Epic Games is continuing to splash its newfound cash, although this time it's being a little more altruistic: Rather than snatching another exclusive from under Valve's nose, it's shelling out just under £1 million to support the work of the Blender Foundation.
While no stranger to success, Epic Games got a shot in the arm last October when it received a $1.25 billion investment from a consortium led by KKR with Tim Sweeney - who founded the company as Potomac Computer Systems in 1991 - retaining overall control of the company. Since then, Epic Games hasn't been afraid to splash the cash: The company launched its own game distribution platform and immediately set about buying timed exclusivity deals on big-name games including Metro Exodus, and Borderlands 3, with an investor on equity-crowdfunded XCOM-'em-up Phoenix Point calculating the deal for that particular game at around £1.71 million. Epic Games also confirmed it had acquired Psyonix and its popular rocket-powered carball title Rocket League for an undisclosed sum in May this year.
Not all of the company's expenditure is quite so baldly self-serving, however: In March Epic Games announced the MegaGrants programme, a £79.9 million extension to the company's 2015 £3.8 million funding pool for '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.'
Now, the company has announced its latest funding through the MegaGrants programme: Just shy of £1 million, to be paid over the next three years, for the Blender Foundation and its popular open-source 3D creation software.
'Open tools, libraries and platforms are critical to the future of the digital content ecosystem,' explains Tim Sweeney of his company's latest grant recipient. 'Blender is an enduring resource within the artistic community, and we aim to ensure its advancement to the benefit of all creators.'
'Having Epic Games on board is a major milestone for Blender,' adds Blender Foundation founder and chair Ton Roosendaal. 'Thanks to the grant we will make a significant investment in our project organisation to improve on-boarding, coordination and best practices for code quality. As a result, we expect more contributors from the industry to join our projects.'
The Blender Foundation was founded in 2002 to act as a steward for the 3D software toolkit which bears its name, originally launched by Roosendaal back in 1998. The organisation also releases regular 'open projects' which serve as a showcase for the software.
April 12 2021 | 14:00