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Unity engine adds support for Xbox One, Windows Store Apps and Windows Phone 8

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The multi-platform Unity 3D game engine will provide support for Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, according to an announcement from Microsoft and Unity at the Build 2013 developer conference.

Unity will develop new tools to support Xbox One, including features like multiplayer matchmaking, SmartGlass, Kinect gesture recognition and Microsoft's Azure cloud technology. Game developers having their work published by Microsoft Studios will get access to Xbox One and Xbox 360 tools from Unity free of charge, Microsoft says.

"I'm also happy to say that the Windows Store Pro publishing add-on will be free when released," writes Unity CEO and founder David Helgason on the company's official blog. "You'll be able to port your games, ads, training and educational apps-any kind of Unity-authored content-to both the Windows Store Apps and Windows Phone 8 platforms with a Unity Pro 4 license."

Thanks to Unity's multi-platform support for Windows and Xbox, "Microsoft's gaming ecosystem will benefit from the wealth of ideas and imagination flowing from the Unity games development community," said Steven Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer and Platform Evangelism group in a release.

At Build 2013, Guggenheimer announced more than $100,000 in prizes available to developers building Windows and Xbox apps in the Unity 3D engine.

In March, Unity Technologies announced a partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment to support the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Vita, PlayStation Mobile and "future cloud services."