Unity has entered into a "definitive agreement" to purchase Weta Digital, the tech company that created the special effects for a number of major Hollywood films, including The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Planet of the Apes, Black Widow, and Avatar. Over the years, Weta Digital's tech has provided filmmakers with incredible tools to create life-like hair and fur, facial tech, and more. Following this purchase, all game developers that use Unity will have access to those same tools, allowing them to create incredible new graphics and worlds. The move could be a massive one not only for Unity, but for the gaming industry as a whole.
Weta Digital is currently owned by Peter Jackson. The company's VFX and animation teams won't be going anywhere; these are being rebranded as WetaFX. Following the sale, Weta Digital will become part of Unity, and its tech will be licensed to WetaFX, which is expected to be "Unity's largest customer in the Media and Entertainment space." According to IGN, the sale will cost Unity $1.62 billion, which will be paid through a mix of cash and stock. Unity is not just gaining the tech; 275 of Weta's engineers are expected to join Unity following the sale. At this time, a date for the purchase has not been announced, but it's expected to take place before the end of the year.
In a post on Unity's blog Marc Whitten, senior VP and general manager of Unity Create Solutions, talked up the possibilities of more people gaining access to this technology.
"The unified tools and the incredible scientists and technologists of Weta Digital will accelerate our mission to give content creators easy to use and high performance tools to bring their visions to life. This pipeline has been developed with an artists-first mentality and the result is an incredible set of tools capable of the pinnacle of visual effects (VFX) forged within the uncompromising schedules of hundreds of film and TV productions," wrote Whitten.
It will be interesting to see how this purchase impacts the video game industry, and how developers benefit! As developers continue to find new and interesting ways to push the boundaries of graphics, Unity's purchase of Weta Digital could end up being a game changer.
Are you interested to see the impact of the Unity purchase? Do you think this will have a major impact on gaming? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!