Epic Games has announced the launch of Epic MegaGrants, a programme that will see developers given a share of £76 million in grant funding, while also partnering with Humble Bundle to bring Epic Games Store content to the site.
During Epic Games' presentations at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2019 last light - which included the release of the Troll tech demo to showcase new features in Unreal Engine 4.22, and a brief demonstration of a new physics and destruction system dubbed Chaos and due to land in Unreal Engine 4.23 - the company confirmed it was renewing its recently-ended Unreal Dev Grants programme under a new name: Epic MegaGrants, inspired by the company's original moniker Epic MegaGames.
Where the original programme, launched in 2015, was based on a £3.8 million fund pool the last of which was exhausted earlier this week, Epic MegaGrants is on a different scale: The company claims to have earmarked £76 million this time around. The programme isn't exclusive to those working with Epic's own Unreal Engine, either: The company has confirmed that grants will be made available to 'game developers, media and entertainment creators, enterprise professionals, students, educators, and tools developers doing outstanding work with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community.'
At the same time, Epic shared some facts and figures for its nascent Epic Games Store digital distribution platform: The company claims to have grown to 85 million customers and 55,000 registered users of its Support-a-Creator programme. Two major timed exclusives were also confirmed: Obisidan's The Outer Worlds and a re-release of formerly PlayStation-exclusive titles Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, and Detroit: Become Human. The former, however, will also be available on the Microsoft Windows Store, and as with the company's other exclusives will arrive on other platforms including Steam twelve months after its initial release.
More interesting is a partnership between Epic Games and Humble Bundle, which was founded on the basis of giving independent developers a platform to promote their wares through pay-what-you-want DRM-free game bundles: Under the partnership, Epic Games Store publishers will be free to sell their games on the Humble Store, with buyers receiving an Epic Games Store key for redemption - the same way the Humble Store currently handles Steam-exclusive games. As with Steam keys sold via third-party outlets, Epic has confirmed that it will not be charging developers or buyers any fees.
Other announcements made by Epic Games during GDC 2019 include heavier promotion of the Epic Online Services platform, native ray-tracing and Microsoft HoloLens support in Unreal Engine 4.22, and the release of the Rebirth demo showcasing what's possible in native Unreal Engine 4.21.
February 24 2020 | 12:00