With $100 million in grant funding already available to developers via its MegaGrants program, Epic Games is sweetening the pot with some gear for Magic Leap developers.
At last week's Unreal Engine Build: Detroit '19 event, Epic Games announced that it would supply Magic Leap One headsets, which retail for $2,295, free of charge to a limited number of developers working on spatial computing apps in Unreal Engine. Developers can apply online, with Epic judging the applications based on merit. While no deadline has been set for submitting applications, Epic will award the hardware grants on a first-come basis in rolling phases.
"We're thrilled that Magic Leap is offering their support to the Epic MegaGrants program with this generous giveaway of 500 Magic Leap One Creator Edition devices, which offer incredible opportunities to explore applications from digital humans to product design," said Simon Jones, director of Unreal Engine Enterprise at Epic Games, in a statement. "The option to receive this hardware as part of an Epic MegaGrant means that more of the funds can be available to spend in other areas, so developers have more financial flexibility and freedom to create."
Epic announced the MegaGrants program at the Game Developers Conference in March. The program offers grants ranging from $5,000 to $500,000 to developers, students, and studios working on Unreal Engine projects. Creators will retain intellectual property rights to their projects, but Epic will take a royalty cut of any project that is released commercially.
Along with Unity and Mozilla, Unreal Engine has supported Magic Leap and its Lumin OS from the beginning, with Magic Leap's amazing Mica, Star Wars: Project Porg from ILMxLAB, Pest Control from Wingnut AR, and Air New Zealand Fact or Fiction from Framestore among the experiences built with Unreal Engine.
"The Epic MegaGrants program allows developers to pursue new goals and raise the bar for what they can accomplish, and we're glad to support that mission by making Magic Leap One Creator Edition available to creators working in the spatial computing arena," said Rio Caraeff, chief content officer at Magic Leap. "Putting these devices directly into the hands of promising developers, along with the financial grant from Epic, will help accelerate the industry and lead to new innovation."
Magic Leap, as well as augmented reality apps and experiences in general, stands as one of the biggest growth opportunities for Unreal Engine, so Epic has a vested interest in ensuring that developers opt to build those experiences in its environment rather than Unity's.
Considering the fact that the company recently closed a $1.25 billion funding round, an investment of around $1.15 million in hardware is a small price to pay for what could be as many as 500 sources of royalties.