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Nintendo embraces Unity by giving it to licensed Wii U developers
Nintendo embraces Unity by giving it to licensed Wii U developers
September 19, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Unity developers will be able to export their projects to Nintendo's upcoming Wii U, thanks to an agreement between the two companies.

The move is aimed at attracting smaller, independent developers to the platform, many of whom are already familiar with Unity.

A number of developers have previously suggested that Nintendo is making serious efforts to court indies and help them bring their games to Wii U, particularly to its eShop download service -- an initiative that could help the company avoid the struggles of its previous WiiWare platform, which has seen few releases in recent years.

The agreement affords Nintendo the rights to distribute a Wii U-only version of Unity to its developers, both in-house and external, assumedly as part of its Wii U development kit.

"These guys will all have access to the same tools, and through our support and Nintendo's support, we want to kind of bring that ecosystem to the Wii U ecosystem, and help many of them to be very successful in that," Unity CEO David Helgason tells Gamasutra.

The executive says the deployment add-on will take away the "boring and hard stuff" that can come with porting games, and let tems work on the creative elements of their Wii U projects instead: "We should allow the developers to focus on the stuff that's interesting, which is the controls, the gameplay, the graphics, and how it all looks and feels."

Unity already works with other home consoles like the Wii, but Helgason says this is a different, industry-first collaboration: "That's just us taking the dev kits, making them work, and selling them to developers, with a sort of minimum amount of support from the console owners."

"What's different here is the level of connection from both companies," he continues. "[We're] not sort of just sharing technology, but also engaging both ecosystems and making sure we're getting the efficiencies of Unity and the efficiencies of cooperation with Nintendo and the Wii U."

Nintendo and Unity intend to disclose more details about how developers can go about bringing their Unity-powered titles to Wii U at a later date.

Update: This article originally reported that a Wii U-specific version of Unity Pro would be given out as part of the Wii U development kit. We have been informed by Unity that, while that may be the case (and Nintendo certainly can do that if it wishes), this has not been formally announced as part of the kit. The article has been updated to reflect this.

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Tyvon Thomas
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This is probably the best move I've seen all year. Amazing job, Nintendo/Unity.

Muir Freeland
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Unity is pretty awesome. This is a great move.

GameViewPoint Developer
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This is pretty big, I would say more for Unity than Nintendo because of how it's going to establish Unity even more as the de-facto game development platform, for all platforms.

Thomas Grove
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I have the reverse opinion. I think this is a way better move for Nintendo. A really smart move for them.

Michael Pianta
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I propose we just agree that this was a good move all the way around.

Glen Joyner
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This is pretty amazing. I enjoy Unity development and would love to be able to get my hands on this some day. Hoping to see lots of creativity to come from this, and of course, a hope for a ton of good games.

Jonathan Lowden
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This is an excellent move. I was looking at the licensing costs for Unity's WiiWare (on top of the Nintendo WiiWare licensing) and it was way above what I could afford as a small indie developer.

Leon T
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Looks like Nintendo is not playing around.

Luke Quinn
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I just suddenly developed an interest in the Wii U... Best news of the week!

james sadler
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Same here.

Chris Melby
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I've just developed an interest to seriously look into developing with Unity.

Jeremy Alessi
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Dream come true!!!

Nintendo Wii Unity!!!

Ardney Carter
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Oooh, so THAT'S what the 'U' stands for...

Cordero W
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I'm giddly now.

k s
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This was a smart move for both parties.

Joel Nystrom
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Awesome! Now if we could just apply to become WiiU developers.. =)

Jonathan Jennings
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i am a lifelong nintendo fan.....i am also a unity 3d engineer...............perfect scenario ?

Cordero W
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I'm skeptical. I doubt there's going to be an XBLIG retake on the WiiU if barrier of entry is not as easy as on xbox. Then again, using Unity is not easy to begin with, so it blocks out some of the true amateurs.

Alex Nichiporchik
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The Wii U just started to look a tiny bit less doomed

Justin Lynch
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This looks like a great partnership! Can't wait to see what becomes of it!

Rob Lockhart
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You guys realize you still have to buy the Dev. Kit, right (~$2000)? And that submitting a game to Nintendo costs lots of money?

Steve Sanchez
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It's funny but some people tell me that I do too much stuff in Unity and that I should use other stuff. While I don't think that's the case I do believe that there hasn't been another engine out there that could easily let me make something I could play on my PC, then put it on my phone to show my friends and then point them to a web page to play the exact game I showed them. with such ease. Then they go around and do crazy stuff like this which I find to be impeccable timing since I've been prototyping a lot of Wii U-type game concepts Unity.

Manjinder Singh Lamba
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Definitely a good move by both Nintendo and Unity. As a developer I look forward to be creating some enthusiastic projects for wii-u.

Kris Steele
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My understanding of current WiiWare / DS development is that they require you to have a physical office presence to develop games. As a small developer who does this out of an office in my house after hours, I'm not going to be excited about WiiU until I hear they've removed this requirement.

Yiannis Koumoutzelis
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are they also going to make it unnecessary to have a devkit and have your studio background and finances checked before you make a game?

Greg Quinn
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Good job guys. The more platforms the better for us Unity Devs :)