When the Unity game engine runs virtually everywhere -- well, almost -- it's no surprise that Unity Technologies has just announced that the engine will support the Xbox One. However, the firm is also revealing a partnership with Microsoft that promises a deeper level of integration on the One than we've seen on some other systems. Microsoft Studios partners will get to build Unity-based Xbox 360 and Xbox One games for free. They'll also receive tools that take full advantage of the One's tricks, including cloud computing, matchmaking, improved Kinect gestures and SmartGlass.
Developers who aren't console-inclined are covered as well: the partnership will give all Unity Pro 4 customers free access to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 development add-ons once they're available this summer. While there's no guarantee that game producers are more likely to target Microsoft's ecosystem than they have in the past, the Unity deal could lower some of the costs and technology barriers. And there may be more: Microsoft has dropped hints that it will provide further details on its support of indie console app development sometime in the near future.
Unity Announces Strategic Collaboration with Microsoft to Extend Free Platform Support for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8; Unveils Xbox One Support for Microsoft Studios' Development Partners
San Francisco, CA – June 27, 2013 – Unity Technologies, provider of the Unity multi-platform game engine and development tools, has entered into an agreement with Microsoft to collaborate on development tools for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Xbox One. This collaboration will make it even easier for developers to bring popular games, entertainment and apps to Microsoft platforms.
Unveiled this morning during Microsoft's annual Build Conference in San Francisco, Unity will deliver the commercial version for its "Windows Store Add-on", now included in Unity 4.2 Release Candidate 1, with a commitment to ongoing support and innovation for Microsoft platforms. Under agreement with Microsoft, Unity Pro 4 licensed developers will receive a free license for the "Windows Store Add-on" once available this summer, a $1,500 value. The "Windows Store Add-on" includes support for both Windows Store apps and Windows Phone 8 apps.
In addition, Unity will develop tools for the Xbox One entertainment system, including support for many next-generation features such as enhanced Kinect gestures and recognition, multiplayer matchmaking, SmartGlass and the unlimited power of the cloud. Developers who build games published by Microsoft Studios will have access to Unity tools for Xbox 360 and Xbox One free of charge.
Unity offers a combination of power, efficiency and affordability that has made it one of the most popular game engines and development platforms in the world. The continued collaboration between Unity and Microsoft will make Microsoft's gaming ecosystem more accessible to nearly 2 million passionate developers in the Unity community.
"Our vision is to democratize game development and provide opportunity for all developers, from individuals to massive teams," said David Helgason, CEO, Unity Technologies. "Our collaboration will help further these goals by empowering our community to create games across Microsoft's powerful platforms. Their vision to provide the best outlet for games to be enjoyed parallels our own vision to build the best platform for games to be developed and we're excited to work with them to shape the future of the industry."
"Unity has established itself not only as an incredible development toolset and engine, but as a significant force for creative freedom and innovation in the games development community," said Steven Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist of Microsoft's Developer & Platform Evangelism organization. "With Unity's commitment to support Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Xbox One and Xbox 360, Microsoft's gaming ecosystem will benefit from the wealth of ideas and imagination flowing from the Unity games development community."
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