hile Epic Games may have just released early access to the highly coveted Unreal Engine 5, this quarter brings an even more important development: Epic's major acquisition of ArtStation.

For those who do not know, and as summarized by Epic, "ArtStation provides a platform for creators across games, media and entertainment where they can develop and share their portfolios, post and discover job opportunities and make a living doing what they love." Importantly, ArtStation is the largest, most dependable independent artist community online today. No other forum, marketplace, or portfolio platform compares to the clean access to artists, assets, contact information, art, and community ArtStation provides.

ArtStation was founded in 2014 by Leonard Teo as a website for artists to showcase their work, network with other artists, and find opportunities within the industry. For six years, ArtStation has established itself as the definitive home for CGI artists to connect and share their work. It is now considered an integral resource for studios, artists and other media companies. 

Epic Games is the creator of the massively popular game Fortnite, the real-time rendering platform Unreal Engine, and more. They recently launched MetaHumans Creator, powered by Unreal Engine, a powerful, browser-based program for 3D human creation. The MetaHumans Creator tool saves time and frees CGI artists from having to work within multiple programs to generate beautiful human assets. 

Image sourced from Epic Games.

Together, Epic Games and ArtStation will provide enhanced resources, methods, equipment and alliances for the creator community to leverage. Epic Games will collaborate with ArtStation to create new tools in the ArtStation community, ensuring an equally improved website for creators all over the world. Together, the two digital art powerhouses will grow a forum that pulls creatives from entertainment, games, and media, allowing them to foster even more community growth and development.

“Over the last seven years, we've worked hard to enable creators to showcase their work, connect with opportunities and make a living doing what they love. As part of Epic, we will be able to advance this mission and give back to the community in ways that we weren’t able to on our own while retaining the ArtStation name and spirit,” says Teo, CEO, and co-founder of ArtStation.

Now that Epic Games has full control over ArtStation, they will have access to a thriving community of artists and creators. They can leverage the website to find new talent, educate the next generation of artists and increase the relevancy of Epic Games within the CGI community. 

Imaged sourced from ArtStation.

In a bid to ensure that creatives gain top-notch value from the ArtStation forum, Epic Games lowered ArtStation’s marketplace fees from 30% to 12% and deemed 'ArtStation Learning' to be free of charge for the rest of the year for all users. Removing the burden of cost will bring more artists to the platform and, through education, entice them to try Unreal Engine.

“We are thrilled that ArtStation is joining Epic as we work to accelerate the development and growth of the creator community worldwide,” said Marc Petit, the VP and General Manager of Unreal Engine.

“The ArtStation leadership team brings tremendous talent and an unparalleled track record of supporting a vibrant creator community and ecosystem. We look forward to working with them to provide creators with access to even more resources and tools, empowering them to do their best work.”

ArtStation will maintain strong alliances with the Unreal Engine team while operating as an independent group and brand, with Epic Games as the umbrella. This dynamic ensures a seamless transition and maintains artists will continue to enjoy the same convenience on the ArtStation’s platform as before.

This acquisition ultimately represents an ace play in Epic Games' ongoing trajectory to win the metaverse wars. By owning and cultivating spaces where digital creators can gather to showcase their work, learn how to create new things, and find new sources of income, Epic increases the likelihood of Unreal Engine's total adoption within the community. In turn, and in time, Unreal Engine will become the de facto creation platform for artists by putting the creator community first.

ArtStation built a spoke in the global art community's wheel, and Epic now steers the bike. Big things will surely come from this exciting merger.

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