A few weeks ago it was announced that Nintendo had struck a deal with Unity to provide its tools for the Wii U. Now we have more concrete details about what this means for Nintendo, Third-Parties and most importantly gamers around the world…
All of the following information and commentary comes from Unity CEO David Helgason…
- Unity will be brought in-house at Nintendo for all of its first-party studios to use
- Exactly the same is happening for third parties
- This deal will give the Unity community free reign to develop titles for Wii U
- Direct X11 equivalent; shaders, shadowing and scalability
On how the deal came to be…
“It’s actually been a dream of ours to be the default development kit for something you can access if you’re just building games for a particular console. I remember we pitched the idea to at last Nintendo, but also Sony maybe five years ago, but of course back then we were a tiny company, and we didn’t have a lot of users.
So, it was understandable that they didn’t bite back then, although I think they should have, because the tools were really good back then, but they weren’t yet proven. We didn’t have 1.2 million registered users, or 200,000 monthly users back then – we probably had closer to 200.
Our prowess grew very quickly thanks to the explosion of mobile, and that helped us grow our user base and improve our tools. I can’t describe the exact steps we took with Nintendo, but we were in touch with them, and in the end they may have even come to us. I can’t remember the exact steps.”
On how ex-Sega of America CEO Shinobu Toyoda was instrumental in securing a deal with Nintendo…
“We were over in Japan last year with our really good tech people who are famous in the Japanese industry, such as Shinobu Toyoda, who was the American CEO of Sega. He is very well connected. So we led the charge on this partnership – we were excited about it, as were Nintendo.
From then on we negotiated a bunch of stuff, like who would do what and when. I think it’s interesting because we’re still working on tools that mean you can take a version of Unity and export it to the Wii U. It’s not done yet, but we know it’s going to get done soon.”
On how the process is going thus far…
“It’s going well and we’re firing along with the project. Once that’s done, two things will happen, and these are separate things, but I think they are connected and they will work really well together.
One thing is that Nintendo will take Unity tools that we give them, and bring it to their big ecosystem of studios. Nintendo has first-party, third-party and all of the other studios that they’ve worked with for years, and they know them well.
They trust them because they know how to make awesome games for Nintendo platforms. Historically, none of these companies were using Unity, and they have the same challenges as everybody else – cost effective development and all that stuff.
So Nintendo is bringing Unity to these studios so they can build with it. The second thing that will happen is that, we turn around with the same tools and technology we’re working on, and take them to our community, which is a different one.
Nintendo’s community is very formidable and respected, they’ve been around for a long time. We turn to our community which is new, very energetic – of course we have old studios, but there are a lot of young ones too – and many of them have built games for consoles before.
But many more have never built console games, or published on any console. What is exciting there is that are many studios out there that make hit games on iOS, Android or Steam, but hopefully many of these studios will be able to bring their games to Wii U, and that’s just really exciting.”
On how the Unity engine could be key to future success if Wii U sells well…
“If the Wii U is – and we hope it will be – a big success, then that will be a big deal for a lot of those developers.”