Game Development Grants: Best Ways to Get Funding For a Game

Indie games, or games published by independent developers, are gaining in notoriety and popularity. Although they often don’t contain all the bells and whistles of professionally developed games, they can still log an impressive amount of plays and earn the attention of top publishing houses.

But, even independent games need some funding to get off the ground. If creators aren’t able to bootstrap their game development, there are a number of options to find the necessary funding. One popular financing option is grants. This article documents everything you need to know regarding game development grants and how to get funding for an indie game!

What Are Game Development Grants?

Game development grants are one of the best game development funding sources. There are many organizations around the world that are made up of experienced game makers who support small indie teams. These organizations often set aside funding to help development teams finance their games. Oftentimes, other resources, such as marketing and mentoring, are available as well.

In order to qualify for a game development grant for your next game, you’ll likely need more than just an idea on paper. Whether it’s a prototype, a trailer, or a video containing gameplay, you’ll need to show the full potential of your game so that others can feel confident in funding it. With this in mind, you’ll need to devote some time and resources to fleshing out your concept before applying for a grant.

How to Get Funding for a Game

Apart from grants, there are five other common ways to get your game funded. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Before making a decision on funding, it’s worthwhile to consider what the best option is for you and your game.

1. Self-Funding

Self-funding your game development is probably the easiest game funding method. You are your own investor, so you won’t owe anyone any part of the proceeds. You are also only accountable to yourself, which can mitigate any pressure from a third-party organization.

If you feel like you have enough funds in your account to make it happen, then self-funding can be an easy decision. Just be sure you budget appropriately for any unexpected costs that may arise. If you wind up asking for financial support from family and friends, you should plan to clearly explain everything you’re going to do with the money and what they will receive in return (if anything).

Although it’s an easy funding method, self-funding can be stressful if you don’t have piles of cash to play with. It’s best to be sure you’re fully confident before emptying your pockets at the onset.

2. Grants

If you believe your game has potential, check out the awesome game development grants below. With a good concept and a little luck, you’ll receive a nice chunk of funding in the form of a grant to get your game off the ground. Just be mindful that each organization has its own requirements, so be sure to read carefully before asking for funding.

1. Indie Fund

If you have a small or medium-sized team, Indie Fund is a great choice! Compared to the traditional publisher funding model, Indie Fund is more like an investment syndicate. This means for each project that needed funding, each investor in the fund can choose to invest or not. If they say yes, they can also choose how much they want to fund.

Grants typically range from $10,000 to $100,000. By applying for Indie Fund, you’ll have flexible milestones, reasonable repayment options, and no long-term obligations. Just note that Indie Fund doesn’t support marketing, PR, or game publishing. You’re on your own for those tasks.

2. UK Games Fund

If you’re based in the UK, check out UK Games Fund. This non-profit organization supports indie developers with funding provided by the government. You can participate in a competition round that occurs each year to win a grant of up to £25,000.

Currently, UK Games Fund is in round 10 with the first funding phase starting at £12,000. Successful teams can land up to £30,000 in full funding after successive rounds. Although applications are currently closed, be on the lookout for the next round. As long as you have a strong team with good ideas and an early-stage game, go for it!

3. Creative Europe

Creative Europe offers a number of grants to support developers based in Europe. Getting started is easy. Just visit their website and take a simple quiz. You’ll just need to provide information about the sector you’re working on, your organization, and your needs (financial support, coaching, networking, etc.).

Once your answers are inputted, you’ll see the available grants that are a good match for you and your game. From there, you can go through the options and submit your applications.

4. Unreal Dev Grants

Unreal Engine, a notable 3D game development platform, offers grants to indie developers through its Epic MegaGrants initiative. But, your game doesn’t have to be developed using Unreal Engine to apply. If your game is currently in development, grants are available to fund the transition of your game to Unreal Engine. Now, you have even more reasons to use UE!

UE grants range between $5,000 and $500,000. You can submit an application regardless of where you are in the world with no deadline to apply. Just get your prototype ready and see what happens!

5. CryEngine

For indie developers who use CryEngine to make games, the application offers grants to help fund further development and other tasks. The total available funding pool is $1 million, which can be continuously increased using contributions from the engine’s pay-what-you-want business model.

Once your developed game is submitted, the voting stage begins where players from around the world will be able to vote for your game. Regardless of whether you receive the most votes from the community or not, your game still has a shot of receiving a grant from CryEngine!

6. Wellcome Trust

In the past, Wellcome did support funds for developers in the digital games category. But that’s no longer a thing! For now, they only focus on funding for researchers on several topics about life, health, and wellbeing.

7. Ancient Games Fund

Ancient Games Fund (or AGF) once offer up to £25,000 for five qualified indie developers and that’s the only time AGF gave away grants funding. At the end of 2015, all games are submitted to the platform and claimed the grants. Not so long after, they’re chosen to be released on the official website in Autumn 2016.

8. Fig

Fig is a crowdfunding platform where independent developers can solicit contributions from a large community of investors. As long as you have a good prototype or an initial idea, you can submit a pitch to Fig for consideration. Just be sure to review the requirements before applying. Currently, Fig does not accept free-to-play, mobile, blockchain, or AR/VR games.

With over 1,000 investors on the platform and flexible funding options (ranging from $1,000 to $1,000,000), Fig is a great place to land a grant if you have big ambitions and talent!

