News: Epic Games Builds on Metaverse Foundation with Sketchfab Acquisition

Epic Games Builds on Metaverse Foundation with Sketchfab Acquisition

Already among the leaders in AR development tools via its Unreal Engine, Epic Games has added another tanky weapon to its arsenal.

On Wednesday, the company announced its acquisition of Sketchfab, itself one of the leading repositories of 3D content for AR and VR experiences.

Sketchfab will continue to operate as an independent company, which includes maintaining compatibility and support for other platforms, including Unity, a chief competitor to Epic Games' Unreal Engine.

In addition, in keeping with its new parent company's lawsuit against Apple (which helped propel CEO Tim Sweeney to the top of our NR30 for 2020), Sketchfab will reduce its store fees to creators to 12%.

"The Sketchfab team has done an incredible job opening up the world of 3D content on the web and enabling anyone to edit and publish content online," said Marc Petit, vice president and general manager of Unreal Engine, in a statement. "As the adoption of real-time 3D technology continues to grow, demand for web-based solutions will only increase. We are excited to work together with the Sketchfab team to empower even more creators."

The companies already have a very cozy relationship, particularly through Sketchfab integrations into Unreal Engine. Sketchfab was also a grant recipient from the Epic Games MegaGrants program.

Sketchfab commemorated the deal in a very on-brand fashion with a 3D model of an airplane flying a banner with the message "Epic Games + Sketchfab." You can view the model in AR with the Sketchfab app for iOS and Android.

"We built Sketchfab with a mission to empower a new era of creativity and provide a service for creators to showcase their work online and make 3D content accessible," said Alban Denoyel, CEO and co-founder of Sketchfab. "Joining Epic will enable us to accelerate the development of Sketchfab and our powerful online toolset, all while providing an even greater experience for creators. We are proud to work alongside Epic to build the Metaverse and enable creators to take their work even further."

Speaking of the Metaverse (also referred to as the AR Cloud), Epic Games closed a $1 billion funding round on April 13 to build out its vision of the concept. A week later, Epic Games acquired Artstation, a digital creators platform with a scope similar to Sketchfab.

Sketchfab is clearly the latest building block in that pursuit, and with its massive war chest, Epic Games can buy almost any component it needs to realize its vision of the Metaverse.

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Cover image by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

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