Unity puts â??Apple tensionsâ?? in the past

Unity puts â??Apple tensionsâ?? in the past

By Rob Crossley

September 15th 2010 at 12:45PM

Helgason praises Appleâ??s new moves to help developers

Leading mobile game engine vendor Unity is ushering in a new positive relationship with Apple, bearing no more malice over “precarious situations” in the past.

Unity CEO David Halgason describes a sense of unease at the company in the last five months, ever since Apple announced the new iOS 4.0 Terms of Service.

He said Apple’s guidelines “seemed like they might block out Unity from the App Store”, and said Unity even built a workaround in anticipation of such an occurrence.

“All along Apple kept approving every single Unity game submitted to the AppStore – several per day – and even featuring some of them highly,” Helgason added in a new blog post.

Helgason said he had to balance his own customers’ complaints against Apple with a need to remain strong partners with the iPhone owner.

“We never felt it right to shout out complaints, even if many of our friends and customers asked us to,” he said.

“We were after all in a precarious situation where Apple could have started banning Unity apps any day, and our responsibility for our thousands of customers weighed heavily on our shoulders.

“But it felt weird to speak in such a soft voice while under pressure, and we say sorry to those that felt we weren’t being proactive enough.”

Those personal tensions bubbled over in what was otherwise a controlled and measured keynote address at this year’s Develop Conference.

Helgason at the event said Steve Jobs, the Apple CEO, “doesn’t understand the economics of games development.”

Those tensions are now in the past, Helgason said. Apple last week announced it has relaxed restrictions on third-party tool use for App Store games.

“We couldn’t discuss publicly during the last months that Apple stayed in touch with us all along, and that we had conversations with them every few weeks,” Helgason added.

“And after what we must assume has been deep deliberation and soul-seeking inside Apple, they finally came out with a response: they’ve simply decided to stop worrying about how applications are made.

“We think this is exactly the right approach: it’s possible to make incredibly bad applications using just Xcode, and it’s possible to make just as amazingly excellent applications with a tool like Unity.

“The focus of a platform owner should obviously be on enabling its developers to do great work and so to give millions of users fun, thrilling, cute, enlightening and lovely experiences… wherever they may find themselves and whenever they want.

“Apple has been in an accelerated learning process, and even though they’re some of the smartest people we know, figuring out how to operate the world’s most successful online marketplace can’t be easy. We have been frustrated with them along the way (and we have told them so, in a few more words), but we kept the channels open to work on a positive result.

“Today we respect them for coming to the right conclusion and in our eyes it’s best to let bygones be bygones!”