Here are the biggest news stories from Unity's GDC 2019 Keynote

Here are the biggest news stories from Unity's GDC 2019 Keynote

Engine giant Unity's GDC 2019 Keynote has just finished up with the firm announcing a wide-ranging number of partnerships, tech innovations and big games using its tech. 

This year, the company revealed who its 'connected games' partner was in China, which company is collaborating on when it comes to physics and the graphics specialist that is helping bring real-time raytracing to its offering. 

That's on top of the games both big and small that are being built on Unity. 

Here are eight of the biggest stories from Unity's Keynote this evening. 

Click here to view the list »
  • 1 Call of Duty Mobile is being built on Unity

    Call of Duty Mobile is being built on Unity logo

    Last year, Activision announced it was partnering with Chinese tech and entertainment giant Tencent for a brand new Call of Duty game on mobile and now we know a little bit more about it.

    On-stage at Unity's GDC 2019 Keynote event, Activision's VP of mobile Chris Plummer revealed that the project is being built in Unity. The developer said that this title promises console-quality gameplay for smartphone and tablet users on both iOS and Android.

    Activision's trailer at the showcase has Call of Duty Mobile 'coming soon', with registrations open already.

    "In Call of Duty Mobile, we're bringing together beloved maps, competitive game modes and signature combat mechanics from across the franchise including Black Ops and Modern Warfare, all together for the first time on mobile in one awesome FPS experience. It's build in Unity," Plummer said.

    "Anywhere, anytime, players from their smartphones and tablets can jump into visceral Call of Duty firefights and build and customise their favourite loadouts, including score streaks, perks and skills, and then compete to be among the very best in the world. We're delivering a deep game and there's many ways a player can compete so we're very happy to reveal today that fan favourite Call of Duty multiplayer modes will feature prominently in Call of Duty Mobile. Players can choose from their favourite modes including deathmath, team deathmatch, search and destroy, and free-for-all and then jump into five-on-five action with blistering effects and awesome Call of Duty maps. This is console quality PvP matches right in the palm of your hand, and it's all built in Unity. Our team is committed to delivering the quality and performance that players expect from the franchise: 60 frames-per-second, low latency, silky smooth and responsive controls, and for the fully-realised Call of Duty on mobile, we sought out the best development partners and the best technology for the job."

  • 2 Glu has made a Disney MOBA

    Glu has made a Disney MOBA logo

    Yes, you read that correctly - Glu has developed a brand new Disney-themed MOBA title for mobile devices.

    Shown off onstage by the firm's senior software engineer Kevin Somers, this title features a cel-shaded and angular take on classic Disney and Pixar characters.

    "Disney's Sorcerers Arena conjures up a world where players unleash Disney and Pixar characters onto a strategic battlefield," he said.

    "Users built custom teams of champions and villains from a deep vault of collectible characters each with their own unique abilities and spells."

    Somers went on to discuss the technical aspects of the game, and how Unity's lightweight render pipeline made life easier for Glu's artists.

    "This runs at 60fps on a wide range of devices - some more than two years old," he said.

    "The lightweight render pipeline also gave access to Unity's shadergraph feature. This gave our artists a lot more control and flexibility.

  • 3 Tencent Cloud is Unity's connected game partner for China

    Tencent Cloud is Unity's connected game partner for China  logo

    Unity announced today that it is teaming up with Chinese tech and entertainment Tencent's Cloud division as its official 'connected game' partner in that part of the world.

    CEO John Riccitiello cited Tencent's success, as well as its games such as Arena of Valor, that already use Unity's tech. The engine firm top bod said that Tencent Cloud will be available to Unity developers later this year.

    "Today we're announcing a new partnership that will help you operate your game in the world's largest growing amazing game market, China," Riccitiello said.

    "Tencent Cloud is Unity's connected game partner in China. With the largest gaming customer base, there's no secret that Tencent having the expertise to power the best and biggest connected game experience. And through these advanced cloud computer capabilities, one of the most valuable gaming insights. Now you get the best practices. Developers will be able to start using Tencent Cloud services to power their Unity games later this year."

  • 4 Havok and Unity have teamed up for new physics functionality

    Physics specialist Havok and engine firm Unity have revealed they have been working together on new physics tech designed specifically with network games in mind.

    Unity co-founder and CEO Joachim Ante said that Unity Physics is written entirely in C# and is quick to both understand and modify, with Havok architect Oliver Strunk adding that this tech describes physics in a "clean and simple way".

