Sony has been making a concerted effort to lure indies to the PS4 and PlayStation ecosystem as a whole, but since the announcement of its ID@Xbox self-publishing program, Microsoft has been making its case too. Today, that case has become a stronger one as the company has partnered with ubiquitous engine firm Unity to offer the Xbox One add-on for Unity at no cost to all developers in the ID@Xbox program. Microsoft will also provide a special Xbox One-only Unity Pro seat license for Xbox One developers in the ID@Xbox program, when it starts in 2014.
"We talked internally at ID@Xbox about ways we could help developers for Xbox One. Many developers we talk to are using Unity today to get up and running quickly, and to be able to harness the power of hardware and realize their creative visions without spending tons of time on technology development. We thought about paying for some developers' Unity licenses but the more we talked about it, the more we felt paying for some developers' licenses and not others just didn't feel right," said ID@Xbox director Chris Charla.
"...we want to make sure the dev who's working away in Omaha, or Coventry, or Chiba will have the same shot to realize their vision on Xbox One as one of my developer friends we hang out with in Seattle or at a trade show like GDC or Gamescom," he continued. "Because at the end of the day, we want gamers to pick the hits. That's what Xbox One is all about: One games store, the best discovery tools on console, and a powerful, equal playing field for all games, from developers big and small."
Importantly, the Unity add-on for Xbox One supports all the typical features, including Kinect, SmartGlass and even the impulse triggers of the new controller. And because Unity is also available for Windows and Windows Phone too (at no cost) developers could - if they wish - ship their games across all Microsoft platforms.
"Microsoft continues to show their commitment to creating opportunity for developers of all shapes and sizes, a commitment shared by Unity. The drive behind the ID@Xbox program is exciting for Unity and the games development community in general. We can't wait to see the results," said David Helgason, CEO, Unity Technologies.
In a recent interview with GamesIndustry International, Xbox Europe corporate vice president Phil Harrison told us that Microsoft has seen "an avalanche of interest" since unveiling its ID@Xbox program.