GamesBeat

Mozilla and Unity partner to make the browser one of Unity’s many available platforms

A Chinese gaming cafe.

Above: A Chinese gaming cafe.

Image Credit: Gamerhub

Follow all of GamesBeat’s coverage from the 2014 Game Developers Conference here.

Mozilla is at it again, taking yet another step toward its goal of making web-based gaming a real thing.

Today, Firefox-maker and Javascript-manager Mozilla is announcing a partnership with Unity Technologies. The gaming giant known for its multiplatform gaming engine will be releasing its newest version, Unity 5, later this year and it will be equipped with a Web Graphics Library (WebGL) add-on. This partnership will bring Unity-authored games to the browser without the need for players to download plug-ins.

This announcement is coming at the heels of Mozilla’s partnership with Epic Games, the game-engine market leader, revealed just last week.

Much like the Mozilla-Epic collaboration, it’s aimed at furthering Mozilla’s efforts of bringing gaming to the web, courtesy of WebGL and the high-speed and performance Javascript dialect, asm.js. Both partnerships will eliminate the user friction caused by plug-in downloads as players can now directly play games in near-native speed.

“This was easily the most requested thing from developers when we started talking to them [about web-based gaming],” said Mozilla game platform strategist Martin Best about bring Unity to the browser.

As mentioned above, Unity’s biggest draw is that it enables multiplatform publishing of games along with its “Assets Store,” which is akin to web development’s front-end libraries (web developers can assemble these instead of coding a project from scratch). The release of the WebGL add-on will essentially make the browser an additional platform on which Unity-authored games can be played.

Unity also has over 2.2 million registered developers, according to Best, making it an attractive partner to the ever-ambitious Mozilla.

“We develop 100 percent open-source code,” said Best. “So the more partners we work with, the more robust we can make this platform. The more partners we work with, the more appealing it becomes to adopt these standards across the web.”

This partnership is one that has been two years in the making. The two companies met up in a hotel room during the Game Developers Conference two years ago and have since been working on making this possible, Best shared with VentureBeat. They have finally reached the threshold at which Unity is comfortable with the performance of the technology, and the companies are now ready to show it off.

“It’s exciting to have the strength of Unity’s developer environment,” said WebGL inventor and Mozilla engineering director Vlad Vukicevic in a call with VentureBeat. He added that Unity’s support is an additional sign that Mozilla’s gaming technology has real potential.

“We believe WebGL and asm.js will be driving the future of gaming on the web. We’re happy to see the platform mature and look forward to helping to drive its evolution,” said Ralph Hauwert, the senior developer at Unity Technologies, in an official statement.

Unity has been working hard to surpass competitor Epic Games, announcing just two months ago its support for the Playstation Vita, which gave it a four-platform lead over Epic, as we previously reported.

At the GDC, Mozilla and Unity will be demoing a preview of the popular first-person zombie-shooter game Dead Trigger 2 in desktop Firefox browsers.


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