Unity Engine Licensed for Nintendo Wii U
An interesting piece of news has come out concerning Nintendo, as it has licensed the Unity engine for the Wii U for internal and external development. Unity CEO David Helgason believes the deal is unprecedented for a platform holder, and certainly a first for Unity. He describes the deal as "long-term" and mentions "several years," however exact details are not available at this time. The deal does allow for Nintendo to send Unity to its "entire ecosystem" of affiliated developers, but again no specifics were revealed. Does this mean a new Mario, Zelda, or Metroid game will run on Unity? It is something Helgason would like to see, but he does admit that goal is probably a few years away at least. Still, there is a chance.
One of the best parts of Nintendo's deal is the apparent welcoming of independent and small developers to the Wii U. Unity is a collaborative engine, which means there is a core engine but any developer can sell modifications through an extension store. The more people use it (over a million registered users so far), the more powerful Unity can become. There are already hundreds if not thousands of games built using Unity, and Helgason believes the games can be converted for the Wii U "between a day and a month." How the game controls on the system may be more challenging, since a game made for the iPad may not translate as well to the Wii U. Helgason hopes developers willing to "spend time on what is unique and special" are attracted to the Wii U, so that could mean a lot of interesting games are available on it.
Nintendo and Unity are working together to optimize the engine for the Wii U, but getting the engine to work was easy. The Wii U is similar to the Wii, according to Helgason, so there was not a lot of extra work needed to get things running. A "deployment option" will be available next year for the Wii U, and hopefully not long after some Unity-powered games can release.