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Epic, Improbable create $25 million fund to transition devs away from Unity

Oct 25, 2017
364
For people saying Improbable is in the wrong, here's the old terms of service. ("Last Updated June 28, 2016")

Streaming and Cloud Gaming Restrictions

You may not directly or indirectly distribute Your Project Content by means of streaming or broadcasting where Your Project Content is primarily executed on a server and transmitted as a video stream or via low level graphics render commands over the open Internet to end user devices without a separate license from Unity. This restriction does not prevent end users from remotely accessing Your Project Content from an end user device that is running on another end user device.
It's pretty clear that this is talking about game streaming service like Playstation Now and not multiplayer servers.

It is a little vaguer under the Feb 21, 2018 terms but if you were familiar with the previous license it's not unlikely that you would assume it was still only talking about game streaming service, because of the clause "by means of streaming or broadcasting".
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Oct 27, 2017
1,782
wasnt unity already losing marketshare to begin with? I have seen way less unity games in the the last 18 months, and more ue4 games from indies/mid teir.
 
Oct 26, 2017
354
It's weird to me how much this has been escalating but Improbable sounds not very transparent to me from the first post. It isn't very characteristic of Unity to shut down their operations so quickly but many believed it was true.

Unity's reaction makes more sense to me and I do trust that more. The TOS can still be difficult to interpret though, but I don't think that should require this much outrage. Hopefully they'll eventually adjust it again to clarify, but legal things like that can take a long time and it is not the only time I see...questionable things for game development in a TOS without it being addressed.

Then we got Epic eagerly money-hatting just about anything happily taking advantage of the confusion. It is also cute to see Sweeney talk about infringing developer rights to freely choose services and stuff and I'm sure it is true, but at the same time they are still strongly persuading developers from exclusively publishing on the Epic store. At least I have trouble imagining every Epic store exclusive doesn't have a clause somewhere limiting them from publishing elsewhere.


wasnt unity already losing marketshare to begin with? I have seen way less unity games in the the last 18 months, and more ue4 games from indies/mid teir.
I haven't seen any indication of that but I don't think there are any statistics on it.
 
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Oct 29, 2017
711
wasnt unity already losing marketshare to begin with? I have seen way less unity games in the the last 18 months, and more ue4 games from indies/mid teir.
Unity isn’t only video games.

Also Unity is a far better engine now than it was a few years ago, and Unity developers are getting better. So you might not even notice it when a game is running on Unity.

source: am professional unity developer

Anyhow, weird story. Not sure who to believe. Unity always strikes me as a rather altruistic company so I do find it harder to believe that they’re trying to fuck over Improbable
 
Oct 26, 2017
6,007
Could it be possible that they knew about Unity change for a long time but stayed silent and made deal with Epic before deadline Unity gave them so they can push this initiative and throw shade on Unity when deadline came?
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,851
For people saying Improbable is in the wrong, here's the old terms of service. ("Last Updated June 28, 2016")

It's pretty clear that this is talking about game streaming service like Playstation Now and not multiplayer servers.

It is a little vaguer under the Feb 21, 2018 terms but if you were familiar with the previous license it's not unlikely that you would assume it was still only talking about game streaming service, because of the clause "by means of streaming or broadcasting".
I'd say the new terms are quite clear in their limitation about where you can execute instances - and that it restricts you from doing so on anywhere but end user client devices.

Unity has no business telling people where or how they can stream-distribute their games in any case.

I think the vast majority of games would not be affected based on the outlined intent in Unity's blog post, but the terms still speak for themselves. I think for tool-makers or services integrating with Unity, it could be very worrying. I'm not sure I'd build a business adjacent to Unity now. I think for some games that might cross over into 'platform' territory (e.g. those with ugc), it could be very worrying. The precedent that Unity can retroactively upend an assumption about what control you have over your game is worrying for everyone using Unity.

And blogs are one thing, but it's the ToS Unity would take you to court on.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
670
Unity isn’t only video games.

