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Microsoft Partners with Unity for HoloLens Development

Development for Microsoft’s newly revealed mixed reality (MR) head-mounted display (HMD), HoloLens, will undoubtedly be very different from that of more traditional videogame development. It’s somewhat surprising, then, to hear that Microsoft has partnered with a well-known engine company, associated with the creation of traditional videogames, in order to provide tools for creators to work with the HMD. Microsoft has this week confirmed that it is teaming up with Unity Technologies to deliver these tools to developers.

Hololens Apps

The news was announced at Microsoft’s ongoing Build developer conference in San Francisco, California, USA. According to Gamespot, the two companies will offer an ‘optimal authoring solution’ for the device, which includes customised tools among other features. HoloLens tools will be available as free editions to the Unity Pro and Unity Personal packages. As a result, many of the apps and videogames users will get to interact with will have been developed using Unity tools.

“Expanding our relationship with Unity Technologies was a natural next step in bringing content to Microsoft HoloLens,” Microsoft Xbox boss Yusuf Mehdi said in a statement. “We are very excited to unveil this partnership and look forward to the possibilities it will open for developers creating experiences for Microsoft HoloLens.”

Unity Technologies is currently focusing on the most recent iteration of its engine in Unity 5, which is set to place a large emphasis on virtual reality (VR) work. In fact, the company has found itself competing to become the dominant VR engine along with the likes of Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 and Crytek’s CryEngine. Will a similar rivalry spark over HoloLens or has Unity Technologies already claimed this territory for its own? Could Unreal Engine 4 and CryEngine also come to the HMD in time?

VRFocus will continue to follow HoloLens closely, reporting back with any further updates on the device.