Unity announced that it has agreed to acquire Weta Digital, “specifically its artist tools, core pipeline, intellectual property, and award-winning engineering talent”, for $1.625 billion.
Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings series, founded VFX house Weta Digital with his partners in 1993. The New Zealand-based company is best known for its work on many high-budget productions such as Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series, and Avatar.
Following the acquisition, Unity plans to make Weta’s tools available to millions of creators and artists worldwide via a cloud-based platform. Weta Digital will continue as a standalone entity known as WetaFX and Peter Jackson will remain majority owner of WetaFX.
Unity said in a statement that it will put Weta’s highly specialized and sophisticated VFX tools in the hands of millions of artists and creatives around the world, enabling them to shape the future of the metaverse.
“Whatever the metaverse is or will be, we believe it will be built by content creators, just like you.” the company said in a statement.
With this move, Unity, which enables the development of virtual reality and augmented reality apps and games today, has shown that it aims to be one of the basic building blocks in the metaverse universe.
The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.