GDC 2017: New Unity Plugin Increases Streaming Capabilites

by Charles Singletary • March 1st, 2017

Many companies are making waves across the gaming industry at GDC this week and Unity has certainly contributed to a few headlines. Their 5.6 update, releasing at the end of this month, is welcoming compatibility for Google Daydream and Cardboard and they’re charging forward with their EditorVR platform as well. A new announcement related to the game engine isn’t directly pointed at VR, but it certainly will affect VR streamers as a new plugin has been announced that will increase the power of streaming within Unity-developed games.

At GDC, Wowza Media Systems announced a collection of development tools for Unity software and one of them is a plugin that allows for a connection to Wowza’s GoCoder. Wowza is a company founded in 2005 that focuses on simplifying the streaming process and this connection to GoCoder allows streamers and devs to stream using the first-person camera in Unity. Many gamers and devs will find benefits for this, but VR and AR experiences will potentially find even more utility in this feature. Web developer Oxagile created this plugin as part of a Wowza GoCoder SDK dev contest.

“One of the biggest streaming challenges for the gaming and mobile community has been the reliance on extra encoders and software,” says Wowza VP of Product Mike Talvensaari via press release for the reveal. “These third-party applications end up reducing computing resources and can often impact the gaming experience, especially for mobile gamers.” This plugin will give devs an easier way to integrate GoCoder functionality, thus opening the door for easier streaming features for their gaming communities.

Such a move has incredible potential for VR and AR. With the growth of Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and other social streaming platforms, gamers are looking for the most efficient ways to set up their streams and this could be an impactful development. Further, VR could benefit greatly from easier streaming solutions as well. Though it’s difficult to just explain with words what makes the platform so exciting, seeing players in action using VR headsets could inspire more people to give it a shot.

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