Epic Games today announced a new grant initiative that will dole out $100 million to game developers, artists, students, educators, and those developing tools for other creators that make use of its Unreal Engine 4 toolset. The company is calling the initiative the MegaGrant program, and it builds off a similar, albeit much smaller, Unreal developer grant program it launched back in 2015, prior to the success of the mega-hit battle royale game Fortnite.
“This is our way of sharing Fortnite’s unbelievable success,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney says, speaking to a crowd of reporters and industry professionals at the State of Unreal presentation at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today. The grant size will vary between $5,000 and $500,000, and it’s not limited to game developers. Epic says you can be working on media or entertainment of any type, and you can even be focused on building open-source tools for the 3D graphics community.
According to the company, “all grant recipients will continue to own their IP and will be free to publish however they wish,” meaning Epic is taking no stake in the projects it funds. “Submissions will be evaluated, and grants awarded, on a continual rolling basis as funds allow, with no firm deadlines to submit,” the announcement reads.
Although Epic doesn’t specify any limitations here beyond a broad push to fund creators, it does outline some key areas for which it encourages people to apply. Those include “[Unreal Engine 4] dev teams of all sizes” trying to build a project or transition one to UE4; teams working on film and television that want to make use of UE4; enterprise teams using UE4 in non-gaming areas like architecture, product design, and automotive; students and teachers using UE4 for educational and research purposes; and open-source developers building tools that could be of use to the broader UE community.
While $100 million is a substantial sum of money, it’s similar to other cash allocations the developer has made since Fortnite, which makes hundreds of millions of dollars per month, became one of the most popular games on the planet. Epic pledged $100 million to the first year of Fortnite e-sports tournaments, which are ongoing and scheduled to culminate in the $30 million Fortnite World Cup this July. Additionally, since the launch of the Epic Store, the company has used its plentiful resources to lure developers to its PC game storefront with exclusivity deals, in the hopes it can better compete with Valve’s Steam and make its 88 / 12 percent revenue split an industry norm, instead of an outlier.