Unity Is Buying Weta Digital for $1.6 Billion

Marc Whitten, writing for the Unity blog:

Today, Unity announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Weta Digital, specifically its artist tools, core pipeline, intellectual property, and award-winning engineering talent. The Academy Award-Winning VFX service teams of Weta Digital will continue as a standalone entity known as WetaFX and will become Unity’s largest customer in the Media and Entertainment space. By combining the industry leading VFX tools and technical talent from the incredible team at Weta, plus the deep development and real-time knowledge within Unity, we aim to deliver tools to unlock the full potential of the metaverse.

This is, to me, a wow it’s really happened moment. Even just a few years ago, if you told me Unity and Weta were merging, I’d have assumed Weta was the buyer and Unity the acquisition. But it’s the other way around — and that represents the fact that gaming is now a bigger industry than movies. (As a friend notes, gaming is bigger than movies + sports combined.)

I don’t think this is a big deal for the movie/TV VFX industry. WetaFX continues as it was. But it could be a huge deal for gaming, because Unity now has access to Weta’s apparently excellent toolchain for 3D world building and character creation and animation. Basically, I think Unity wanted to catch up to Unreal in terms of content production tools, and with this acquisition, maybe they do that and more.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021