Unity is a young company by today’s standards, but they are rapidly proving that they can play in the sandbox with the longer established companies. At the Game Developers Conference this March, Unity announced their new plugin that will support 3D graphics in Web-Browsers for Android devices. The Unity plugin has been available for Apple devices for quite some time already, so it is only natural that the company would follow up Android.
What this means for consumers is that there will be no need to wait for long download times, or having to buy the DVD to install a game. This will all be supported through the browser plugin, providing more access for those that may not have the top of the line computer to play the latest games. Since we are dealing with playing 3D games in a web browser, some of the full effect will be lost. The amazing graphics need to be scaled down to fit in the browsers, where on a PC they would be utilized to their full potential. The availability outweighs this small deterrent though. Unity also has a development kit readily available, so developers can easily transfer their games into the new format so that the consumers can play! Keep in mind Unity games require Tablets with the Nvidia Tegra 2 processor.
Another newcomer to the scene is also displaying a very strong plugin for displaying 3D games in web browsers. ShiVa3D has been working exclusively with a 3d browser plugin, whereas Unity is a general development company. Where Unity just announced their capability for Android, ShiVa has already been creating 3D real-time applications and games compatible with the system. While ShiVa appears to be more user friendly, the consensus is that Unity offers better developer support.
The market is slowly starting to become crowded as Adobe and Epic Games, Inc both get on board to offer 3D web browser support. Adobe angling to launch the ability to create 3D graphics in flash, which has traditionally been 2D. Epic Games is looking to expand on their Unreal engine to add more functionality and accessibility. Bringing their outstanding PC experience to Mobile devices.
Already on the market is WebGL, which is embedded in most browsers already and does not require a plugin. At least if you use Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Safari. Microsoft appears to be unenthusiastic about it though. So while WebGL is growing and becoming more accepted, it is hampered by Microsoft’s lack of interest, leaving the field wide open for the plugins.
In the spirit of free trade, this only bodes well for the consumer, offering more options and competition between the developers to all be the one to design the best system, for the best price, to get the most sales.