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Unity to acquire Lord of the Rings effects studio Weta Digital for $1.6B

Unity and Weta Digital have eyes on the future of the metaverse.

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Weta Digital is precious to Unity, to the tune of $1.6 billion.
New Line Cinema

Unity, a maker of video game engines, has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Weta Digital, the visual effects studio behind Lord of the Rings, for $1.6 billion.

In a blog post Tuesday, Unity welcomed Weta Digital, name-checking such projects as Avatar, Game of Thrones and Wonder Woman, as well as the technologies used in those projects.

"Weta Digital's pipeline represents the most complete toolchain for 3D creation, simulation, and rendering ever created," Unity senior vice president and general manager Marc Whitten said in the post. 

In a statement, Unity said the deal will help shape the future of the metaverse, which CNET's Scott Stein characterizes as "sort of a future-forward social hub, a space where avatars can meet, an ecosystem for connected apps." The metaverse has also been in the news lately after Facebook created a holding company called Meta and CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed the company's intentions to develop the metaverse

"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," Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson said in a statement. Jackson co-founded Weta Digital in 1993.

The deal is expected to close during Unity's fourth quarter 2021.