When the Unity game engine runs virtually everywhere — well, almost — it’s no surprise that Unity Technologies has just announced that the engine will support the Xbox One. However, the firm is also revealing a partnership with Microsoft that promises a deeper level of integration on the One than we’ve seen on some other systems. Microsoft Studios partners will get to build Unity-based Xbox 360 and Xbox One games for free. They’ll also receive tools that take full advantage of the One’s tricks, including cloud computing, matchmaking, improved Kinect gestures and SmartGlass.
Developers who aren’t console-inclined are covered as well: the partnership will give all Unity Pro 4 customers free access to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 development add-ons once they’re available this summer. While there’s no guarantee that game producers are more likely to target Microsoft’s ecosystem than they have in the past, the Unity deal could lower some of the costs and technology barriers. And there may be more: Microsoft has dropped hints that it will provide further details on its support of indie console app development sometime in the near future.