All the focus in the virtual reality space might be on VR headsets like Oculus Rift, Valve, Samsung Gear VR and more, but the brand which is right now dominating the VR space is Unity 5. If you keep yourself updated with virtual reality news, you might already be aware of this. However, for those who are yet unknown about Unity Technologies’ software; the Unity 5 is a multiplatform game engine which was unveiled a few days back. While companies like Oculus, Samsung, HTC, Sony, etc are all busy developing VR headsets, Unity has developed this game engine which can create games on all of these devices.
Paving the Path for VR Gaming and VR Experiences
As new virtual reality devices are developed by the big companies, Unity Technologies, based in San Francisco has created Unity 5, which will pave the path for virtual reality experiences and gaming. John Riccitiello, CEO of the company said “At least 90, if not 95 percent, of all content built so far for VR has been built on Unity, which gives you a sense of our market position. The promise of VR is in these super powerful headsets that change your experience. If you try a demo from Valve or Oculus or even the Microsoft HoloLens, they’re not just good, they’re staggering. We’re going to see a giant industry grow up and at the center of that industry is going to be the Unity development tool set.”
According to Riccitiello, entertainment will be changed with augmented and virtual reality in the next 4 or 5 years. However, the technology that supports them is still in its infancy and a commercial product is yet to be shipped by any company.
Riccitiello said in an interview with Fortune, that from the different innovations in gaming he has noticed in the last two decades, virtual reality stands out from the rest. He said “Touch screens gaming grew the industry from an audience of about 200 million people to over 2 billion people because it dramatically reduced complexity and it made games accessible to everyone. What VR does, is transport people into the environments that the game creators have built. Right now we’re only seeing the very beginnings of the innovations that are possible with such powerful tools and amazing experiences.”
Riccitiello says “High-end VR will probably not be accessible by the masses initially, while devices like Samsung Gear VR will be. What you’re going to see is some awesome singular experiences, whether that’s a great experience in mobile or on other platforms.”
In the past years, Riccitiello has been working with Oculus VR to incorporate the Unity 5 platform in the Oculus development kit. Development studios and people can access the Unity 5 platform with under $100,000 in funding or revenues. For a perpetual license, it charges $1,500 or $75 per month. Other rivals of Unity 5 include Crytek’s CryEngine 3 and Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4.
Getting to Know Unity 5
The Unity 5 is available in two types: Unity 5 Professional and Unity 5 Personal.
- The Unity 5 Professional adds lots of new features to the latest version of the engine (the Cloud Build service package), it’s analytic packages and its Team License tools for larger studios.
- The Unity 5 Personal is free to developers with funding or revenue less than $100,000 a year and which also includes the entire engine, barring advanced service package.
Unity 5 Personal does not support the Xbox 360, the only platform among the 21 platform, which the engine supports.
Unity’s rival Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games, announced on Monday that the game engine will be free for developers. But the developers have to pay 5 percent royalty on revenues associated with games based on the engine.
What’s in Offer in Unity 5?
The upgrades which have been made to the game engine are extensive and they go beyond the service package which is available with Professional. The way the game engine tackles graphics, has been changed. Reflection probes, global illumination and shading have been added.
There is an audio engine which is fully incorporated with Unity 5. It removes the need to work with audio middleware.
The new version was unveiled at the last Game Developers Conference, along with other improvements. For instance, the company has added support for the WebGL platform, which is browser based and makes games available in an extensive manner.
In general, Riccitiello calls Unity 5 “the biggest step forward in the history of our company.” This is in contrast to earlier full-version leaps.
What Other Sites Have to Say
It seems Unity 5 has created a stir in the web world. Many renowned sites have covered this news. Let us have a look at some of the excerpts from a few tech sites.
“Unity 5 is a big step forward and a massive, massive update,” said John Riccitiello, chief executive of Unity Technologies in San Francisco, in an interview with GamesBeat. “For the first time, it is a graphics powerhouse. You can make the most beautiful games on Unity on virtually any platform.”
Unity has released the latest version of its cross-platform game engine. At the 2015 Game Developers Conference, CEO John Riccitiello announced a final version of Unity 5, which is now available on the company’s site. Unity 5 was announced in mid-2014 and released in beta last October, and it offers some notable updates over the past iteration, including upgraded animation and physics, a new lighting system, and more audio options. As one might expect, founder and CTO Joachim Ante calls it a “massive release” that touches just about every aspect of the engine. Besides promised improvements in graphics and efficiency, Unity 5 now supports a newer version of the PhysX physics engine, and there are more tools for mixing audio.
Riccitiello said for Unity 5, “I never even got a spreadsheet built at all, by anyone from Unity while we were figuring out the pricing model.”
“Nobody ever said we should seriously consider anyting other than free for the Personal edition.”
It seems genuinely important to the CEO that Unity 5 Personal (the free version of the engine) performs on parity with the Professional version. With Unity 4, “free was lesser performance than Unity pro,” he said — whereas this time, “it’s the same awesome performance.”
So, now with Unity 5, developers will be able to create amazing games which will run across 21 platforms. They include Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry, major consoles and even VR headsets like the Samsung Gear VR. The WebGL platform and even desktops also support the new game engine of Unity Technologies.
What do you think about the Unity 5 game engine? Will it dominate the virtual reality space? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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