Valve and Unity Join Forces - What Will This Mean For Developers?

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John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity Technologies, says 90-95% of VR experiences are developed within the company’s Unity game engine and 47% of all developers (including outside of VR) use Unity. When Valve announced that it would be partnering with Unity to allow SteamVR to support Unity Technologies, it signaled a major step for developers focusing on the HTC Vive.

Registered Unity Developers
Source: Unity Technologies

But what does that mean for developers?

As the HTC Vive gets ready for consumer release this April, most developers are just beginning to receive dev kits, which can significantly delay software release cycles. Because the Vive relies on room-scale for VR experiences, it makes it difficult for developers to create quality applications that are properly scaled.

With developers so focused on figuring out the room-scale for the Vive, they may overlook another major development problem - engaging the user.

During a Greenlight VR analyst briefing at the Vision Summit 2016, Sylvio Drouin, EVP of Unity Labs, says “Most developers struggle with creating engaging content, and keeping users engaged...The developers have to make engaging content to keep their users captivated for hours, not just 10 to 15 minutes!”

What we imagine we will see are a lot of people frantically scrambling to get something out on SteamVR in time for the April shipment. This could be at the expense of understanding user engagement and developing applications for SteamVR that overcome this challenge.

The good news is that the implementation of SteamVR into Unity with native support will allow for further experimentation, exploration, and a whole new set of capabilities brought on by the pairing. Because the HTC Vive allows for a deeper degree of immersion, developers can now aim for much richer and native virtual reality experiences.

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