Epic Games becomes minority investor in SideFX
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Epic Games becomes minority investor in SideFX

Monday, November 16, 2020 | Written by Jim Thacker

Epic Games has become an investor in Houdini developer SideFX, the company announced. No financial information about the business was released.

SideFX president and co-founder Kim Davidson remains the majority owner of the company, and the company says the deal will have "no impact at all" on Houdini's development.

An investor with deep pockets – and a similar business philosophy
Despite a string of Oscars – both for films that use Houdini for VFX and for the developers themselves – SideFX is one of the few major software companies in the entertainment industry that is not allowed to be publicly traded.

Unlike Foundry – also still a private company, but acquired by a number of venture capital firms – the majority owner is still President Kim Davidson, who co-founded the company in 1987.

In Epic Games, the company has found an investor with similar financial prospects: Despite a well-publicized financing round of 1.78 billion US dollars earlier this year, Epic remains majority-owned by its own co-founder Tim Sweeney.

With the acceptance of Houdini by game developers and the increasing use of Unreal Engine as a previs and real-time rendering tool for broadcast and film work, the two companies increasingly share a user base.

No change to SideFX or Epic Games product roadmaps in the near future
The products of the two companies complement each other to a large extent: The Houdini assets can be integrated into Unreal Engine, the game engine from Epic Games, using the company's own Houdini engine and the UE4 plug-in.

However, SideFX states that the investment "will have no impact … on the Houdini development roadmap."

In a thread in the company's forum, Chris Hebert, Marketing Director of SideFX, suggested that development of "all Houdini Engine plugins" should continue "at full speed", but that no additional integration is planned.

While users "may" see Unreal Engine as a render delegate in Houdini's new Karma renderer, the agreement will not change "either their or our roadmap".

Due to the deal, no intellectual property will be shared between the two companies.

For more information on Epic Games' investment in SideFX, see the company's forum thread

Tags: Deal, Epic Games, Houdini, Houdini Engine, Integration, Investment, Karma, Kim Davidson, Minority Owners, Private Company, Privately Held, SideFX, Tim Sweeney, Unreal Engine


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