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What are Epic MegaGrants and how can you get them?

April 12, 2022
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At Xsolla Funding, we understand that securing funding is one of the most challenging aspects of game development. Traditionally, video game development funds have come from one of three sources: publishers, private investors, crowdfunding, or our no-cost matchmaking service. Thanks to Fortnite and Unreal Engine creator Epic Games, there's an additional option for game developers to secure the funds they need to realize their game goals — an Epic MegaGrant. What are Epic MegaGrants and who’s eligible? The Epic MegaGrant is open to developers all over the world with unreleased projects.  Launched in 2019, this developer support program has helped fund a wide variety of Unreal Engine-developed projects. To date, Epic MegaGrants have been given out in amounts ranging from $5,000 to 500,000 to more than 200 different developers for a total of approximately $42 million in awarded funding. The company has revealed that it intends to support this grant for around five years, with a "no strings attached" funding pot for the project capping out at $100 million. The grant isn't just for game developers, either. Anyone using Unreal Engine’s game engine, 3D graphic tools, or open-source software is eligible for a grant. Aside from many game projects, winners have also included filmmakers, people working in education, and even those utilizing Unreal Engine in fields like architecture and the automotive industry. If your application is successful and you receive grant funds, the money is yours — you never have to pay it back. Additionally, Epic features successful projects on its website and even sends press releases highlighting the grant winners, effectively promoting them and their projects. Is an Epic MegaGrant right for me? Epic has pledged that if you receive a grant, it will not interfere with your project, force milestones, or even police your spending. If you are awarded a grant of over $25,000, the games company will conduct phone calls with you to review your progress and potentially offer advice, but that's it. Epic is not signing on to be your publisher, so securing a MegaGrant offers more creative freedom than working with a publisher or an investor. Do you qualify? For Epic, the company’s success is intrinsically linked to the games developed on Unreal Engine. This means they are looking for a project that is either a brilliant showcase for Unreal, a game that will make them a lot of money in royalties. or a toolset that will benefit Epic’s developer community. Does your game show off a high level of realism and graphical fidelity? Does it show how specific tools in the engine can be used to overcome team shortcomings? In other words, are you showing off Unreal’s capabilities in the best light? If your game is controversial or offensive, it is unlikely that Epic will want to showcase it as part of their grant program. Remember, MegaGrants go to projects that show Epic’s tools in the best light — not towards something that could damage or obscure the company’s reputation. While Unreal Engine is free to use, once you monetize an Unreal-made creation and earn more than $1 million in gross revenue, Epic takes a 5% royalty fee. They also want to invest in people who will make their project a success — and that means partnering with people who will put Epic’s money to good use. You may have a visually-impressive trailer, but Epic may not consider your project viable if you can’t show that you have a business plan to back it up. The application process To apply for an Epic MegaGrant, you need to fill in the information required at the bottom of this page. The application process is conducted through a series of forms on Epic’s website. This is where you will upload your game's assets, submit its details, request funding, and provide the additional information that Epic will use to assess whether you receive a MegaGrant. You can also check a box indicating whether you are after a hardware grant. Epic has partnered with both Magic Leap and AMD to offer applicants the chance to earn themselves a Magic Leap one or an AMD Ryzen 7 3800X. Once submitted, your application goes into a long queue. Epic's team analyzes which applications are valid — ensuring your application is complete and that your project is feasible. If you survive this first round of application review, your request moves on to be examined by Epic’s review staff. At this point, the MegaGrants team will reach out to you if they feel they need additional information to reach a decision. This could include a more detailed breakdown of your project's milestones or details about you, your team, and its structure. Once Epic's reviewers have collated all of this information, they will make their final decision. Epic states that it aims to complete its grant review process within 90 days. Epic does say, however, that the process can take longer. Whether your application is successful or not, you will hear from Epic. Although, due to the sheer number of applicants, you will not receive feedback if your application is rejected. Preparing the assets you need Epic has revealed that out of the 9,000 applications they have processed, so far, only 600 have received a grant. This drives home that you have to wow Epic with your application. And where better to start than with your game's assets? As with any marketing asset, you want to ensure that you lead with your strongest examples during your grant application. When applying for the MegaGrant, you can submit everything from screenshots to videos, and you’ll want to treat these assets as you would an official release. Read our text, graphic, and video marketing assets articles to learn how to put your game's best face forward. Ultimately, whatever you choose to submit should show your project — and your team — at its very best. Besides submitting a slick trailer of your project in action, it might be a good idea to submit a video demonstrating your team's passion for the project. Potential business partners may resonate with your passion, so find a way to communicate it. You might even opt to send in a proper playable build. In most