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Microsoft Buys Game Development Tools Maker SyntaxTree

Microsoft acquires SyntaxTree, the maker of UnityVS, a Visual Studio plug-in for developers using the Unity cross-platform game engine.

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Microsoft announced that it has acquired French toolmaker SyntaxTree, the maker of the popular UnityVS plug-in for Visual Studio.

UnityVS is a Visual Studio plug-in for programmers using the Unity game development ecosystem. It enables developers to write and debug their scripts inside Visual Studio.

Over the last decade, the Unity cross-platform game engine has grown to become a widely used rendering engine and tool for game developers targeting the desktop, consoles, mobile devices and the Web, with more than 2 million developers now using Unity for game development, said S. "Soma" Somasegar, vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division, in a blog post on the acquisition. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Somasegar said games are the most popular application type on every major mobile platform—from Xbox and Windows to iOS, Android and the Web. And Windows has long been a great home for desktop gaming, he said. For developers, Visual Studio has been one of the most heavily used tools for game development across the industry, used by big game studios and indie developers alike, Somasegar added.

Microsoft wants to tap further into this opportunity, and adding SyntaxTree to its fold will help enable that. Unity offers great support for targeting or porting to Windows, across Windows desktop, Windows Store and Windows Phone.

"UnityVS enables Unity developers to take advantage of the productivity of Visual Studio to author, browse and debug the code for their Unity applications," Somasegar said. "Already today, dozens of the biggest names in game development rely on Visual Studio and the UnityVS plug-in. With this acquisition, we have the opportunity to integrate this support for Unity even more deeply into Visual Studio, and to continue to push forward Visual Studio's support for game developers. Microsoft will also make the existing UnityVS plug-in available for free on our download site shortly."

In addition to offering UnityVS, SyntaxTree provides a host of services including development on and support for the Visual Studio, Eclipse and MonoDevelop IDEs, as well as support for the Sharpen and ILSpy transcompilers, and support for the Boo, IronRuby and IronPython languages.