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Microsoft Acquires SyntaxTree To Offer Better Unity Support In Visual Studio

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Microsoft today announced that it has acquired SyntaxTree, the France-based company behind UnityVS, a popular Visual Studio plugin for developers that use the cross-platform Unity framework to write their games.

As S. “Soma” Somasegar, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of its Developer Division, notes, the company plans to integrate UnityVS into Visual Studio “and to continue to push forward Visual Studio’s support for game developers.”

UnityVS helps developers to more easily debug their Unity scripts and provides code snippets, wizards and other tools. It also provides integration between the Unity console and Visual Studio. By default, Unity itself offers its own limited support for Visual Studio C# integration, but UnityVS goes quite a bit beyond this.

intro-slideThe existing plug-in, which previously cost $99 for a personal license and $249 for a professional one, will soon be available for free on Microsoft’s download site. SyntaxTree says it will also soon reach out to its existing customers to provide them with further details for how it will continue to support them. The list of UnityVS’s current users includes the likes of Microsoft Studios, Electronic Arts, Blizzard, Valve and Rovio.

Unity currently has over 2 million developers on its platform, many of whom are also Visual Studio users, which explains today’s acquisition. While the Unity engine supports all of the main desktop, mobile and console platforms, Microsoft is obviously interested in its support for Windows, Windows Store and Windows Phone apps.

Today’s acquisition shows the company’s commitment to supporting the Unity engine in Visual Studio, but it’s worth noting that Unity competitor Unreal offers its own Visual Studio plug-in, and CryTek’s CryEngine pretty much assumes that you are using Visual Studio as your main IDE.