Unity has announced an acquisition of Weta Digital, a New Zealand-based VFX studio, which was co-founded by Peter Jackson. The deal worth $1.62 billion is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.
By acquiring Weta Digital, Unity will get access to its artist tools, IP, core pipeline, and a team of 275 engineers. The list of VFX tools includes Manuka, Scenic Designer, Lumberjack, and Gazebo.
“Our goal is to put these world-class, exclusive VFX tools into the hands of millions of creators and artists around the world, and once connected with the Unity platform, enable the next generation of RT3D creativity,” Unity Create Solutions senior VP Marc Whitten said in a statement. “Whatever the metaverse is or will be, we believe it will be built by content creators, just like you.”
The artist team of Weta Digital will continue to work independently as WetaFX. This unit will still be led by CEO Prem Akkaraju and will be under the majority ownership of Peter Jackson.
“Together, Unity and Weta Digital can create a pathway for any artist, from any industry, to be able to leverage these incredibly creative and powerful tools,” Jackson told Variety. “Offering aspiring creatives access to Weta Digital’s technology will be nothing short of game changing, and Unity is just the company to bring this vision to life.”
Weta Digital was founded by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, and Jamie Selkirk in 1993 in New Zealand. Its portfolio of works includes films like The Lord of the Rings, I, Robot, Avatar, King Kong, Avengers: Endgame, and The Planet of the Apes.