Sketchfab, the platform that lets you view, share, and download 3D models via traditional monitors and AR/VR headsets, today announced its been acquired by Unreal Engine creators Epic Games.

Founded in 2012, Sketchfab plays host to over 4 million 3D assets, all of which are accessible through its web-based platform across PC, mobile, and immersive headsets. In a blogpost announcing the acquisition, Sketchfab says it aims to make 3D, AR and VR content more accessible and grow its creator ecosystem, something it says is “critical to an open and interconnected Metaverse.”

Details of the acquisition are still thin on the ground, however Sketchfab says it will remain independently branded moving forward and will be working closely with Epic Games. Sketchfab says it will continue to support other game engines, Unity included.

The acquisition no doubt comes as a direct result of Epic securing a $1 billion financing round back in April, $200 million of which came from Sony Group Corporation. Epic still hasn’t tipped its hand on what that Metaverse will look like, however the company says it’s looking to build connected social experiences starting with its most successful properties FortniteRocket League and Fall Guys.

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“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,” said Alban Denoyel, CEO and co-founder of Sketchfab. “We are proud to work alongside Epic to build the Metaverse and enable creators to take their work even further.”

Sketchfab has partnered with Epic Games in the past as a recipient of an Epic MegaGrant. Unreal Engine, one of the two largest game development platforms alongside Unity, officially supports the 3D model platform via a plugin, as well as Epic’s RealityCapture and ArtStation.

“We will maintain and expand our integration efforts with all creation tools and 3D/VR/AR platforms, so you can easily upload to and import from Sketchfab everywhere,” the company says.

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  • thats uh… pretty cash money, if you ask me

  • kontis

    I respect Epic for a lot of what they do and their great technology, however I have my serious doubts about their vision of “open” Metaverse.

    A dev who wants to let their players mod the game has to tell modders to get the Epic Games Store client and download unreal engine editor to mod the game in any way and the modding tools based on UE editor cannot be legally released in any other way (and there is quite a lot in the source code that is only in the editor).

    A gamer using Minecraft or PS4 Dreams can quickly make a level or a 3D object and share it with other players without leaving the game. THAT’s how metaverse app should work.

    A gamer in an Unreal engine game has to get on Epic Games Store and download the unreal editor to make a level. Even generating a Nanite mesh in UE5 cannot be done outside of the editor.

    Epic literally tells devs in the FAQ “We want to have it all in our ecosystem”.
    Okay, they say it in a bit nicer way, here is the actual quote:

    The intent here is to keep the entire Unreal Engine developer community together, so that everyone from pros to indies and modders shares the same documentation, forums, content marketplace, and collaboration resources.

    Read “the intent” as “doing it any other way is illegal”.

    I understand that this is a big business and they cannot let others possibly exploit their technology. However, considering that fact, they should probably stop BS-ign about their vision of “open” metaverse, because these things do NOT add up.

    • Cless

      They also bought Artstation… I’m really not liking the direction this is going…

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Why not? for content creators on Artstation and Sketchfab it certainly is a big win as they now only have to pay 15% instead of 30%.

    • Lhorkan

      So what you are saying is that every game that wants mod support has to ship with a complete editor suite alongside it? Dreams and Minecraft are literally creation games – that’s what they do. You’re not going to add a fully fledged level creator to an FPS. You’re oversimplifying things and not being realistic. A game engine editor is an incredibly rich toolset, not just the ability to adjust voxels.

      • kontis

        Dreams and Minecraft are literally creation games – that’s what they do. You’re not going to add a fully fledged level creator to an FPS

        This thread is about METAVERSE, not hardcoded FPS games.
        Dreams and Minecraft are a form of prototypes of metaverse, a generic FPS game is not and irrelevant to the discussion.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      I really don’t see the problem with having to download the unreal editor from the Epic store if you want to actually mod the games. And I don’t think most people would have a problem with it.
      And comparing Minecraft and Dreams to a regular game which needs to be modded through external tools is like comparing apples and oranges.
      And how is their metaverse not ‘open’ if you need their tools?

      • kontis

        On Steam any game with moddability that doesn’t ship tools there is badly affected by friction. Epic knows that and not only don’t care, they purposefully embrace that issue. This is nothing but going against the idea of Metaverse.

        Their mod support is still a complicated mess with a lot of roadblocks.
        Gamers hear how it is “open source” thinking it’s super modding friendly, but it’s not true.

        https://twitter.com/StrangerGwenn/status/1419571546750861316

  • Patrick Hogenboom

    Deleted my content

    • Elite-Force_Cinema

      If you hate Epic Games, then you hate Unreal Engine too for being made by Epic Games!

      • Patrick Hogenboom

        UE is probably a great piece of kit, but I hate the increasing dominance which Epic and Tencent have over the game dev industry

        • Elite-Force_Cinema

          No you don’t! You don’t love Unreal Engine just because you think it is a great piece of kit! You hate Unreal Engine just because you think it is made by the Chinese overlords at Epic Games and that you want to ban all games made with Unreal Engine starting with PUBG!

  • Compliments to Sketchfab

  • JakeDunnegan

    Well, to me, the more big developers spend some cash to get VR off the ground, the better.

  • david vincent

    “Epic still hasn’t tipped its hand on what that Metaverse will look like”
    I hope it will be nothing like Second Life or that stupid Oasis where real money rules everything…

  • Markie Cameron

    Great to see massive 3d object compatible with AR/VR
    Markie

  • VRFriend

    HP Reverb G2 controllers not working with Unreal Engine Editor. Invisible. Unable to add them. Simple bug and 10 months without a fix. UE is disappointing for anyone who wants to develop VR apps. You buy an expensive high-end VR headset and can’t use it in UE, because Epic Games doesn’t care to fix the Editor.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Well, what’s stopping you from fixing it yourself? You can just download the source and fix it and ask for them to integrate it back into the main branche.