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If I make an offensive game can they pull my license and prevent me from selling my game? Like we're talking think of the most offensive thing you can think of: you're in charge of the most efficient genocide against some specific racial/religious/political group, your choice... now imagine the game is mocking victims and generally being extremely rude, violent, and insensitive.

Now I have no intention of making such a horrible game but I am using an extreme example to ask my question. It's not unheard of for less extreme things to get blocked by brands who didn't want to associate with them, for example I saw that Apple removed the Confederate flags from Civil War games in the App Store.

Would Unity be able to prevent me from using their game engine or selling my game after I had already purchased appropriate Unity licenses and completed the game?

Do they have that kind of power with their licensing model? Or would even the most extreme cases still be legally allowed to sell the content?

I want to make something that may have some mildly provocative/divisive content (not as offensive as say, South Park, which I know was made in Unity, but more serious than South Park) and I'm just making sure I don't get a bunch of work done and then get disappointed later, wishing I had gone with some kind of more free/open engine.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you cite the specific section of the Unity terms of use that you're concerned may describe such a veto power over in-game content (not specific to gambling)? Also, are you sure it's Unity you need to be concerned about, and not game distribution platforms and payment facilitators (or laws against hate speech, defamation, or incitement for that matter)? \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Nov 14 '18 at 1:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have heard that Unity is used as an engine in a series of certain 3d porn games from Japan. Not that I would ever play such despicable smut :) \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Nov 21 '18 at 11:49
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The current Unity license terms only want you to "comply with all applicable laws and regulations". So as long as your game is still within the legal limits of what you are allowed to publish, you are not violating the license agreement.

As the answer by Pako88 points out, Unity might one day decide to change their license agreement in a way which excludes your use-case. But the question is "why would they do that"? Avoiding bad PR? So far, whenever there was a moral outrage about a scandalous game, that outrage was usually targeted at developers, publishers and distributors. I can not think of any case where technology providers were targeted by protests and boycott calls because they licensed their engine to a game they didn't agree with. So Unity Technologies will likely be happy to take your business. Just make sure you pay for a professional license and take down the Unity splash screen, so they don't get associated with your game in a way that someone might think they had creative influence.

If you are looking for precedent cases: I couldn't think of any games which were actually promoting hate speech and are based on Unity. But I didn't really look, and if they would exist, it wouldn't really surprise me (looking at some statements by some gamers in various communities, there seems to be a market for this). However, I did see Unity being used for 3d pornographic games by at least two game studios in Japan which are quite large and established in the hentai game niche. If Unity would disapprove of their engine being used for games like that, then these companies would likely not stay under the radar. This gives the impression that Unity Technologies does not mind what you use their engine for. At least not at the moment.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ challenge accepted (just kidding) \$\endgroup\$ – MetaGuru Dec 4 '18 at 22:15
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Unity Terms of Service doesn't directly state that they will revoke your license if you make an offensive game. However, in section 3 of the ToS "Your Responsibilities" they specify:

(c) you will comply with all applicable laws and regulations in connection with your use of the Services (including but not limited to applicable Federal Trade Commission rules and COPPA)

Also, in section 7 of the ToS "Termination and Account Cancellation" they specify:

Unity will have the right in its sole discretion, and without prior notice to you, to suspend or disable your Unity Account or terminate the Agreement and/or your right or ability to access or use any of the Services if: (a) you breach this Agreement; (b) your use of the Services poses a security risk to, or otherwise adversely impacts, the Services or any third party; (c) your use of the Services subjects Unity, our affiliates or any third party to liability; (d) your use of the Services may be fraudulent; etc, etc...

Last but not least, in section 1.4 of the ToS "Modification" they specify:

... Unity may also modify the Agreement at any time and without prior notice...

In other words, indirectly there's always a chance they may actually do revoke your license, either because you did not comply with the laws and regulations of a third party, or because they just decided to modify the current agreement and include and offensive content clause. Bear in mind that each 3rd party can interpret "offensive content" as they like, and they typically have modification clauses too.

It's like you are walking on thin ice, and if you're really committed to making a game with offensive content you should really seek legal advice from a professional.

IMHO Unity should be the least of your concerns, because it might be hard for you to find a marketplace to upload your game, because as far as I now they typically do contain offensive content clauses. I'm sure Google does, and I think (not sure though) Steam does too.

Anyway, as far as Unity is concerned, which was the subject of your post, here's a link to all Unity Legal Information

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    \$\begingroup\$ I am not a lawyer, but from what I have heard, a unilateral contract change which retroactively changes the termination clause is unlikely to hold up in court. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Nov 21 '18 at 12:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Philipp what your are saying indeed makes sense. However, without being a lawyer myself, and IMHO I think it's applicable to contracts and not to Terms of Service, as is the case here (and I believe wherever else we see ToS). e.g. the Modifications section of Unity's ToS ends with: "... If the modified Terms are not acceptable to you, your only recourse is to cease using the Services". So, this seems to be a kind of "Take it or Leave it" situation. But again, I'm not a lawyer. \$\endgroup\$ – Pako88 Nov 21 '18 at 13:01

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