Epic Acquires RAD Game Tools

Continuing a streak of acquisitions, from tool developers to a shopping mall, Epic Games has announced they have acquired RAD Game Tools. RAD are best known for the popular video codec Bink and other game related development tools.

In a news post on its site, Epic describes its excitement, indicating that the team will be working to integrate tools such as Bink, Oodle (a data compression tool), Telemetry (a performance visualization tool), and the Miles Sound System (an audio middleware package). “We know first-hand how impressive RAD’s compression technology is, having used it to improve the load time and quality of our most popular games – including Fortnite,” wrote Epic CTO Kim Libreri. “The RAD team includes some of the world’s leading compression, video and game dev tooling experts, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the Epic family.”

RAD CEO and founder Jeff Roberts also seems pleased about the acquisition. “Our work with Epic goes back decades, and joining forces is a natural next step given our alignment on products, mission, and culture. We both believe that solid technologies enable developers to build beautiful, performant, and reliable experiences. We’re excited and humbled to join the amazing Epic team.”

Epic has indicated that all current RAD tools will still be available for video game, film, and television production companies outside of Epic to license and utilize for their own projects, whether they use Unreal Engine or not.

Food For Thought

One hesitates to use the term “seismic shift,” if only because it’s so badly overused for comparatively small enhancements. Nevertheless, the term really does fit here. With the impending release of Unreal Engine 5, having RAD’s compression tools integrated into the engine as well as their engineers to help further improve performance, is going to put Epic in a tremendously advantageous position when it comes to future game development. The fact that Epic is keeping RAD’s tools available for developers who don’t use Unreal Engine is equally smart, since it undermines the appearance of strangling competition.

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