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Epic Games acquires Sketchfab, a 3D model sharing platform (techcrunch.com)
80 points by NKosmatos 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 25 comments





> With today’s acquisition, Epic Games is making some immediate changes. Starting today, store fees have been reduced from 30% to 12% — just like on the Epic Games Store. The company lowered commissions on ArtStation immediately after acquiring ArtStation as well.

This feels very impressive and community friendly. Buying a company and then intentionally cutting their revenues by more than half. Unreal is well poised for the future.


> This feels very impressive and community friendly

They just pay for prevent critique. Lets see the Sketchfab price list in the next few years.


Let's do see. Epic has a pretty hard stance on 30% being a punitive threshold for a marketplace.

Sketchfab is an enabling marketplace for creators to generate revenue on arbitrary, self-directed 3D content at crowdsourced scale. Maybe Epic pushes to 19% on those costs, but even at 12% the market effects will likely drive revenue an order of magnitude more than any fee increases could over the next few years.


Based on the treatment of other companies they've acquired I think your assumption will age poorly.

> your assumption will age poorly

As a Sketchfab user for few years now, I'm just hope that I would be wrong.


Epic Games has been on an acquisition tear -- just in last 12 months:

- SuperAwesome, child safe games

- Hyprsense, facial animation

- Cubic Motion, another facial animation tool

- Rad Game Tools

- Tonic Games, makers of Fall Guys

- Reality Capture

- ArtStation, artist portfolios + marketplace (usually 2D renders)

- Sketchfab, artist portfolios + marketplace (usually 3D models)

On each acquisition, they usually lower the price of the tools to near nothing. It seems to be a clear consolidation play.


I think part of their goal is try to lower the cost to Game Development which is getting insanely expensive. It was also how they started the whole middleware / Game engine. Currently the vast majority of cost are Graphics Asset and ArtStation / Sketchfab are keys to this goal.

Although in reality the cost reduction will likely be spend elsewhere to makes things a little better. So it is either cheaper or higher quality games.


> Although in reality the cost reduction will likely be spend elsewhere to makes things a little better. So it is either cheaper or higher quality games.

I agree. Photoreal asset libraries will make it a lot cheaper to finance games though, like to build your demo to get the funding could decrease radically. This is the strategy behind these acquisitions.


That's a great portfolio, a very focused and intentional portfolio.

I'll be honest. I'm pretty astonished, solely from the things Unreal has put out recently.

I'm not entirely sure where Artstation fits in though, it seems to be a portfolio website for artists more than a marketplace. It has incredible potential though, if I owned the company I would turn it more into a social network, more chat/communication/group features rather than use it for its assets. I think its only serious competitor is DeviantArt and that website is well, how shall I say it, full of deviants.


In May of 2019 they acquired Psynoix too. There's been some good addition to Rocket League, but the micro-transactions have definitely increased/become more expensive.

Like how Google has positioned itself as the interface between users and most of the internet, Epic seems to be positioning itself to be the interface between game developers and the game development ecosystem. Who will be next, Gamasutra? For Google, this makes sense because they are an advertising and tracking company. I wonder what Epic's model will be - to become a mega-platform, or something else?

Thought it's worth mentioning - they also recently spent $95 million to move their headquarters to a better location.

In general they seem like an ambitious company, and one to be optimistic about.


> - ArtStation, artist portfolios + marketplace (usually 2D renders)

> - Sketchfab, artist portfolios + marketplace (usually 3D models)

That is how Microsoft bought GitHub, usually developer portfolios + donation platform.

TL;DR: LinkedIn


Near forget, about GitHub Copilot, which is trained on users code without GitHub users permission.

Oh noes! I hope they don't gate it behind an engine asset store.

Sketchfab has some real gems, would really recommend. Only a hobby modeler myself, but I have bought assets there for hobby programming.


Given Epic's recent success via free-to-play software, I think there's room for optimism. Free or inexpensive software is a huge draw to the talent pool needed to make such software valuable long-term, and from what I've seen of Epic's business strategy I think they would appreciate that.

True, I don't have a negative opinion of Epic and I think it is a good and sensible investment for them. Still sad to see smaller companies getting bought when I thought they would be quite successful.

Even if they did, art assets (meshes, textures, and often animations) generally are very easily transferable. I don't think the Unreal Engine marketplace licensing says anything about not being able to use commercially with a different engine. Could be wrong, but when I checked a few years ago that was my impression

They also acquired Quixel Megascans, which you can use in their Unreal Engine. It seems this is part of a strategy to move up the chain to game assets.

https://quixel.com/


Congratulations! Here is a Sketchfab launch announcement from 8 years ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5417043 Great work making a viable money making product from the initial idea (Sketchfab has reached profitability before the acquisition: https://albn.medium.com/getting-to-breakeven-and-how-we-made...).

Congrats Alban and team!!

Congrats to the Sketchfab team, get the bag and whatnot, but fuck this consolidation under Epic.

The acquisition of Sketchfab and ArtStation will have a significant impact on the productivity of the game developers and the creatives.

Congrats to the Sketchfab team!

Great business idea for Blender!



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