    With the data-orientated tech stack, we want to empower developers to create the most rich, interactive and dynamic worlds," Ante explained.

    "And to do that, you need physics. So we decided to partner with a company that has defined the gold standard in physics for simulation in games. For the last couple of months, we had an amazing collaboration with the Havok team."

    He continued: "At Unity, we want to become the best game engine for creating network games. In our experience, physics is often what makes or breaks a network game. So we worked with the Havok team on designing the physics specifically for network games."

    Strunk added: "We at Havok have always been impressed by the creativity of Unity games and we are so excited to show how Unity and Havok work together to push physics to the next level."

    Unity Physics is available now as a preview package, while Havok Physics are going to be launching for Unity in the summer.

    "Unity games use physics for all kinds of different purposes," Ante said.

    "In some cases, a lightweight and stateless physics engine just isn't the right fit. Fortunately, for the last 20 years, the Havok team has built and fine-tuned a sophisticated physics engine and its performance and quality powers the most ambitious triple-A games. So we also want to make that power of Havok physics available inside of Unity."

  • 5 Unity and Nvidia collaborate for raytracing tech

    Unity and Nvidia collaborate for raytracing tech logo

    Games tech giants Unity and Nvidia have revealed a partnership to bring real-time raytracing to projects built on Unity's engine.

    VP graphics Natalya Tatarchuk showed off a car advert demo on-stage at GDC in partnership with BMW. The catch - two cars were shown, one real and one was a digital asset using a mix of raytracing and rasterisation to render.

    Nvidia's RTX tech is coming to Unity's High Definition Render Pipeline in the second half of 2019.

    "As part of our commitment to best-in-class visual fidelity graphics, we rolled out the preview of the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) last year - a highly-optimized, state-of-the-art raster-based solution capable of achieving stunning graphics in real-time on consumer hardware. We built HDRP with the future in mind and today we’re excited to announce that we are working with NVIDIA to adopt its RTX real-time ray tracing capabilities so we could bring this technology to all,” said Natalya Tatarchuk, Vice President of Graphics, Unity Technologies. “Real-time ray tracing moves real-time graphics significantly closer to realism, opening the gates to global rendering effects never before possible in the real-time domain.”

  • 6 AR Foundation is making it easier to make augmented reality mobile games

    AR Foundation is making it easier to make augmented reality mobile games logo

    Unity's AR Foundation is enabling developers to make an augmented reality game once and ship it across both Android and iOS devices.

    Speaking on-stage, Unity senior technical product marketing manager Brittany Edmond said that this framework allows for one build to release on Apple's ARKit and ARCore from Google.

    "We built a framework specifically for AR creators that gives the ability to build your application once and port it across both ARKit and ARCore enabled devices," she said.

    "We've also included additional features to help you overcome some of the common challenges of AR development - from anchoring an object in the real world to the visual fidelity of those objects and more."

  • 7 System Shock 3 is being built in Unity

    System Shock 3 is being built in Unity logo

    Industry veteran and Otherside Entertainment creative director Warren Spector has revealed that the upcoming and eagerly-anticipated System Shock 3 is being developed in Unity.

    The developer said that Unity's tech has helped the studio achieve the mood it is aiming for with System Shock 3 thanks to what is possible when it comes to light and atmospheric details in the engine.

    "As you might as expect from my presence here, I'm here to announce that System Shock 3 is being built by the Otherside Austin team using Unity."

    He continued: "For the game, we want horror, dread and fear. To capture those feelings, System Shock's setting is defined by noir-like contrast with deep, disturbing shadows punctuated by areas of intense focused light."

  • 8 Unity has bought graphics specialist Graphine

    Unity has bought graphics specialist Graphine logo

    A new company has joined the Unity family.

    Graphine has been snapped up by the engine giant, according to VP of graphics Natalya Tatarchuk, who said that the company's tech will help manage the growing need for higher resolution textures in video games.

    "Today, I'm happy to welcome Graphine to the Unity family," she said.

    "The company is a pioneer in virtual texturing and efficient texture streaming. With ever-increasing device resolution and complexity of scenes rising steeply, we need higher-density textures and we need more of them now more than ever. Now Graphine will help boost our architecture and provide best-in-class artist workflows for comprehensive virtual texture streaming."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.