Also Unity is a far better engine now than it was a few years ago, and Unity developers are getting better. So you might not even notice it when a game is running on Unity.

source: am professional unity developer

Anyhow, weird story. Not sure who to believe. Unity always strikes me as a rather altruistic company so I do find it harder to believe that they’re trying to fuck over Improbable
Read their old ToS and then read their new one. Unity is a business that is struggling with the fact that devs only pay for per-set licenses, whereas Unreal has a business model that gives it a percentage share of the money a game makes. Therefore Unity is trying to entice devs with their own services. This is entirely speculation on my part tho.

Unity's ToS are more restrictive in this one sense, and them changing it retroactively like this is worrying if as a Dev, you want confidence that you will have full control of what you can do with the end-product you make.
 
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gordofredito

Banned
Member
Jan 16, 2018
2,992
Unity is not particularly fun to use any ways. It has a lot of accessibility and coding for C# is way easier than C++, but in all honesty, Unreal is so robust, I don't think we would lose much from Unity going away
 
Oct 25, 2017
355
Great publicity stunt by Improbable and Epic. Who knows for how long they have been planning it. Hopefully Unity releases proof that Improbable were aware of the breaking of the ToS for more than a year and didn't let devs know.
 
Oct 29, 2017
711
Read their old ToS and then read their new one. Unity is a business that is struggling with the fact that devs only pay for per-set licenses, whereas Unreal has a business model that gives it a percentage share of the money a game makes. Therefore Unity is trying to entice devs with their own services. This is entirely speculation on my part tho.

Unity's ToS are more restrictive in this one sense, and them changing it retroactively like this is worrying if as a Dev, you want confidence that you will have full control of what you can do with the end-product you make.
Yea I hear you and I am agreeing with you. I think there's already some costs attached to using Unity Analytics? And it's clear that they want to control multiplayer stuff themselves (to some extent) with the upcoming new networking layer and services.

For now I'm not worried about my business, as I am not using any of their services and the pretty much the only things I build in Unity are b2b offline AR apps.

I'm just not picking sides until things are more clear and the dust has settled. It's just that my experience with dealing with Unity personally is that they're pretty chill about tons of stuff, but that's anecdotal at best.

At the very least this whole debacle has been mostly a bad look for Unity (especially with Sweeney swooping in with the fuck you money), which might make them rethink their ToS.

Unity is not particularly fun to use any ways. It has a lot of accessibility and coding for C# is way easier than C++, but in all honesty, Unreal is so robust, I don't think we would lose much from Unity going away
Why do you think this will make Unity go away?
 
Oct 25, 2017
355
A clarification about Unity ToS. Unity allows and encourages you to run headless servers for your realtime multiplayer games. Unity doesn't allow building a platform that offers services that use the Unity runtime, you need a different agreement with them. SpacialOS falls clearly under the definition of “platform” because what they do is wrap code produced by the customer and create a binary file, that means that the server code is produced with Improbable license and the client code with the customer license.
 
Oct 28, 2017
3,682
EU
Epic is really making moves. Seems like they are using all that Fortnite money to invest in different directions for the future. Especially regarding their engine.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,050
Chesire, UK
I'm no fan of Epic, but this is a smart and fast move and in this case they are bang on the money.

Here's hoping Unity learn a very painful lesson from this shit show.
 

EkStatiC

Banned
Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,241
Greece
Could it be possible that they knew about Unity change for a long time but stayed silent and made deal with Epic before deadline Unity gave them so they can push this initiative and throw shade on Unity when deadline came?
The whole think smell to be staged for miles away.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Oct 25, 2017
193
That is not what we were talking about. If they knew in advance that ToS will change they could talk with Epic and plan to throw this shade on Unity. Organizing this fund in couple of hours is something I have issue to believe in. It would take much longer.
I feel it does relate to the subject in some way, though. The link I posted earlier lines up roughly with when Improbable said the ToS changed.

It seems, well, improbable that they were plotting for ages to try and bring down Unity for a share of Epic's money and cause their very own customers to panic and possibly discontinue subscription to the SpatialOS service resulting in financial loss that would most likely outweight anything they would have got in such a deal. Trust is valuable for a business like theirs, and not even Epic's Fortnite money can make up for losing it.

