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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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