Nintendo's partnership with Unity Technologies has served well in attracting indie developers by making it easier to bring their games to a Wii U-specific build of the popular engine. The fact that Wii U development kits come with a free Unity license is certainly an encouraging gesture as well.
So with success shown with Unity on the Wii U, the natural question is whether a version will also be coming to the 3DS. While the 3DS eShop can certainly be considered healthy, Unity could still provide a more convenient option for many extra developers to bring their games to the system.
Siliconera caught up with Damon Baker, Senior Manager of Marketing at Nintendo of America's Licensing Department, during GDC to pose this very question. According to him, a 3DS Unity build has been a topic of discussion and something that is definitely being investigated, but resources have been going to optimizing Unity on Wii U first:
Our priority was to get the Wii U build up and done and ready. Because we need a test environment for it, it’s taken a while for Unity to get finalized on Wii U, so that we can actually test against it. So that has been made available now and that is why we’ve got all of these [game] candidates waiting in the wings that are just going through the submission process at this point. Now, we can move on to other platforms and see how we can make those compatible, either with Unity or with additional middleware providers as well.
Although there are no official details yet on how Nintendo plans to approach the 3DS with middleware, the benefits of accommodating more developers does not appear lost on Baker:
So, 3DS is definitely an exciting platform for us, because we’ve got a huge install base, and we want to take advantage of that. We’ve got a lot of developers that want to take advantage of it. So, we’re working towards that as well. But nothing to announce at this time.
How do you feel about the current states of the Wii U and 3DS when it comes to courting developers? Feel free to sound off in the comments.