Unity to support Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Is’n it going to be a big deal?

Unity as a company has one mission: help games developers be more successful. Unity is one of the top game development platforms, routinely seen powering the biggest games on a multitude of platforms such as Castle Warriors, Battle Bears, Max & the Magic Marker, CSR Racing, Temple Run and Shadowgun and now it is the turn of Windows Phone to get in on the Unity action!

The decision to bring Unity to Windows Phone was driven by an upwelling of requests from developers and gamers alike. Unity Technologies CEO David Helgason has announced during the opening keynote of the Unite 12 in Amsterdam the 6th Annual Developer Conference that its game creation platform Unity will be supporting Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 after the update to Unity 4 version.

“Our mission at Unity has always been to provide solutions for developers to effortlessly bring their work to as many different platforms as possible,” said David Helgason.
Microsft senior director of Windows app marketing John Richards added: “We are excited that the Unity community will now be given the opportunity to develop world class titles for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

Let’s try to see why it is a big deal for game development world to support and bring game development on windows 8 and windows phone 8 !

Helgason claims that 53 per cent of mobile developers have made use of the Unity engine, with 300,000 of them active on a monthly basis.
Unity licenses are available for almost all other modern gaming platforms — including iOS, Android, Xbox 360, Wii, and PlayStation 3 — and the engine has been used to create popular mobile games such as Shadowgun.
Now the developers community is ready and willing to bring their games to the new versions of Windows. While do we have guarantee that developers will do it painless and not taking too much time and efforts?

It is the known fact that Windows Phone 7 never really got off the ground as a gaming platform, but its successor got an early boost today in the shape of Unity support. Windows Phone (like iOS and Android) has some heavy and understandable restrictions on how things can be done. Helgason previously said that Unity didn’t support Windows Phone 7 due to its “relatively closed” nature, but expressed hope that Windows 8 would prove easier to work with. David was keen to point out that it’s no more a problem of Windows Phone 8 than any other mobile OS. Only in the last few months has the project reached the level where they are confident they are able to deliver the goods.

Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 are to share the same core so it was of interest to hear David’s thoughts on just how similar the two are platforms really are. He thinks that the two resemble more closely how Apples iOS and OSX look in terms of game development. The desktop OS naturally gives up huge amounts of resources whilst the mobile OS is far more restricted. Whilst the cores are the same, the amount that can be achieved on each platform varies greatly.

When it comes to Windows Phone 8, we’re going to see an entirely new base specification, improved GFX handling and dual core CPU. David’s feeling is that Microsoft are putting out sensible guidelines for their next gen hardware. It’s a well-known problem with Android that often times the superior hardware can’t be utilized properly or devices simply aren’t capable of rendering 3D at all. In this regard, Microsoft is making the right move by ensuring the spec of the devices remains a known constant.
But to my point of view it is hard to say either way if Microsoft have done enough with their next OS to ensure it’s a rock solid gaming platform, it’s still too early to tell.

Personally me along with many developers and just game lovers have a really good sense that Windows Phone 8 is going to work really well as a gaming platform.

There had been invested so much into the platform and to be honest it is designed very well. The Unity lovers have a good feeling that Windows Phone 8 is going to be big.
For developers using Unity and the company itself, the prospects for mobile games sales are huge. Even if the platform remains the third of fourth eco system, it will still present a valuable extra market for developers to target. For a game developer, once they have made a game in Unity, porting it to another platform is very straightforward. The economics of porting the games to other platforms like Windows Phone are actually very attractive. That should bode very well for future games releases on WP8. With little or no work in actually porting, there is almost nothing to lose in releasing to the Marketplace.

To show a positive perspective I would give the example of Microsoft’s Build developer conference held at the company’s campus in Redmond, WA, where Tony Garcia, Unity EVP of Business Development, took the stage during the mobile keynote to talk about Unity’s commitment to Windows Phone 8 by demonstrating just how empowering development for the platform can be for new and existing Unity-authored games and apps.
Tony spoke while Field Engineer Corey Johnson toured the Unity development environment, using a level from Madfinger’s Shadowgun as the example project. The short demonstration provided onlookers (both on-site and online) unfamiliar with Unity a good idea of the power, versatility, and efficiency of the tools. As Tony talked, Corey demonstrated how easily projects can be changed between platforms and built for Windows Phone 8 in Unity.

Shadowgun was then demonstrated running on a Windows Phone 8 mobile device and it looked mighty fantastic.
It’s clear that Unity is going to play a big role in the early months of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 device availability with games like Shadowgun, Ski Safari, and Temple Run headlining a number of other amazing Unity-authored titles. And as the Shadowgun level demonstrates, things are looking good!
“The number of high-quality Unity-authored games for the PC, Xbox, and mobile devices already created is staggering and we’re looking forward to seeing these products appear in the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Marketplace,” senior director of Windows app marketing at Microsoft John Richards said.

To summarize all said above I would say that I am both excited and positive about Windows Phone 8’s gaming future. Unity should help light up Windows Phone 8 as a gaming platform. With Unity, Porting games to and from Windows Phone should take only a couple of days isn’t it great?!
While we couldn’t learn about future games coming to Windows Phone 8, I were assured that we are going to be very excited to see what’s coming. It is really interesting to observe who and how many developers are switching to developing for Windows Phone now that Unity is coming to the platform? How quickly people will be following it? What thoughts and “forecast” do you have in mind? I have a strong feeling that Things are about to change 🙂 .. And you?