Where are you on support for the different consoles?
DH: The Wii we've supported for a few years.
DH: Xbox 360 and PS3 are in the works. We have customers on both, so we expect launches on both platforms early next year.
TH: They're still in development, but we're authorized middleware at this point for all three of them. It's just the Xbox and PlayStation... We announced Xbox officially at Unite and PlayStation at GDC -- or is that vice versa?
I think that you're correct.
DH: Yeah, the 360 first and PS3 later.
TH: It's nice to have all three.
DH: We're working on both; we've been working on both for quite awhile.
First, of course, it requires those people that want to build for those platforms to trust us. When we say we're going to do it, they have to believe that; fortunately, people have started trusting us quite broadly. The second thing is that, since Unity is so grounded, you can actually start using Unity even before you can actually compile for those platforms. Now, we're at a stage where we can actually compile for those platforms -- with bugs and rough spots, of course.
That's not being shipped out to people.
DH: Right now, people that want it -- we can invite them into the early release program and make sure that we have a few customers on both platforms, but not more than that, because we can't handle that right now.
At GDC you told me that there was a little bit of debate internally at Unity about whether to support those platforms or not.
DH: Yeah, we were not sure, really. That's really... I may have whispered it loudly back then when we were not sure... But now that we have announced both, no, it's no secret that we were not sure if we should really do it.
I think there's two reasons for it. One is that our developers -- our customers -- really wanted it because they did not like being held away from platforms they might want to target. Having the flexibility, even if you end up choosing only one console or no console, is still nice -- to have the opportunity should your publisher or some other thing arise. The other reason is actually that, with Unity 3, we've upgraded the technology so significantly that we actually feel that we can be quite competitive there.
TH: From an external perspective, we want to say it like this: "author once, deploy anywhere." That's where it's nice to have all these options available, even though the sweet spot of our customer base does tend to be on the casual side and whatnot. But, again, we're tracking a larger-scale customer now, that is starting to trust us more.
Your new default project/demo [Boot Camp] speaks to that too, in a sense. The case has been made for using Unity with platforms like iOS. I don't think that all people are aware at this point that it's a very viable option beyond that; this demo seems to suggest a broadening of the horizon.
TH: For sure. I think that, as David put it, the advancements that we've made are so significant. I remember awhile back, kind of puzzling about Unity 3, the first time I saw that feature list that we were going to go after, it just felt like we're taking a huge step forward. It wasn't just a small iteration.
[Higgins loads up the build menu] And just real quick to show you, this is the build settings menu that we have inside here. All of these options are shown to everybody so that the first time you launch it, even if it's the free version, it kind of tells you how far you're going to be able to go with this product.
If you're going to go to the web or to desktop, of course those are supported in the free version as well as pro. Then, as you do the á la carte add-ons, well, you know, iOS and Android sure enough.
We included the consoles [PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360] inside the build menu first because, look, I'm not in a build [of Unity 3] right now that supports it, but we at least want to let people know that, "Hey, this is an option that's out there" and let them see from the beginning that we cover you from small-scale casual stuff, desktop, Web, mobile, all the way through to consoles.
You want the people to be making the choices; not you to be making the choices.
TH: Exactly. The minute we decide that you're not interested in that platform, there's going to be some big customer with an interesting title that maybe wants to go there. At least now, we've got that full picture. Of course, more is on the way; we're not done with platforms. We've got efforts ongoing under the hood. We're going to continue looking at everything that's interesting.
It'll be really interesting to see if Windows Phone 7 takes off, I think.
DH: Phone 7 is exciting. Currently, they're in a state where they're only going to support XNA and Silverlight -- so, basically, only managed .NET. Unity can't run there because Unity is written in C++; it's a highly optimized modern engine.
So in the first iteration of Windows Phone 7 -- we won't be able to run. We're hoping they'll open it up later. They've shown interest in that, but there's no commitment from either side.