Tools free to developers who publish their games through Microsoft Studios

Unity to support Xbox One and Windows 8

Microsoft has entered a partnership with the makers of the Unity game engine that will add tools and support for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Xbox One.

Unity is a cross-platform development environment that offers a free license to any company that makes under $100,000, but offers additional tools and platforms for a relatively small licensing fee.

The deal, unveiled today at Microsoft’s Build Conference in San Francisco, brings yet another set of tools to reach Microsoft’s new platforms and will see the two companies collaborating to make Windows 8 and Xbox One even more approachable for Unity developers.

Xbox 360 and Xbox One developers who have their games published by Microsoft Studios will be given free access to Unity tools.

“Our vision is to democratize game development and provide opportunity for all developers, from individuals to massive teams,” said Unity CEO David Helgason.

“Our collaboration will help further these goals by empowering our community to create games across Microsoft’s powerful platforms. Their vision to provide the best outlet for games to be enjoyed parallels our own vision to build the best platform for games to be developed and we’re excited to work with them to shape the future of the industry.”

Unity’s support for the Xbox One includes many next-generation features like Kinect gestures and recognition, multiplayer matchmaking, SmartGlass, and the console’s cloud features.

The Windows 8 support includes a Windows Store Add-on that will be available for free to Unity Pro 4 licensees once it’s launched this summer. The add-on will support both Windows Store apps and Windows Phone 8 apps.

“Unity has established itself not only as an incredible development toolset and engine, but as a significant force for creative freedom and innovation in the games development community,” said Microsoft’s Steven Guggenheimer.

“With Unity’s commitment to support Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Xbox One and Xbox 360, Microsoft’s gaming ecosystem will benefit from the wealth of ideas and imagination flowing from the Unity games development community.”

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