BlackBerry needs games, and Unity is gaming's greatest enabler, says CEO David Helgason

Unity boss on BlackBerry support

BlackBerry needs games, and Unity is gaming's greatest enabler, says CEO David Helgason
Earlier this month, Unity announced support both for the recently launched BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry PlayBook.

Unity's backing wasn't exactly the industry's best kept secret, but it was nonetheless an important moment for BlackBerry and its future as a gaming platform.

After all, Unity developers can now easily deploy their games – both pre-existing and brand new – to BlackBerry devices, opening up new revenue streams for devs and expanding the selection of apps on BlackBerry World.

So, in order to find out a little more about this partnership, and BlackBerry's gaming potential, we caught up with Unity CEO David Helgason.

Pocket Gamer: Has there been much demand from the Unity community for BB 10 support?

David Helgason: There is always demand for new mobile platforms from the Unity developer community.

Developers realise that there is a market for games on BlackBerry devices and BlackBerry owners have been asking for more entertainment for quite some time. Our community will be happy to provide those options.

What do you make of BlackBerry's capabilities as a gaming platform? Is the hardware line-up well specced for gaming?

The chips in the BlackBerry Z10 are really beefy, pretty much on par with the fastest modern smartphones, and therefore it's a perfect device for games.

BlackBerry is often thought of as a brand for enterprise users. Do you think there's much demand for gaming from BlackBerry owners?

If you look at the demographics of BlackBerry users, there's a lot of young people using them as well as the traditional business types. And our guess is that both groups want to play games.

How simple a process is it for existing Unity developers to bring their games to BlackBerry 10?

It's as simple as it's been with any of our other platforms. We pride ourselves on taking the pain out of development and doing the hard work behind the scenes so that developers don't have to.

It's the same with BlackBerry in that developers will only need to select the platform from the list of available and then optimise. It's incredibly simple and allows game developers to focus on actually creating amazing games.

How important do you think Unity-support is for BlackBerry 10? Windows Phone 7, for instance, didn't have it...

Games are perhaps the most important media type in our generation, and certainly the one where devices can differentiate themselves the most - positively or negatively, as the case might be.

They have high engagement, they monetise well, people talk about them and show them off to their friends, and woe to those devices that don't have them.

Since Unity is the biggest enabler of mobile games, we'd like to think that Unity is a pretty important technology to have on board for any mobile device. For new platforms, games tend to be either one of the most important use cases or the most important one.

The Unity developer community is massive and is continuously crafting amazing games and entertainment experiences for mobile.

As we're all aware, one of the primary uses for mobiles outside of voice calls, texting, and email, is gaming. If you can't game on your device, it becomes a lot less valuable.

There are thousands of developers making hundreds of games per year with Unity, many of which are mobile games. It makes it pretty appealing to have a technology like Unity work easily to bring these games across platforms.
Thanks to David for his time.

Staff Writer's news editor 2012-2013