The New York -based Sketchfab startup has been taken over by Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite and Unreal Engine. Sketchfab has built a platform for uploading, downloading, viewing, sharing, selling and buying 3D assets. Basically, it is the main repository for 3D files on the web.
Epic Games did not disclose the terms of the agreement. Sketchfab will continue to operate as a separate brand and offering. Epic Games also says that all integrations with third -party tools will remain available, including with Unity.
The deal makes sense because Epic Games has developed – and acquired – some of the most popular creation tools. Unreal Engine has become one of the most popular video game engines over the past few decades.
Recently, Unreal Engine has been used for different use cases outside of video games, such as special effects, 3D exploration of virtual worlds, mixed reality projects and more.
But an engine without assets is quite useless. That’s why creators either design their own 2D and 3D assets, do this outsourcing process or buy assets directly. This leads to the creation of an entire ecosystem of assets and creators.
Epic Games has its own Unreal Engine marketplace, but Sketchfab has been working to develop a definitive 3D marketplace for years with three key pillars – technology, reach and collaboration.
On the technology side, Sketchfab lets you view 3D models on any platform. Sketchfab Viewer works with all major browsers on desktop and mobile – you can see an example in Sketchfab. It also works with VR headsets. You can upload 3D models from your favorite 3D modeling apps, such as Blender, 3ds Max, Maya, Cinema 4D and Substance Painter.
Sketchfab can also convert any format into glTF and USDZ file formats. The format works well on Android and iOS.
As far as reaching out, Sketchfab has grown exponentially over the years. In 2018, the company shared several metrics – 1 billion views, 2 million members and 3 million 3D models. At the same time, the company launched a store so creators could buy and sell assets directly on the platform.
Finally, Sketchfab launched an exciting feature for companies working with 3D models all the time – Sketchfab for Teams. This is a software-as-a-service game that lets you share your Sketchfab account with other team members. Basically, it works like a shared Google Drive folder – but for 3D models.
With today’s acquisition, Epic Games will be making some immediate changes. Starting today, store fees have been reduced from 30% to 12% – the same as at the Epic Games Store. The company also lowered commissions on ArtStation once it acquired ArtStation.
For Sketchfab users who pay a monthly subscription fee, everything is a little cheaper now. All features in the Plus plan are now available for free, all features in the Pro plan are available for Plus customers, etc.
“We built Sketchfab with a mission to empower a new era of creativity and provide services to creators to showcase their work online and make 3D content accessible,” Sketchfab founder and CEO Alban Denoyel said in the announcement. “Joining Epic will allow us to accelerate the expansion of Sketchfab and a great set of online tools, while providing an even greater experience for creators. We are proud to work with Epic to build Metaverse and allow creators to continue their work further.”
With the acquisition of ArtStation and Capturing Reality, Epic Games has run smoothly. It’s clear that the company wants to build an end-to-end developer suite for the gaming industry.