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April 2015 Retro Gaming Article


April 15, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Unity support for the New 3DS opens the platform to a slew of indie developers already in place for Wii U

News from Unity's Unite conference in Tokyo brought new potential for Nintendo's New 3DS and XL models. Unity support for the New 3DS will allow many more independent developers to design games for it. This certainly sounds like great news as it should add new diversity to the dev pool for the 3DS platform.

Unity support for the New 3DS The New 3DS is one of the last game consoles to forge a partnership to make use of the Unity engine. The Wii U already had an agreement in place, so it's odd for the 3DS platform to be so late to the game, so to speak. Perhaps the added horsepower of the new model Made Unity feasible.

I'm not a developer, programer, or game designer. I wish I had the background for such tech wizardry, but my station in life is in other pursuits. Despite this limitation, I still enjoy poking around where I don't belong.

Along these lines lets go back in time to the Fall of 2012 when Nintendo's new console (the Wii U) was poised to launch and gain a foothold with gamers an entire year before the PS4 & Xbone releases.

My excitement for this platform revolved around developer news. Nintendo's Wii was always the odd-man-out. Developing for it was a much different process than either the PS3 or Xbox. Thus, many games destined for Sony and Microsoft consoles often did not come to the Wii - it wasn't possible to easily develop a Wii version of a game. A separate development effort was necessary.

But the Wii U claimed to be different. It was designed to play-nice with the other consoles. Games made for Sony and Microsoft were supposed to be just as easy to release for the Wii U - no longer would Nintendo be excluded from the dominant franchise games. So, what happened?

The Wii U launched with few titles and remained with few titles for a very long time. Slowly, amazing games were released for the Wii U, but damage had already been done to it's reputation.

With folks guessing about Nintendo's "NX" news, things look gloomy for the Wii U... with Unity Support. So, why weren't tons of amazing games developed for the Wii U? Remembering that I'm not a programmer, I can only assume that the Wii U was not actually developed to co-exist with the other major consoles. What of the New 3DS and it's coming Unity excitement?

I hope this will greatly extend the 3DS platform's life - I think it's amazingly innovative! My purpose in writing this article is to provoke some thought about why the 3DS is still striving to new goals, while the Wii U languishes in it's shadow. I certainly don't think Unity had any negative effect on the Wii U and it will undoubtedly benefit the New 3DS, but the Wii U should be in the limelight too - but it's not.

I'm excited for the success of the 3DS and it's Unity news, but I still wonder what became of the compatibility promises of the Wii U and all the titles that would easily be ported to all three - Sony, Microsoft, AND Wii U.

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