Today marks the launch of the Oculus Rift, one of the first premium virtual reality headsets to come out this year, with the HTC Vive to follow in April and PlayStation VR hitting in October. The device comes with two free games (EVE: Valkyrie and Lucky’s Tale) and an Xbox One controller bundled together. There are also 30 VR launch games now available to purchase from the Oculus store, which is quite impressive for a new platform. Even more so is fact that over half of them (16, to be exact) are made using the Unity Engine—including the bundled-in Lucky’s Tale.
Unity’s success isn’t limited to premium headsets like the Oculus Rift, as about 90 percent of Samsung Gear VR’s content was made with Unity. Nor do the positive statistics end with virtual reality, since 30 percent of the top 1,000 grossing mobile games worldwide were made with Unity. In fact, games that sport the “Made With Unity” logo are downloaded 1.5 billion times a month.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that so many developers are drawn to Unity, considering how the technology company has done much to place itself at the forefront of mobile and virtual reality development. In February, Unity Technologies hosted the Vision Summit, which united the biggest players in VR to showcase some of the amazing possibilities this new technology had to offer.
Marcos Sanchez, head of global communications for Unity Technologies, said at the time that one of the greatest challenges in promoting VR content is giving consumers a first-hand experience. “Great VR content is already available, but videos and images of VR games and videos don’t quite do them justice,” he said. “To help drive adoption, it’s critical to raise awareness and provide more people demos and access to hardware.”
Since Samsung offered a free Gear VR headset (which normally costs $99) with every Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphone pre-order, we’ve grown closer to getting VR into the hands of as many people as possible. Hopefully, everyone will have a chance to play VR games like Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games, which was developed using Unity for the Gear VR. Additionally, annual upgrade programs hosted by some carriers will help ensure that consumers will always be up-to-date with the latest mobile VR technology.
Now, it’s up to the developers to create compelling content to justify the investment, and many are choosing Unity to make it. When asked why Unity was so popular among VR developers, Sanchez told [a]listdaily, “Unity has always focused on democratizing development by providing developers of all shapes and sizes with a platform that allows them to bring their creative ideas to life quickly and easily. That means taking many of the difficult coding tasks away so that developers can focus on gameplay, storytelling and rich graphics.
“We also provide a host of services from ads to analytics to discovery that allow developers to more effectively monetize their games, increasing their ability to succeed,” Sanchez adds. “Once created, developers can choose from over 25 platforms to export to, including 2D, 3D, VR and AR. That power is why over 30 percent of the games in the top 1,000 grossing mobile games are made with Unity. And, if you’re just starting out, you can download and start creating with Unity for free.”
Sanchez also relates some of the challenges in creating development tools for an emerging technology like virtual technology. “It’s the early days and we’ve only scratched the surface in terms of imagining what virtual reality and augmented reality experiences could look like,” he said. “We’re just learning as a community what works and what doesn’t, because the process of storytelling is different when you move in 3D space. We’ve begun the process by creating an early version of VR scene editing in VR, which really makes sense when you think about it. Our Unity Labs team will be thinking very deeply about not just how developers create content, but how everyone will become creators.”
The sense of exploration falls in-line with what Sanchez said new developers should keep in mind as we enter the virtual reality era. “Mass adoption of VR and AR won’t happen overnight, but it will happen, and it will be driven as much by indie developers pushing the creative boundaries, as by larger more established content and game creators.”
Unity’s chief marketing officer, Clive Downie, also shared his thoughts on VR with [a]listdaily during last month’s Vision Summit, stating that, “People are in exploration mode, and they need to know that that’s ok. There’s a risk and a gamble, and they want to know that this will pay off.” Downie further remarks that all great inventions throughout history have been risky, but they’ve made people’s lives better. He believes that AR/VR will also do so over the course of five years.
Of the 30 games launching alongside the Oculus Rift today, these are the ones made using Unity, and there will surely be plenty more to come in the future.
- Adventure Time by Turbo Button
- Audio Arena by Skydome Studios
- Darknet by EMcNeil
- Dead Secret by Robot Invader
- Dreadhalls by White Door Games
- Esper 2 by Coatsink
- Fly to KUMA by COLOPL
- Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes by Steel Crate Games
- Lucky’s Tale by Playful
- Omega Agent by Fireproof Games
- Radial G by Tammeka Games
- Rooms by HandMadeGame
- Smashing the Battle by One-Man Studios
- Vektron Revenge by Ludovic Texier
- VR Tennis Online by LCOLOPL
- Windlands by Psytec Games Ltd