Unity, the company best known for its line of popular video game engines, has announced plans to purchase the tech division of the Peter Jackson-led, New Zealand-based visual-effects studio Weta Digital for $1.625 billion in cash and stock.
The acquisition means that Weta’s suite of visual-effects tools, popularized in movies like Lord of the Rings, Avatar, and Wonder Woman, will eventually be integrated into Unity’s cloud-based workflow and made available to millions of users, the company said in a press release announcing the move. Unity will also acquire the 275 engineers that build Weta’s technology and “a library of thousands of incredible assets.”
The Weta visual-effects team itself will remain as a standalone entity known as WetaFX, which will still be majority-owned by Jackson. Unity expects that entity to “become Unity’s largest customer in the Media and Entertainment space.” Weta Workshop, which focuses on practical effects and props, will also remain separate.