Epic Games today announced at GDC that the company is set to turbo-charge their long-running developer grant initiative with ‘MegaGrants’ and the largest pool of funds yet, $100,000,000.
Epic have been running developer-focused funding initiatives for many years now, with the original ‘Unreal Dev Grants’ fund announced back in 2015. Since then, VR developers have featured prominently among the fund recipients awarded—many of which we’ve covered on this very site. In many ways, those grants have reflected Epic and Unreal Engine’s early and consistently prominent support of VR since the early days of VR’s latest resurgence.
Now, possibly reflecting the company’s bulging coffers, swelled by the ultra-successful battle royale shooter Fortnite, the company has now announced its first ‘MegaGrants’ initiative. The program now boasts a vast loot pool totaling $100,000,000—all of it potentially up for grabs for budding developers who make the grade, VR devs among them—should you choose to use Unreal Engine to power your project.
Interested? As a guideline, Epic Games have release key submission categories for the Epic MegaGrants which include:
Game Developers: UE4 dev teams of all sizes can apply for an Epic MegaGrant to help make their projects succeed. Developers can also apply for a grant to help transition existing or in-development games to UE4.
Media & Entertainment: Individuals or teams applying UE4 to film, television and other visual media, location-based entertainment, and live events are eligible to apply for an Epic MegaGrant.
Enterprise: Innovative teams and individuals leveraging UE4 in other non-gaming verticals, including architecture, automotive, manufacturing, simulation, product design, advertising and other areas, may apply for an Epic MegaGrant.
Education: Students and educators can earn funding for Unreal Engine research, curriculum, student projects and university programs. Grants will also be given to schools implementing Unreal Engine into classrooms and programs.
Grants to developers range between $5,000 and $500,000 for each award and “cover a variety of endeavors to further ignite creativity and technological advancement within the 3D graphics community.”
Importantly for those developers wary of inadvertently losing control over their precious gaming concepts, Epic Games clarifies that “All grant recipients will continue to own their IP and will be free to publish however they wish.” Also, Epic Games is giving itself leeway for the time frame that these funds will be doled out stating “Submissions will be evaluated, and grants awarded, on a continual rolling basis as funds allow, with no firm deadlines to submit.”
Developers who bravely decide to step into the still budding VR industry fray still face uphill challenges making their projects profitable, or even getting funds to make them happen in the first place. Epic’s MegaGrants could offer small startups and indie developers wanting to build their VR project the cash-fuel required to start, or to keep going. And if there’s one thing the entire VR community can agree on, it’s that influx of original, quality VR content that’s sorely needed to accelerate interest in VR gaming and entertainment, and see the industry grow.
Epic Games’ CEO Tim Sweeney said of the announcement “At Epic we succeed when developers succeed. With Epic MegaGrants we’re reinvesting in all areas of the Unreal Engine development community and also committing to accelerate the open sourcing of content, tools, and knowledge.”
To read more on the MegaGrants initiative, head to the Epic Games website here.