July 21, 2021

Epic Games scoops up Sketchfab... and its library of 4 million 3D assets

The 3D asset marketplace will be integrated into Epic's software, with lowered fees to encourage creators.

For those developing in 3D, whether for gaming, enterprise or other applications, Sketchfab is likely a household name. Sketchfab’s 3D asset platform hosts more than 4 million 3D user-submitted assets in a marketplace where scanned and modeled 3D objects are uploaded and sold to those developing 3D environments. 

Today, Epic Games has announced that they have purchased Sketchfab on a post to their blog. Touted by Epic as a way to “make 3D, AR, and VR content more accessible,” the move is designed to help provide a bigger and better platform for growing the creator ecosystem. Having a robust marketplace for 3D assets of all kinds is helpful, especially as the groundwork for the metaverse - an alternative reality that is based entirely online - is being laid by several companies.

Epic games plan to continue to enable all of the integrations that were already in place with Sketchfab’s technology, as well as ensure the company’s offerings will remain compatible with each of the different tools and platforms (including Unity) they support. 

Per the announcement, Sketchfab will continue to operate as an independently branded service while collaborating closely with the Unreal Engine team. In addition, Epic has announced that they will be reducing Sketchfab’s store fees to encourage even more creators to participate in the space. The fees have been reduced to 12%, the same rate as the assets within Epic Game’s own store. 

For Alban Denoye, CEO and co-founder of Sketchfab, he hopes that the purchase will help them to continue their mission of empowering 3D creativity and accessibility of 3D content.

“We built Sketchfab with a mission to empower a new era of creativity and provide a service for creators to showcase their work online and make 3D content accessible. 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.” 

Mark Petit, VP and General Manager of Unreal Engine also praised Sketchfab’s work in the 3D space, stating that they had done an “incredible job of opening up the world of 3D content on the web.” 

“As the adoption of real-time 3D technology continues to grow, demand for web-based solutions will only increase. We are excited to work together with the Sketchfab team to empower even more creators,” added Petit.

While Epic is angling to be the end-all for gaming and other 3D-based entertainment, the assets can also be helpful in other industries, including creating visualizations of architecture designs, modeling factories, etc. 

With the recent purchase of Capturing Reality earlier this year, there could be a boom of additional reality-captured assets hitting the market, increasing the scope of what’s available to more developers. Combined with the increased ease and accessibility of mobile-based photogrammetry and lidar scanning, this might further ignite the supply of these assets - all good news for Epic.

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