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A Fireside Chat with Unity’s Marc Whitten

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In August, we shared the news that Unity, our longtime partner and a global leader in real-time 3D technology, had selected Azure as its cloud partner for building and operating real-time 3D (RT3D) experiences from the Unity engine. This strengthening of our partnership builds on our shared commitment to expanding the creation and distribution of 3D content, to bringing relevant tools and technologies to a wider range of developers, and to making it easier than ever to bring games to players.

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Recently, Microsoft Game Dev Editorial Director N’Gai Croal had the opportunity to virtually sit down with Marc Whitten, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Unity Create Solutions, to talk about how we’re working together to make it easier than ever for game creators around the world to publish to Xbox consoles and PC so they can better reach their existing communities and build new ones. You can watch the full video of the chat below or view it here on YouTube.

 

The discussion was wide-ranging, touching on everything from the ways that the game industry and Hollywood are alike (and how they differ) to Unity’s addition of Weta Digital and Ziva Dynamics to the Unity Create Solutions toolset. Naturally, the lion’s share of the chat revolved around how the movement to the cloud has changed game development and how Unity’s partnership with Azure will allow them to provide developers with even more impactful tools and greater flexibility.

Here are some relevant quotes from the discussion, lightly edited for clarity.

Marc Whitten on whether games or movies put a bigger demand on technology:

I believe that game creators and game players have typically been on the leading edge of pushing what is possible with any technology forward, and then that typically filters back in through a lot of other use cases. I think as humans we like to be entertained and we like to play games. And so, if you give any piece of technology to a creator, they’re going to make a game out of it. And if you give that to a player, they’re going to ask that creator to make it a little bit better.

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Marc Whitten on the importance of making cloud-native game development tools:

Undeniably, in a hybrid world, creators themselves, when they’re in teams, are going to be more and more in different locations. So making it easy for them to collaborate together, to work on assets that are in the cloud, to be able to access hardware regardless of where that hardware is, is pretty critical to the creation experience.

Marc Whitten on why Unity chose Azure as its cloud partner:

In talking to Azure’s leadership and some senior engineering talent, we saw a shared vision. They were very helpful in helping us understand some potential blind spots and were as excited as we were about the potential of the partnership. They’re a great partner for us as we look at how to accelerate how we can add value through the cloud and increase the impact of products and technologies like this.

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