Games on Android (s goog) are poised to become more robust with advanced 3-D graphics thanks to Unity Technologies, which is expanding its support for the platform. The company announced today it is releasing Unity for Android, its 3-D game engine that will allow developers to easily port over and create robust games for Android devices. It comes at an opportune time as hardware manufacturers roll out a slew of high-powered phones and tablets that will be able to support Unity games.
Unity Technologies, which won our latest Mobilize Conference Launchpad competition, last year released Unity Pro for Android, a pricier platform for building 3-D games for Android. Some 50 games were built for Android using the tools. Now, with the release of the more affordable Unity for Android (Unity is $400 for developers while Unity Pro for Android is a $1,500 add-on to Unity Pro) more developers will likely begin building and porting titles for Android, giving the platform a shot of gaming momentum, something it’s historically lacked.
“Our Pro-only pre-release version has already been a huge success in its first half year,” said Nicholas Francis, chief creative cfficer at San Francisco-based Unity Technologies. “Now we’re doing the full launch of our product and can’t wait to see what kind of amazing things people will develop. I think getting Unity out to the Android developer base will vastly improve the range of quality games on the platform.”
The news highlights the continuing momentum of Unity Technologies, a company we profiled last year. Take a look at a video of Unity CEO David Helgason, who recounts the tough times the company endured before finding success.
Unity is now the top game development platform on the market and has more than 400,000 developers, who create games for the Web, mobile devices and consoles. The company had a big hand in bringing 3-D graphics to browser-based games with its Unity Web Player, which has been downloaded 45 million times. And it smartly moved early to mobile, where it is the go-to tool for many mobile developers. The company said more than 1,000 games in the Apple App store (s aapl) are built off its engine. The power of Unity is in allowing developers to build a game once and port it to multiple platforms with relative ease. Some developers are able to port games over to Android in a matter of days. Besides our Launchpad competition, Unity also won the The Wall Street Journal Tech Innovation Award.
Mobile devices are increasingly becoming sophisticated gaming machines thanks to Unity and other game-engine enablers like Epic Games, with its Unreal Engine. Gameloft announced today it will launch four mobile games on iOS, Android and other platforms that use Unreal Engine 3. Adobe (s adbe) this week also released a pubic beta version of its latest Flash player which can handle hardware accelerated 3-D. This is all good news for the Android platform, which is now poised to have a much better gaming story. That should make it more attractive to both consumers and developers and could play a factor in the looming tablet wars this year.
Related research from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d):