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GameHorizon 2012: Union did $1 million in year one. It will be sizeable business, says Unity's Helgason

@gamehorizon #ghconf Democratising distribution too

GameHorizon 2012: Union did $1 million in year one. It will be sizeable business, says Unity's Helgason
As opening lines go "I don't think game engines are interesting per se," - from David Helgason, CEO of game engine company Unity - takes some beating.

Of course, kicking off his talk at Game Horizon 2012, Helgason was making the point that technology in-and-of itself isn't particularly interesting.

Instead, he argued that Unity didn't set out to make a great game engine but to change the world.

"We wanted to change the type of people who make games. To democratise game making," he said.

For everyone

And the company has certainly had a good stab at fulfilling this goal.

To-date, over 10,000 games have been made using Unity, from online MMOGs, to sport sims and more recently mobile and tablet games. A recent self-selected survey found that 53 percent of mobile developers use Unity.

Helgason said this had occurred in part as the games industry changed, with casual and web games and mobile coming to the fore.

"This means new platforms, new companies and smaller teams. The old console companies can't move fast enough," he said.

He then broke for a question and answer session.

Q: Why is Unity so expensive?

"Historically, we are wildly underpriced," Helgason said.

"If you're a big studio buying everything, you might be paying $5,000 per seat but those companies would probably pay triple that. This might be a lot of money of small studios but it's hard to bifurcate the product further."

What do you think of HTML5?

"HTML5 is fine for 2D content but older browsers don't support it, so I don't think it will be important for the next couple of years. Mobile will adopt it faster, but the problem is you're competing with apps," said Helgason.

"But when it's necessarily we will be there."

Q: What's going on with Union?

This relates to the library of 140 game built with Unity that the company provides to phone, tablet and TV OEMs for licensing.

"We did over $1 million [of revenue] in first year, and we're doing more this year," Helgason revealed.

"No one's going to get rich from Union alone, but it's good incremental model for developers and it will be sizeable business in a couple of years."
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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