EA revving up Unity engine

Megapublisher signs multiyear licensing deal with middleware provider for unified development tools on all major platforms.

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With Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 dominating the market, it's not often that another third-party middleware developer makes a headline. However, Unity Technologies has gained a big-time client to elevate its position in the middleware community, announcing this week that it has signed a multiyear licensing deal with Electronic Arts.

Tiger Woods Online was EA's first, but not last, Unity-powered game.
Tiger Woods Online was EA's first, but not last, Unity-powered game.

As part of the deal, EA will use Unity's development platform with an unspecified number of franchises, spanning multiple genres. Further, the deal allows EA's entire stable of studios to make use of Unity's full suite of tools, as they develop games on platforms that range from the Web browser to "consoles and beyond." According to EA, a primary reason for licensing Unity was its ability to quickly and easily convert content from one platform to another.

Though the ranging multiyear agreement is new, Unity and EA have actually been collaborating since 2008 on the Web browser based golf sim Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online. Launched in April 2010, Tiger Woods Online is a free-to-play, microtransaction supported installment in the long-running golf franchise. Developed by EA Tiburon, the online game launched with 10 golfing locales, including Pebble Beach Golf Links, TPC Sawgrass, and Sheshan Golf & CC.

Currently, the Unity platform is able to create content for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Web.

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