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game engine

The Unity team (behind the Unity video game engine that powers a number of popular titles) has announced on the official blog that the Windows Store apps early access programme is kicking off. With Unity 4.2, developers will be able to create games for computers and tablets running Windows 8 and RT, publishing them on the Windows Store.

This opens up the floodgates for both developers and consumers to connect with Unity-powered content, but what about Windows Phone?

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The recent extended release drought of Xbox games for Windows Phone has prompted both game developers and players alike to question Microsoft’s commitment to Xbox Live support for its own mobile OS. For their part, Microsoft kinda-sorta reaffirmed their dedication to mobile Xbox games, and the long in-development Skulls of the Shogun finally debuts this week. Perhaps the drought has ended and Xbox Windows Phone games will blossom anew once more.

Still, all those weeks without new games didn’t happen by random chance. There are myriad underlying problems at fault, from outdated policies to poor portfolio management to a combination of apathy and ambivalence from some divisions within the platform holder itself. To anyone with an ounce of understanding of the mobile games industry, it looks bad - and it is bad. But Microsoft can still save Xbox games for Windows Phone.

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Unity Technologies, the company behind the Unity gaming engine, previously announced they would be 'skipping' Windows Phone 7.x due to a closed environment being present, much like Epic Games with Unreal. For those who have games built using said engines this was a fairly confusing situation, especially since Microsoft is actively pushing the mobile platform as a gaming platform.

Current gaming development is aided by both Silverlight and XNA. Cue Press Play, developer of the Xbox LIVE games Tentacles (our review) and Max & the Magic Marker (our review), who have announced in a Facebook post that they will be releasing their Unity 3D porting toolkit to the community as open source. This move will enable developers who have built games using the Unity engine to bring across their titles to the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Check out the post in full detail below. Good news for both game studios and consumers alike, bravo Press Play. Let us hope that we see some exciting titles brought over to fill up the catalogue of games.

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