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Unity to Acquire Weta Digital’s Tech Division for $1.6 Billion

Unity captures Weta’s tech division for $1.6 billion

Unity to Acquire Weta Digital’s Tech Division for $1.6 Billion
Peter Jackson // Illustration by Kate Walker

Unity captures Weta's tech division for $1.6 billion

The Future. Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital is selling its technology division and deep library of digital tools to 3D game-development platform Unity. The goal is to make all of Weta’s tools available to creators all over the world… a move that could bring not just Hollywood-level VFX to productions of any size but also the best in real-time 3D rendering to the in-construction metaverse.

The Jackson Faction
Creators will soon have access to the technology that brought such marvels as Gollum, King Kong, and Caesar the Ape to life.

  • Unity is acquiring the technology division of Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning Weta Digital for $1.6 billion.
  • The deal gives Unity control over all of Weta’s proprietary VFX and graphics tools, 3D art creation suite, and library of assets used on past projects.
  • Weta CTO Joe Marks will join Unity in the same role, and all of Weta’s 275 engineers will join the company as well.
  • The deal is expected to close sometime before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Weta’s creative arm, WetaFX, and its animation division will remain separate entities still under Jackson and Fran Walsh’s (Jackson’s wife) control. They started the New Zealand-based company — now the largest VFX studio in the world — in 1993 to create effects for Jackson’s film Heavenly Creatures.

Worldmaker
With the deal, Unity plans on making Weta’s VFX tools available to all creators through its cloud-based Unite Create platform. This is a huge boon for the average creator, who will now not only have access to its tools but can also subscribe to a cloud-based platform with 50 million lines of code that typically need a thousand computers to operate.

In a well-deserved flex, Weta explained its desire to open its tools to the public: “We’re Jimi Hendrix, and now we’re selling guitars. We think this world has many, many more Jimi Hendrixes.” Can’t argue with that.

Weta actually toyed with the idea of releasing the tools themselves but came to the conclusion that partnering with Unity (with its scale, popularity, and cloud infrastructure) was a better play. Unity-backed apps were downloaded more than 5 billion times per month last year.