Nintendo licenses Unity Engine for Wii U

Nintendo may be courting independent developers by licensing the Unity Engine for use in both its own Wii U games and those of affiliated developers. Unity CEO David Helgason told Eurogamer that a long-term deal to provide the relatively inexpensive 3D game engine to the console’s “entire ecosystem” may be unprecedented.

Helgason said converting the efforts of the more than one million developers registered with Unity to run on Wii U would be relatively trivial. Ensuring games which may have previously used mouse and keyboard or multi-touch play well with the Wii U’s GamePad and other considerations would be the main challenge, he said. He did not comment on how the games themselves would be presented or sold.

Nintendo directed any questions on the announcement to Unity.

Taking an engine many independent developers are already comfortable using and integrating it with a major console could provide new creators with a solid avenue into mainstream markets, Helgason said. The open-source Ouya console has a similar goal, promising to make home console development easier by using the widespread Android operating system.

Helgason said that the engine’s Wii U “deployment option,” with deep technical integration from both companies, will become widely available in 2013. The console itself is set to launch on November 18 in North America, and November 30 in Europe.

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