Today Nintendo announced a pretty huge partnership with Unity Technologies that will see a version of the versatile Unity game engine available for the upcoming Wii U system, IGN has learned. Game engines like Epic’s Unreal Engine are the kind with a lot of flash and attention, but Unity has quietly evolved into a powerhouse of games. We used to cringe when we saw the Unity logo at bootup in iOS games just a couple of years ago, but now the little engine that could can boast visually stunning games like Dead Trigger [Free] that serve as a tech demo of just how powerful Unity can be.

Unity also prides itself on its versatility, making it easy to essentially develop one version of a game that can be distributed to a wide variety of platforms, including iOS, Android, Mac and PC, and even right in desktop web browsers. Now the Wii U can be added to that list, which should give incentive to developers creating Unity games to consider including Nintendo’s newest console in their targets as well.

Starting next year, the add-on for Wii U support will be distributed to the 1.2 million currently registered Unity developers, and I’m guessing that means you’ll see plenty of familiar iOS game appearing on Nintendo’s console in a short amount of time. However, it works both ways, and this just increases the chance that developers who have been planning on making games for the Wii U might also more easily consider iOS and other platforms by going with Unity. And, it's entirely possible that the next generation of Microsoft and Sony consoles could support Unity as well, which would open all sorts of possibilities.

Time will tell how this all shakes out, and we’ll keep an eye out for any sort of significant iOS to Wii U cross-platform news, but it’s an interesting turn of events and really cements the Unity Engine as one of the most versatile and popular ways of creating games.


  • Henrique Sousa

    This is a pretty amazing move! Nintendo gains access to Unity licenses that it can use internally and indie developers all around the world are able to start developing their games with the Wii U in mind, as long as they're using Unity Pro.
    I just hope Nintendo dedicates a portion of their eShop to indie games. In the past they've been hesitant to work with "garage developers", but I seriously hope they change their attitude.
    As a current Unity user and a future Unity Pro user, I'm bloody excited!

    • NODE

      Sure, it sounds awesome, but I'm pretty sure you'll have to be an approved developer by Nintendo before you can develop for the Wii U.

      • Henrique Sousa

        Probably. But I hope that changes. I hope Nintendo creates a section of the eShop dedicated to indie titles, kind of like the Xbox 360's XBLIG. They seem to want indie games on their system and making it slightly more "open" than their previous consoles would be a great step in the right direction. Even if they feel the need to review/approve every single game.

  • Plang Fu

    No mention though a to weather the Wii U will have some kind of indie dev space/support?

    If the platform reamins closed, the impacts of this announcement are going to be a bit less interesting.

    To your point that a Wii U developer may consider Unity and in turn be more likely to port to iOS - that's a really great aspect here and a definite plus. I do wonder though what sort of uptake you could expect if it's still only for officially licensed devs. Especially if you'd still need a proper devkit.

  • araczynski

    Nintendo's just hedging against becoming even further irrelevant. They've always told indies to F off, but now that all the indies are on iOS and even established shops are ding abysmally on the wii, all of a sudden the flash in the pan is looking for another spark.

    • Smileycathy1128

      Well, Nintendo is a video game company. They probably have other things to do.

  • Lazy_Ekans

    Hope they actually start promoting their downloadable games.


    Just because they have given engine support does not mean everyone and their dog can bring games to the system. Unity has had Wii export for a long time now but you have to be an approved Wii Developer and pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to release your title. Same for the Xbox 360 and PS3 support it has. I don't see this being any different or any more open.