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Unity Pro engine is free for ID@Xbox devs

Microsoft enhances partnership with leading tech vendor

Unity is enhancing its partnership with Microsoft by offering free access to the premium version of its development kit to all participants of the ID@Xbox developer program.

Despite the basic version of Unity being free to download and experiment with, users must pay to obtain access to its more advanced tools. This deluxe version, however, will also be free for those who sign up to the ID@Xbox program and are granted Xbox One development kits from Microsoft.

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Existing Unity Pro license holders will also receive Xbox One support for free.

Some of the most prominent Unity-developed indie games for Xbox One include Cuphead, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime.

The Unity engine has become a particularly popular technology over the past five years, due in part to the rising importance of indie games development.

It's free-to-try model has since been aped by rival engine vendors Epic Games and Crytek.

However, the ID@Xbox program has proven to be more divisive, particularly due to its infamous parity clause which means indie games may not be published on Xbox One if they are released on PS4 first.

The current release of Unity for Xbox One is based on Unity 4.3.
"As with some of the other new platforms, Xbox One will not support Unity 4.5 but instead will jump directly to Unity 5.0", reads a statement on the Unity blog.

It adds: "Unity 5.0 will eventually be our recommended version for all Xbox One development, however, we will continue to make updates for the Unity 4.3 version of the product including XDK upgrades into 2015 to ensure teams that have already built to this version of the product can ship."

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