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Unreal Engine 4 subscription model announced by Epic

Unreal Engine 4 subscription model announced by Epic

Epic Games announced the engine's subscription model during its GDC press conference.

Epic Games has released its Unreal Engine 4 on a subscription bases for developers.

Previously only available to be licensed for millions of dollars, the popular engine will be accessible for $19 a month with a flat 5% royalty fee payable on any game sales on products powered by the engine.

The subscription will grant access to the full C++ source code which will be downloadable from GitHub and developers will be able to create games for PC, Mac, iOS and Android systems. Console support has not been included in the initial release but may come later depending on the deals Epic can strike with Microsoft and Sony.

The move aims to bring Unreal Engine to a much wider audience whereas before it was only viable to the largest triple-A developers and publishers.

'We’re rethinking our whole business in how we make Unreal Engine available to individuals and to teams,' said Epic Games co-founder and chief executive Tim Sweeney talking at GDC. 'This is a bold new step for Epic, but we think it’s an appropriate one given the new size of the games industry. It’s grown into a very open one, where absolutely anyone can develop a game and ship it.'

Developers are not required to sign up for any fixed term for the subscription and are welcome to drop in and out. A cancelled subscription will mean developers can still access the development tools but just won't receive any of the updates from Epic.

Epic warns that Unreal Engine 4 requires a significantly powerful desktop computer, and is also still rough round the edges. Anyone expecting a more polished product is asked to 'check back in 6 months'.

Check out the Unreal Engine 4 in action below.


11 Comments

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RedFlames 20th March 2014, 14:23 Quote
Likewise Crytek with CryEngine

Both seem to be gunning for Unity...
liratheal 20th March 2014, 16:01 Quote
That's pretty cool for devs.

I like the direction these engines are going!
Dave Lister 20th March 2014, 16:18 Quote
I kind of hope that cryengine, snowdrop, frostbyte etc, give this engine a bloody good thrashing. It seems as if the unreal engine has had a bit of a monopoly for the last 10 years or so, which made most games look very similar graphically.
Maki role 20th March 2014, 22:46 Quote
This combined with the other big engines adopting the same idea is really great news. Suddenly it puts the power of these packages at the fingertips of any interested indie developer or student even. Hell I'm temped to have a play around with it just for a while, I love node based systems, they're so intuitive once you get round the initial puzzling layout.
DriftCarl 20th March 2014, 23:45 Quote
I wish they would just give back mod support. These engines look very easy to pick up and I am sure a group of people could make some seriously good mods for some of the games. Then the studios could hire the best groups and sell them as expansions or standalone games.
SimoomiZ 21st March 2014, 17:03 Quote
So, you can use UE4 for $20/user per month , but face a 5% royalty fee on generated gross revenues. Whereas Crytek is making CryEngine available on a similar per-user subscription model for $9.90/user and royalty-free?
RedFlames 21st March 2014, 20:17 Quote
Whilst there's undoubtedly an element of 'let's undercut epic/unity' in crytek's pricing... the cynic in me thinks there's a catch... It seems [imo] too good to be true...
enciem 22nd March 2014, 18:44 Quote
I like the potential freeloveness of it all but I hope this doesn't mean all games powered with the same engine. UE3 was great but tooooooo many games looked the same because of it
mclean007 24th March 2014, 07:09 Quote
Why not free to use with a royalty model? It would create a huge, loyal developer and surely some absolute surprise smash hits from indie devs. Let's face it, $20 a month is obviously a lot more accessible to small devs than tens of thousands, but it's still a big outlay for casual bedroom devs. I'm sure there are kids out there with the talent and the ideas but lacking the cash to lay down $240 for a year's access to a dev kit.
runadumb 24th March 2014, 20:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
Why not free to use with a royalty model? It would create a huge, loyal developer and surely some absolute surprise smash hits from indie devs. Let's face it, $20 a month is obviously a lot more accessible to small devs than tens of thousands, but it's still a big outlay for casual bedroom devs. I'm sure there are kids out there with the talent and the ideas but lacking the cash to lay down $240 for a year's access to a dev kit.

You can just cancel your sub after a month and play around with it at your own leisure. You only need to resub to publish your game or to get engine updates.

@SimoomiZ
From what I hear CryEngine is much less user friendly, at least for beginners.
Corky42 25th March 2014, 08:41 Quote
So if you publish a game using this model, do you then have to pay subs all the time the game is being sold ?
Not that it probably matters as i guess you would be paying more in royalty fees than subs.
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