Unity to acquire Parsec

Aug 20, 2021 at 10:36 am by nemirc

Last week, Unity announced an agreement to acquire Parsec, a high-performance remote desktop and streaming technology company. Parsec has developed a technology that allows professionals to work remotely from anywhere. The idea behind this move is, according to Unity, to allow game developers to work from anywhere, on any device.

Parsec is a company founded in 2016 by Chris Dickson and Benjy Boxer, and offers a high frame rate, low-latency remote desktop experience on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, Raspberry Pi and the web. The company also offers an SDK that allows its streaming technology to be leveraged across any platform.

The total amount of the acquisition is roughly $320 million, and should happen during the third quarter of the company’s financial year.

I had not heard about Parsec before, so I decided to look more into it. One of the services they have is a cloud streaming service. Basically, what you do is you find a cloud computing provider, create a virtual machine there and then install Parsec. That will allow you to play with others, using low-latency streaming to make sure your gaming experience is fast, and the same for all, regardless of internet connection.

The other service I saw is a remote desktop app that people can use to connect to your company’s computers (for example, if they need to get work done, on their office’s computers, but they are out of the office). What’s interesting about this app is how it can manage access. The app can be used for remote working, testing, and any other thing you can think of, so you can setup access permissions so guest users can only run specific applications, rather than getting access to your full computer. The website shows an example if this by showing you how to create a testing event, so guests (even people who don’t work at your office) can connect to your game and test it.

If you have used a remote desktop in the past, you know it can be very slow, and the refresh rate is not the best. Parsec is (according to the website) faster than other remote desktop products because it’s designed to fit the needs of creative industries.

So far, Unity has done quite a few acquisitions but I don’t recall many of them being implemented in Unity. For example, Unity acquired Bolt, and now Bolt is available as part of the Unity packages on Unity 2021 (and up) and available as a free download for Unity 2019 and 2020, but I recall they are working on their own visual scripting system and Bolt is not really compatible with some newer Unity features. For this reason, I am curious to see what Unity does with Parsec, or if they will keep Parsec a separate company doing its own thing.

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