Microsoft today announced that, via their ID@Xbox program, indie developers will soon have access to Xbox One-focused Unity development tools in the near future.
For those who don’t have the time, resources, or knowledge to completely build their own engines from scratch, Unity has proven to be a very powerful middleware tool for helping budding developers realize their dreams of game creation. Of course, development engines like Unity aren’t free, and the tools must be licensed platform-by-platform.
Nintendo took a big step in their efforts to garner more indie support by announcing some time ago that the company would cover the cost of Unity licenses for those looking to build their games for the Wii U. Microsoft has now become the second of the three big platform developers to go down such a route, announcing that “the Xbox One add-on for Unity will be available at no cost to all developers in the ID@Xbox program, as will special Xbox One-only Unity Pro seat licenses for Xbox One developers in the ID@Xbox program.”
“We talked internally at ID@Xbox about ways we could help developers for Xbox One. Many developers we talk to are using Unity today to get up and running quickly, and to be able to harness the power of hardware and realize their creative visions without spending tons of time on technology development,” wrote ID@Xbox director Chris Charla on the official Xbox Wire. “We thought about paying for some developers’ Unity licenses but the more we talked about it, the more we felt paying for some developers’ licenses and not others just didn’t feel right.”
Launching next year, this Xbox One-focused Unity toolset will not only give developers the options they’re used to from the popular middleware package, but they’ll also be able to make use of Xbox One-specific functions, with support for Kinect, SmartGlass, and the new impulse triggers. As well, Microsoft has worked with Unity to extend the license to also cover development for Windows 8 and Windows Phone games released via Microsoft’s digital marketplace.