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.