As a way to help spread the wealth from Fortnite’s explosive success, North Carolina-based eSports giant Epic Games has announced a MegaGrant program. The company has committed $100 million total in grants to encourage innovation in gaming for media, game, and entertainment developers on their proprietary game development platform Unreal Engine.
“Our success is inextricably linked to developer success, and that ethos guides everything we do,” CEO Tim Sweeney announced to the crowd at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. “From our free Online Services and Epic MegaGrants to new Unreal Engine features, our goal is to help developers, and to equip them to give players even better experiences.”
To date, Unreal Engine has grown to 7.5 million licensees, making it one of the most popular game development engines in the world. Sweeney says that the grants, which could range from $5,000 to $500,000, will come with no strings attached.
Grant recipients will own their intellectual property and have the right to publish their own work.
This program follows a much smaller initiative Epic Games started in 2015, called Epic’s Unreal Developer Grants program. That $5 million fund delivered the last of its grants this week. Recipients ranged across industries such as gaming, film, AR/VR, mixed reality, education, and more.
Content creators can now submit their Unreal Engine 4 project to MegaGrants for review, keeping in mind that they should be able to show impact on the digital game ecosystem and 3D graphics community at-large.
Projects can be built with Unreal Engine 4, or simply enhancing open-source 3D content creation, regardless of whether there is an integration with Unreal Engine. Submissions will be considered on a rolling basis with no hard deadline.
Epic Games also made an earlier announcement to pledge $100 million to Fortnite eSports tournaments around the world, with its own $30 million Fortnite World Cup coming up this July.
At the end of 2018, Epic Games reached a valuation of $15 billion, following a funding round of $1.25 billion. The eSports company stratospheric success has arisen over the last two years following the popularity of Fortnite, which currently boasts 250 million registered players.
Founded in 1991, the North Carolina-based company has 10 offices across the U.S., Europe, and Asia.