4. The language is at the bottom of this post.
The TOS update highlights that developers can use any third party service that integrate into Unity.
Some of these services will be supported, others will not.
The distinction is that with a supported service, we understand the technology. We make sure the service and Unity work better together for developers. We also ensure that the supported service always runs well on the latest version of our software, so we can help future proof your project in Unity and ensure access to the latest tech.
Additionally we have created, and will continue to create our own services. We will integrate our own services, but we will not block developers from using competitive third-party services.
Details on the change regarding retroactive terms of service changes:
When you obtain a version of Unity, and don’t upgrade your project, we think you should be able to stick to that version of the TOS.
In practice that is only possible if you have access to bug fixes. Thus, we now allow users to continue to use the TOS for the same major (year based) version number, including Long Term Stable (LTS) builds that you are using in your project.
Moving forward, we will host TOS changes on Github to give developers full transparency to what changes are happening, and when. The link is https://github.com/Unity-Technologies/TermsOfService.
And finally, an update on the status of Improbable:
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.
We know Improbable was in violation even before the December TOS update and misrepresented their affiliation with us. Although SpatialOS is not a supported third-party service, it can continue to be used for development and shipping games.
We are holding an AMA on r/Unity3d at 10 a.m. PST to discuss this TOS update in more detail.
And finally, the new and much improved section 2.4:
Unity developers are free to use any service offered to Unity developers (each, a “Third Party Service”). Unity does not have any obligation to provide support for any Third Party Service provider or Third Party Service under this Agreement.
Third 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; (2) use a product name confusingly similar to a Unity product or that could be construed by Unity developers as being a Unity product or service; or (3) create or use any marketing materials that suggest an affiliation with, or endorsement by, Unity. All use of Unity’s trademarks must comply with Unity’s Trademark Guidelines.
This… is why you never watch the sausage being made… it ain’t pretty until it’s done, but in the end, you’ve got a delicious sausage I suppose.