You don’t even get one guess at who made the first acquisition of 2014 in the 3D printing industry. In line with its now established strategy over recent years, 3D Systems Corp is throwing its net even further afield at the start of 2014, today announcing the acquisition of Gentle Giant Studios, the leading provider of 3D modelling for the entertainment and toy industry. Apart from the obvious consumer design connotations this transaction points to, this canny move also brings the 3D printing giant access to decades of licensed content from some of industry’s greatest brands not to mention an expansion of retail merchandising capabilities.
According to 3D Systems, Gentle Giant Studios has led the development of state-of-the-art content using 3D scanning and modeling for more than two decades to develop and manufacture licensed 3D printed characters, toys and collectibles from a variety of franchise properties with global brand recognition, including Marvel, Disney, AMC’s The Walking Dead, Avatar, Harry Potter and Star Wars. Asda — and maybe Walmart — are gonna love this! Although, thinking about it, maybe they already do?
3DS plans to immediately leverage Gentle Giant Studios technology and vast library of digital content into its consumer platform and extend its existing brand relationships to further the reach of 3D scanning, modelling and printing for entertainment, toys, collectibles, action figures in conjunction with numerous blockbuster films and evergreen licensed properties.
Immediate being the operative word here, given 3D Systems’ plans for International CES next week. The biggest consumer electronics show in the world kicks off next Tuesday and the company will have a strong presence, upping the ante on its 3DPRINTING 2.0 initiative by revealing a dozen new consumer products. One imagines the Gentle Giant Studio announcement will play a significant facilitating role here.
This is what Cathy Lewis, 3D Systems’ Chief Marketing Officer had to say: “We are bringing to CES 2014 the most powerful set of consumer 3D printing products, tools, platforms and solutions available today for the benefit of major brands, retailers and users. The exponential performance gains we are delivering together with new categories such as edibles and ceramics, coupled with performance materials, full colour printing and new physical photography devices, positions our 3DPRINTING 2.0 at the heart of the emerging consumer opportunity.”