Friday, October 22, 2021

Game Engine, Meet Game Streaming: Unity Acquires Parsec for $ 320 Million

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Enlarge / Unity joins Parsec in a $ 320 million deal.

Aurich Lawson

The parent company of Unity, one of the world’s most popular game development engines, has possibly made its largest acquisition of another game company yet. The deal, ended Tuesday, sees Unity taking control of Parsec, a peer-to-peer gaming streaming protocol. The acquisition is valued at $ 320 million.

In the years since Unity’s inception in 2005, its tools have been used to create games for almost every conceivable console, smartphone, and VR platform. It is similar to other publicly available game engines like Unreal in that it revolves around a set of general tools that can be used to create video games from scratch or expand as the developers deem it. Unity users can then nimbly port finished games to a variety of weaker and stronger platforms.

A recent IPO of Unity Technologies infused the company with cash, which it has used to, among other things, move forward with company acquisitions. However, Parsec may not immediately seem like a good fit for Unity’s reputation. How does streaming peer-to-peer games relate to someone trying to make video games?

Developer oriented, not consumer oriented

The answer doesn’t necessarily look like Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now, or other consumer-oriented game streaming options.

Part of Unity Technologies’ decision is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced game studios around the world to adapt to an increasingly remote workplace. Parsec fits that image by allowing game creators to efficiently and securely stream their PC and console environments as needed. Sources familiar with the matter have repeatedly singled out Parsec as an increasingly trusted service for game creators, QA testing departments, and other parts of the games industry, so that the exact testing situations of PCs and consoles can be emulated with minimal latency at the push of a button. issues.

Turns out, the game streaming team at Stadia was also making the same remote test sales pitch for game studios last year. However, in Google’s case, Stadia was caught with its confidential pants down after accidentally leaking a previously unreleased Ubisoft game in June 2020, shortly before the game in question. Immortals: Fenyx Rising, received a more formal debut.

The public face of Parsec primarily involves average consumers using Parsec to force some of their favorite games to work online when the games do not otherwise include native online modes. Parsec isn’t the only service with that sales pitch: Valve launched a similar service, Steam Remote Play, in late 2019 as a built-in switch within its popular PC game store. But Parsec has long distinguished itself in game studio releases as a useful option for the remote workplace, which is possibly where much of its latest $ 320 million valuation came from.

Epic Games, Unity’s best-known rival in the game engine space, has also been busy with its own acquisitions. The largest of these have been full game studios like Psyonix (Rocket league) and mediatonic (Fall Guys), though Epic has also spent a fair amount of cash acquiring add-on tools that you could hope to attach directly to a suite of tools like Epic’s Unreal Engine.

As I wrote in March:

Epic Games’ development-acquisition tear has largely revolved around software and tools, not game studios, as evidenced by. the company’s acquisition of the popular RAD compression and development suite in January. (If you’ve played console or PC games in the last decade, you’ve seen the RAD logo on less the opening crawl of a game, if not dozens of them). And two buzz-minded acquisitions of Hyprsense in November 2020 other Cubic movement in March 2020, have been paid in Epic’s “Digital Humans” Initiative, which revolves around stunning real-time human animations for Unreal Engine games and software alike. These acquisitions have been accompanied by continuous rounds of financing in favor of Epic, and in the summer of 2020 the study was an injection of $ 1.78 billion.

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