Unity 4.1, Apple TV, AirPlay and the New Consoles

Unity 4.1 is out.  Although this blog appears to have become a release watch for Unity, it is because Unity has been nailing it.

Apple TV AirPlay 

This 4.1 update that brings AirPlay to Unity games is a big leap in the new consoles allowing many more games to easily stream to the big screen.

AirPlay support

Unity 4.1 brings you full multi-screen AirPlay support. iOS device users running version 4.3 or later can use AirPlay to stream content direct to their HDTV.

What’s more, with AirPlay, they can use their iPad or iPhone as a game controller – running and controlling the game from their iOS handheld device whilst watching the action unfold on the big screen.

Read more about Unity for iOS here.

Apple TV and AirPlay streaming, Ouya, Steambox buzz and probably a Play! device soon (chromebox or buy up Oyua), and more are bringing a big change to the openness of console/tv game development. Everywhere games you take with you and new consoles really.  This is a huge change in that sea. Native apps on the devices will also improve this new perception, as soon as Apple TV SDK is updated for apps (the other important part of this system) it will be a game changer for tv apps/games.

Apple is allegedly planning a special event for March that could introduce a software development kit (SDK) for the Apple TV, according to a research note to investors from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek. Basically, an SDK would allow developers to start submitting applications that would be optimized for your television screen and available for purchase via Apple TV. It could be the start of a whole new era of TV — and even gaming — by some predictions.

Just like chronically incorrect Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, Misek is under the assumption that Apple will eventually release a television set, which is what the SDK would pave the way for. He also expects the fabled Apple television set will have a screen size in the range of 42-inches to 55-inches that costs about $1,500.

And while Misek doesn’t expect Apple to mention the TV set at the rumored March event, he does anticipate that the Apple TV SDK will be available in September or October of this year.
Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2013/02/13/apple-tv-sdk-launch-date/#lXSIOTAYkr3qb6G8.99

AirPlay has always been possible and TV Out on Apple devices since they added it but Airplay for apps and games is a big change for consoles. Having that easily accessible for many game developers. Regarding apps on the actual Apple TV device, hopefully Apple does launch the SDK this year and it isn’t false hope like before but when Unity3D adds support for AirPlay it gets interesting. Lots of other games have this but it will be more common. Gaming in your living room with tablets (essentially the WiiU) is becoming more a reality.  Lots of fun ideas for multiplayer, switching airplay streams for spectating and more. Yes tablets and pads might be more expensive,  but the game markets are entirely different and tablets, phones, pods etc are all challenging both traditional console markets and traditional handheld markets and their pricing.

Get started in Unity 4.1 with some help from AngryAnt. AngryAnt’s DeviceDisplay sample on porting screen out to AirPlay in unity gist.

Unity also updated the Memory Profiler which is excellent, the profiling tools are getting better and in combination with XCode Profiling embedded is getting easier to iterate on.

Developers more than ever need to make multiplatform games and support iOS, Android, possibly Windows Phone +  new console markets and the web (html5/webgl/unity/flash) and desktop (Win/Mac) that exist and are still quite large.  Lots of opportunity ahead in disruption, Unity is in the apex.

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