There is an old saying that if you love something you have to let it go, incidentally, this was also the title of the latest blog post on the Unreal Engine website, in which Epic Games had taken down the last barrier to stop people from building games in their engine and making it completely free.
The engine, originally launched in March 2014 for early adoptors featured a $19 subscription based model, Epic stated that they wanted to do this to open the engine up to more people. Previously, Epic charged a pricey licencing fee for large developmental teams.
In the blog post mentioned above, Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games stated “The state of Unreal is strong, and we’ve realized that as we take away barriers, more people are able to fulfill their creative visions and shape the future of the medium we love. That’s why we’re taking away the last barrier to entry, and going free.”
“Unreal Engine 4 scales from indie projects to high-end blockbusters; it supports major platforms; and, it includes 100% of the C++ source code. Epic’s goal is to give developers everything, so they can do anything and be in control of their own schedule and their own destiny. Whatever is required to build and ship a game can be found in UE4, sourced in the Marketplace, or built and shared it with others.”
The engine is available for free right now, with Epic confirming that this is the Full Version, and all future update will remain free as well, where only market place items designed by the community will be charged. Epic does ask for 5% royalty on gross revenue above $3,000 per product, per quarter. Gamasutra reports that larger studios can still negotiate deals with Epic to reduce reduce or cut royalty payments. “It’s a simple arrangement in which we succeed only when you succeed,” said Sweeney.
If you were one of the people subscribed to Unreal’s subscription plan since January 31st, you’ll be looking at a possible refund, and if you ever had the subscription service you will be receiving a $30 credit for the Unreal Marketplace. Epic also release a new Sizzle reel showcasing several big titles using the Unreal Engine 4 including Hellblade, DmC: Definitive Edition, and Batman: Arkham Knight.