9. Creative UK

Creative UK is a nonprofit organization that supports creative talent across the country. If you’re based in the UK, you can apply for grants from Creative UK worth up to £20,000. You can apply as an individual for a grant of less than £10,000. For grants between £10,000 and £20,000, you must be part of a registered limited company.

The organization recognizes talent from across industries including film, creative, digital media, and gaming. Developers with creative skills are welcome to apply.

10. Video Games Tax Relief

If you’re based in the UK, it’s worth considering whether you qualify for Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR). In general, you can claim up to 25% of profit loss or deduction to your profits to reduce the corporation tax you are subjected to paying. This can help offset expenses and put additional cash in your pocket to further fund game development.

Note that you can only claim VGTR if the game you’re making is categorized as British by the British Film Institute and created for general public purposes. If your game is developed for gambling or advertisement purposes, you can’t claim VGTR.


After applying for a grant, take note of the notification timelines. Some organizations will notify you if you’re rejected, while others will only contact you if you’re approved. If you’re fortunate enough to have your application considered, congratulations! Now it’s on you to complete the necessary steps to advance in the process and secure funding.

Once your game is finished and released, you may be required to pay back the initial investment plus some onward revenue your game generates. Depending on the organization, you may need to share the revenue for up to two years or until you return double the initial investment at the beginning of the contract. Other grants don’t require any revenue sharing or payback at all. It’s always best to review guidelines before accepting funding.

3. Government and Industry Grants for Game Developers

Many countries have programs in place to promote creative arts among their citizens. Part of that support is government grants that are made available for game developers. Other grants are also available from industry groups, trade associations, and NGOs. The available financial support varies depending on your project scope and purposes.

Here are some additional grants that may be worth considering for your next game:

  • Diverse Game Developers Fund: up to $25,000 in funding
  • IGEA (Interactive Games &Entertainment Association): up to $150,000 in funding
  • TIGA (Video Games Investment Fund): £75,000 and £500,000 in funding
  • Other video game grants & scholarships

Game Jam is also a great place to sharpen your skills, connect with the gaming community, and earn some cash to start your own self-funding for the game development journey.

4. Crowdfunding Game Developing Costs

Crowdfunding is a popular method of obtaining investment across different industries and niches. Many individuals have found success in launching new products and services using popular crowdfunding sites. Alongside applying for grants, you could actively consider community support for developing your game as well.

Just like with game development grants, you’ll need to show your game features and a plan or vision you have in mind in order to convince others to fund your game. The only difference here is your investors. With crowdfunding, the crowd (or community) is the one who supports you. They will likely expect something in return once your game makes it to market.

5. Find Investors to Develop Your Game

1. Incubators or Accelerators

Incubators (or accelerators) support your development process from its earliest stages. They can provide funds and other resources such as mentoring, office space, and networking opportunities that will allow you to kickstart and propel your project.

Incubators can also train your team in the right skills and make sure you’re on a path toward success. Being a part of an incubator is a great way to give your game the spotlight it deserves. While the application process is rigorous, it’s a worthwhile endeavor if you have the time and effort to dedicate.

2. VC (Venture Capital) Investors

Let’s say you have a solid prototype and a talented team ready to take your game to the next level. What’s next? If you’re looking for significant investment, VCs can be a great place to find the financing you’re looking for.

Instead of merely looking at your game plan, VCs tend to observe the whole process and the people involved (your team). They want to know that your strategy and vision are sound and that you have the talent to potentially scale the revenue up for a win-win investment. If you’re confident that your game is a winner, why not reach out to a VC and make your pitch?

3. Angel Investors

While VCs fund your project as an entity, angel investors will fund your game as individuals. As a result, the amount of available funding is typically less than what VCs can offer. However, that doesn’t mean you should overlook angels.

These investors often seek out solid connections to your team and a role in mentoring. To find your angel investors, make networking a priority. Actively involve yourself in your local gaming communities and put your game concept out there. Once you’ve gained a good reputation, investors will often come to you. Websites like AngelList are also great places to find your first mentor.

6. Publishers

Instead of reaching out for grants, you could also find a game publisher who is interested in your partially developed game. However, note that game publishers will typically only fund a project with the backing of a full development team. They want to be sure you have the skills and resources to complete the game you’re asking them to make available to the world.

The great thing about working with publishers is that they can support you with the marketing and distribution process. All you need to do is focus on game development, and then let the publishers do the rest for you.

When working with publishers, the game revenue is split between you and them. However, all of the game assets and credits will still be under your name. Given the amount of value that publishers provide, this can be a pretty fair transaction.

Why Do You Need Game Development Grants?

Have you ever wondered how much it costs to make a video game? For marketable games that have a chance of finding big success, development costs can be as high as $250,000 to $500,000. And that’s just development. Additional costs will be necessary for advertising and marketing expenses.

For more budget-conscious developers, mobile games can be a more economical option vs. developing for other platforms. You can expect to spend between $50,000 and $200,000 on mobile game development.

Be Ready to Get Your Game Funded!

You should now have a general understanding of game development grants and ways to obtain funding for your indie game. Whether you choose to go at it on your own, apply for grants, or seek investors (crowdfunded or otherwise), there are a number of options to help you ensure your game is ready for prime time.

If you don’t yet have a plan or prototype, start laying the groundwork now. Once you’re ready, start applying and see what funding comes your way. Organizations and individuals are here to help you succeed, and there’s no excuse not to make the most out of the resources available to you.


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