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It's been a real rollercoaster of a day for those using the Unity game engine. First, Unity cut off all future support for the online multiplayer platform called SpatialOS. Unity updated their terms of service back on December 4, 2018, and only clarified these changes to the SpatialOS development team at Improbable on January 10, 2019. These changes specifically prevent services like SpatialOS from working with Unity.

SpatialOS is a widely used development toolkit allowed developers to more easily integrate online multiplayer experiences into their Unity developed games. In addition to bringing the hammer down on multiplayer through SpatialOS, these new terms at Unity also put major limitations on streaming and cloud gaming. Unity states that only authorized streaming platforms can make use of the cloud. To say that their list of authorized platforms is tiny is a bit of an understatement.

Not only would this change impact all current and future games developed in Unity, but it was also said to impact older games developed in Unity. That's right, the updated terms looked like they would be retroactively applied to all games developed in Unity that used SpatialOS.

Improbable issued a statement earlier following the changes to Unity's terms. Unity then responded to Improbable's statement. Unity clarified that their new terms will not be retroactively applied and that games that are currently in active development that use SpatialOS can continue to do so. Improbable then issued another statement in response to Unity's statement in an effort to maybe calm things down before things get too crazy.

Meanwhile, Epic comes out of the shadows holding a briefcase with $25 million (USD) inside. They, along with Improbable, are going to use this $25 million to help move development studios away from Unity and on to Unreal Engine. This new fund was jointly announced this evening from Epic's Tim Sweeney and Improbable's Herman Narula.

"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."
All of this literally just went down over the course of the past day. Where all of the companies and impacted developers go from here is anybody's guess. I assume that many smaller studios will no doubt partake of that $25 million fund to jump ship from Unity to Unreal Engine. Of course, I also assume those that do will have to keep their games exclusive to the Epic Games Store. Given this partnership between Improbable and Epic Games, it's very possible that Unity has already missed the boat when it comes to repairing their relationship with the SpatialOS developer.