cases, however, a slick vertical slice video is a far easier way to show off your vision. As Epic receives thousands of applications, downloading and (trying out) builds would be hugely time-consuming for the Grant committee reviewing applications. Having a short video that shows off your project is potentially more likely to impress. How to improve your chances of success Name your project. While it may be easy to skip this seemingly small step, naming your project adds tremendous value. Not only does it help sum up your project’s identity, but it also makes it easier for Epic grant reviewers to discuss (and remember) your game. Also, tell them what you need. Do you need a specific amount of money to complete your game? If so, lay out exactly why you need that amount and what you plan to do with it. If you can combine your passion and ambition for the project with clear business goals, you're far more likely to communicate a realistic path forward. It’s also worth noting that Epic reserves the right to adjust the sum that grant winners receive as their review process continues. In other words, it's an ongoing conversation. When it comes to video footage of your project, edit it concisely. Epic has stated that applicants who submit 2-5 minutes of slick-looking footage fare far better than those who send in 15 minutes worth of unedited gameplay. Make sure that your video gives them an overview of your game's concept and the story, but don’t bombard Epic with deep lore. On the other hand, if your game serves more as a tool for players, focus on its functionality and the problem that it solves. This video is all about showing off how far along your project is, the tech you’re working with, and how the two work together to achieve overall quality. Epic also reveals that it values transparency over where you are in your project. Have you been working on this for years, or is it a new development? They want to know how big your team is, who you’re looking to hire and what your next stages of development are. Epic is also looking for initiatives that widely support the development community. Consider whether your project is open source and whether it could positively impact Epic’s wider community. This means that if you are developing a game rather than, say, an Unreal toolset, demonstrating how your projects’ learnings could help the wider Epic development community will cast your application in a good light. Epic also wants to know how you will use grant money to complete your project. Explain your specifics. How far will your requested funds go if you get the grant? Be clear and precise about your vision for the project. Don't just explain how you'll spend the funds within your first 30 days. Tell Epic how far any awarded grant money will take your project in the long term. This includes how you intend to promote and distribute your project. While Epic doesn’t ask to see your entire business plan, it does want to know that you have one so that if they give you a grant, you’ll spend the money wisely. You’re approved! Now what? If successful, you will receive a notification of your award. Epic will ask for your bank account details, and they will lay out a payment plan for your grant. You will also receive a literal badge of honor —  an Epic Games Grant recipient badge. This can be placed on your website to help brand upcoming assets, trailers and establish your studio as a serious contributor to the community. Revising for reapproval If you fail to receive a grant, you can always try again. With no cooldown period enforced, you are free to reapply immediately after being rejected. And unlike, say, a job application with the MegaGrant, there is no limit to how many times you and your studio can reapply. When receiving a rejection email from Epic, you can respond with new details to help your application status. If, however, you feel as though your project needs more work, you may have to rework your entire application from scratch. If you find yourself in the latter camp, it's vital to assess where your game and your application may have fallen short and take steps to improve. While you may completely understand your project, concisely translating your vision to the MegaGrant committee may be much more difficult than you anticipated. If you’ve had your application rejected, don’t give up. Get feedback on both your game and your application from trusted peers and consider what you can do to improve both to ensure a more successful second application. Double-check your assets. Are they compelling enough? Epic lists many grant winner videos on its site, showing you the kind of quality (and types of projects) that have struck a chord with folks at the company. It’s also worth checking that you uploaded the right assets and that your assets are at the highest possible quality. Once again, you need to put your best foot forward to impress one of the biggest businesses in video games. Unsurprisingly, Epic also wants to feel your passion through your application. While you may love the game, you’re making, that may not have come across in your application. It’s vital to use clear, passionate language and assets to sell your team and game successfully. Show Epic you care to help your application shine. In conclusion Epic MegaGrants are an opportunity for 3D projects of all kinds to get the funding they might not otherwise be able to secure. The process can provide your game with an additional layer of visibility and teach you how to refine your pitching process while experimenting with your game's own high-quality asset creation pipeline. While you should consider multiple funding options to help develop your game, the Epic MegaGrants program is yet another viable potential path to help you take your project to the next level. Find more funding The Epic MegaGrant is just one way to move your game forward. To complete your game, you'll likely require additional funding. Our Xsolla Funding team can help. Not only do we work to deliver developers like you comprehensive information, tools, and resources to help you find funding, we've built a no-cost matchmaking service to help connect quality games with trusted investors and publishers. Apply today to join and find your match!
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