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TheArtifex

Are there sponsorships, &c., for small game dev groups? [USA]

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I understand that there's no way every single indie "I wanna make an MMORPG- will you do all the work for me?" group gets funding. But it does seem to me as though there would be some sort of funding available to more... promising... groups. I'm sure it probably depends a lot on where the game is being developed. I'm based in Indiana, USA. Anyway, does anybody have any idea where I should start looking, and what exactly I should have prepared in order to qualify for such funding? Thank you for your time.

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Community of Science. You need to be an academic (under grad, grad students acceptable), though.

Outside of that, you'll have to slough through sponsorships made available by the National Science Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, etc. Good luck, and remember to share whatever you discover, perhaps as an article.

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There are three main areas to pursue:
1. Arts funding - you need to build a case to show that the game is art and (more importantly) it fits with the remit of the particular grant. Arts funding normally doesn't require that your game is particularly commercial in nature but they do want you to convince them that you know how to get it finished so that people will actually see it. In fact some grants are specifically for non-commercial titles.
2. Business start up funding - This is generic business start up funding. You will need a business plan in order to prove that you know what you are doing and that you know where the remainder of the funding will come from.
3. Media funding - specifically for film or other audio visual works. Many local government initiatives that were set up to encourage film/TV now also target games.

The first problem with all of these is that they wont cover the whole cost (or even close). The most they will do is fund a prototype and even with a prototype you will not get additional funding from a publisher if you don't have a proven industry track record. Making a demo is easy, finishing a game is a whole different bag of pain and the publishers know this.
Second problem is that many of these grants are "match funding". That means that they only give you money if you can contribute an equal amount. That will likely have to come from FFS (Friends, Family or Savings).

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