Unfortunately, this is where things start to turn into "Improbable said, Unity said". Unity claims:

More than a year ago, we told Improbable in person that they were in violation of our Terms of Service or EULA. Six months ago, we informed Improbable about the violation in writing. Recent actions did not come as a surprise to Improbable; in fact, they’ve known about this for many months.
However, that directly contradicts Improbable:

The game engine provider Unity recently changed (Dec 5) and then clarified directly to us (9 Jan) their terms of service to specifically disallow services like Improbable’s to function with their engine.
Given that Unity's ToS was shown to have changed on the 4th to make a major addition to that particular section, and there was no announcement on their blog or anywhere else warning of said change, what little evidence floating about regarding this matter seems to disprove the idea that this is an intentional move months in the making to give Unity some bad press.

I do agree with you that the fund was set up surprisingly quickly, though.
 

Dio

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,227
Not risky at all for Epic. $25 million is chump change to them and they've given some devs an incentive to jump ship from their competitor at a time when their faith in them was shaken. Whether this TOS change ends up actually changing anything or not, it's probably scared some people in to second guessing using Unity for their next project and Epic is pouncing on that. At worst, they stick with Unity.
i meant if Improbable are just lying, and Epic is working with someone who just tried to play both them and unity.
 
Oct 25, 2017
195
Unity is not particularly fun to use any ways. It has a lot of accessibility and coding for C# is way easier than C++, but in all honesty, Unreal is so robust, I don't think we would lose much from Unity going away
We would definitely lose a lot if Unity went away. I wrote a post last page explaining the importance of Unity to small educational teams. Serious Games, educational tools and medical simulations would be much more difficult to get off the ground without Unity.

People saying"lol Unity sucks" because they played a few buggy games a few years ago are misguided. As of right now Unity is filling a void no other game engine does to my knowledge. Losing them would be a shame.
 

gordofredito

Banned
Member
Jan 16, 2018
2,992
People saying"lol Unity sucks" because they played a few buggy games a few years ago are misguided. As of right now Unity is filling a void no other game engine does to my knowledge. Losing them would be a shame.
I say "Unity sucks" because I've been using it for almost two years now, whereas I started using Unreal about 6 moths or so ago and it's just waaay better. However, like I said, C# is easier to teach and learn than C++ - so I get what you're saying about Unity filling a void no other engine tries to fill
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,841
I'm a bit lost on why this became such a big thing over night.

From my limited research this SpatialOS seems to be relatively niche. Is this more of an outrage because of principles?
 
Dec 4, 2018
1,101
Everyone jumping on hating Epic when Unity has been shady as hell in the past, trying to fuck up users who didn't have pro subscriptions and threatening legal actions against developers they believed had too much success. It might be a cool tool, but not a cool company. There is a big difference in having marketing deals and straight up trying to kill other businesses.
 
Dec 4, 2018
1,101
I'm a bit lost on why this became such a big thing over night.

From my limited research this SpatialOS seems to be relatively niche. Is this more of an outrage because of principles?
Unity is trying to decide where users can run their games, and that they want another license to use managed cloud services, effectively killing dedicated solutions. They act like they own the projects people produce in the editor, because it compiles games with their runtimes
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,841
Unity is trying to decide where users can run their games, and that they want another license to use managed cloud services, effectively killing dedicated solutions. They act like they own the projects people produce in the editor, because it compiles games with their runtimes
I understood that it kills the devs and everyone using the tool, but why has it gained so much traction in such a short time despite Improbable being a relatively small company and why Epic is involved suddenly?
 
Oct 25, 2017
846
I'm still really confused on the actual situation, seeing mixed opinions on who was actually in the wrong here. Has there been a definitive conclusion on the whole thing?

Awesome move by Epic to help devs (while obviously getting some nice PR on top).
 
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Oct 26, 2017
8,836
Madrid
but from browsing GAF/Reset for years I've learned at the end of the day it doesn't matter, if a hand full of people made asset flips that means the engine is shitty, but also at the same time don't know Cuphead or Hearthstone run on it.
Indeed, it's the poster child of "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". Clueless gamers feeding their ego by deluding themselves into believing they know about game engines.