Games on Facebook could start getting a lot more impressive, as development engine Unity has announced a new partnership with the social network.
Unity is renowned for its versatility, allowing developers to create anything from simple 2D mobile games up to full-feature virtual reality and augmented reality titles for PC and consoles. The new deal adds the site to that mix.
“Unity will integrate support for the Facebookplatform, including an all-new PC gaming platform currently in development,” Jack King Choi, Facebook’s Product Marketing Manager, wrote in a blog post on Facebook’s developers section.
The move will give developers “new ways to reach and engage Facebook’s audience of 650M+ gamers.”
That’s a massive new market for creators to tap into. Facebook games don’t typically gain the mainstream attention that the likes of Call of Duty or Grand theft Auto do, but they’re big business, with many players buying into microtransaction models. In 2015, Facebook paid out over $2.5 billion to game developers.
Unity already allows developers to output their games to various platforms, and the Facebook team-up will add “new functionality” into the engine to streamline the process of exporting to a Facebook-compatible format and publishing games onto the platform.
“Developers channel their talent and passion into creating amazing games, but development is only part of the challenge,” said Elliot Solomon, vice president of business development at Unity Technologies, via statement. “Integrating tools that provide effortless access to Facebook’s network is a key part of helping developers find the success they deserve.”
“Our mission is to give people the power to discover, play and share the games they love with the people they care about,” added Leo Olebe, director of global games partnerships at Facebook. “Unity is the world’s leading game development platform. It’s great to be working with them to help developers find new audiences for the games they pour their hearts into.”
Interested developers can apply here for immediate access to a closed alpha build of Unity 5.4, which will introduce the ‘export to Facebook’ tool. Applications are open until August 31, although Choi says “new developers will be on-boarded on an ongoing basis throughout the testing period.”
Hopefully, this means Facebook games will start becoming a lot more interesting as the engine and partnership develop.