Epic Games Makes Unreal Engine 4 Publicly Available for $19 Per Month

Epic Games Makes Unreal Engine 4 Publicly Available for $19 Per Month

Unreal Engine 4 - Main

A monthly subscription fee of $19 will give any aspiring developer access to Unreal Engine 4.

Unreal Engine 3 was one of the most widely used game engines of the last console generation. It powered triple A titles like BioShock Infinite, Borderlands 2, and Dishonored. But obtaining a license was an expensive endeavor, which meant that indie developers often had to look elsewhere. Today, however, Epic Games announced a shift in its business model, making Unreal Engine 4 affordable for even the most poverty-stricken developer.

"We've always made this available to AAA game developers, costs many millions of dollars, involves negotiating for weeks or months at a time, but for the very big teams that have wanted access to it, they've been able to get it and build some really great games," said Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games. "How could we make the most valuable and useful engine available to everyone as practical as possible? We came up with an entirely new business model for the Unreal Engine."

Now, would-be developers simply need to pay a monthly subscription fee of $19 to gain access to Epic Games' newest engine. "You get access to everything: The unreal editor, for PC and Mac, and on those platforms you can then deploy to iOS and Android," Sweeny explained, adding that more platforms will be coming in the future.

With Sony and Microsoft's newfound love of indie developers and Epic Games lowering the price on Unreal Engine 4, we may be entering a very interesting era for gaming.

Source: Epic Games, CNET

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This sounds quite bizarre... They've always made so much cash off of it.
Indeed, millions per game. I don't see going from a million or more to 19 bucks a month a good way to compete with Unity etc.

Well, I guess it's good to see actual engine competition again. Unity has become the defacto standard for indie devs, simply because it's a good engine at a price someone can actually afford.

It's good to see them forcing Epic to adapt. I very well might actually buy this for a few months and see what I can make.

I'm a bit wary of the 5% overhead, but it's not that much off the top if it's the difference between the game being made and not being made.

I'm curious about the engine's audio systems.

Though, their downfall might be that Unity is much more easily multiplatform: it's very, very simple to say make an iOS build of your game that is also a PC game. Though, it comes with inherent performance overheads.

Well, at least we finally have some interesting options on the Engine market.

So what happens when someone stops paying the subscription, do they have to stop selling their game or switch to another engine?

CriticalMiss:
So what happens when someone stops paying the subscription, do they have to stop selling their game or switch to another engine?

If the game is free-to-play, Epic will still take 5 percent of any microtransactions and ad revenue. If it's completely free and made for fun, there is no royalty agreement.

I think they did something similar with unreal 3, lets devs have it for free but automatically take a cut of the final game.

CriticalMiss:
So what happens when someone stops paying the subscription, do they have to stop selling their game or switch to another engine?

From their website

Unreal Engine 4 is now available to everyone, and priced so that we succeed only when you do. We've made our policies to be friendly and low risk. You can cancel your subscription at any time and keep using the engine, though without monthly updates.

https://www.unrealengine.com/register

Doesn't sound bad.

No you got it a bit wrong there, the full UDK (at this point Unreal 3 engine development kit) is available completely free, and once you want to go commercial it will cost you $100 for the license.
The only thing that was truly expensive was their partnership program where they would only sign up with major devs and then take a sizeable chunk of the profits, but you obviously got the source code and their tech team on loan.

I'm not sure which of the two scenarios this deal is suppose to cover, but they most definitely raised the entry level to $240 each year you want to mess around with UDK4... wouldn't call it the best deal out there.

Bravo Epic, games! That's a real step forward for giving India developers something to work with!

It's steps like these, taht open up the markets for more developers and more games, which ultimately do far more for gaming than the latest increase in number of pixels in a scene or whatever.

CriticalMiss:
So what happens when someone stops paying the subscription, do they have to stop selling their game or switch to another engine?

image
they most likely do the same thing they did with silicon knights, even if it was self inflicted.

steam roll the developer with lawyers into destroying everything they created with the engine + all copies available.
----
its nice to see they start to become reasonable again, but 19 bucks a month can still become quite expensive for indie developers. especially the "would be" kind that have to learn to become the "are" developers with this new engine.

and starting to learn to drive with a "ferrari" instead of a more "stable car" (unity3d) that has free rides is...... not very reasonable.

Kenjitsuka:
This sounds quite bizarre... They've always made so much cash off of it.
Indeed, millions per game. I don't see going from a million or more to 19 bucks a month a good way to compete with Unity etc.

Actually, Unity is free for non-commerical use. It's when you want to commercialize a game that the difference can be seen - Unity Pro costs $1500 per platform. So if you want a PC, Android, and iOS release, you have to shell out $4500 total. Now the question is: Does that still sound interesting for first-time commercial development?

Kenjitsuka:
This sounds quite bizarre... They've always made so much cash off of it.
Indeed, millions per game. I don't see going from a million or more to 19 bucks a month a good way to compete with Unity etc.

The article leaves out the fact that they take 5% of the gross revenue for a game. So even assuming it's used for title that sells about a million copies at $60 a pop, they're making $3 millions. And obviously, given the prevalence of its predecessor last generation, they stand to make a lot more on a lot of games than that.

So no, they're not going to be losing any money here.

It's also worth noting that this isn't the first time they've tried to make the engine more attractive to smaller developers. They did something similar with Unreal Engine 3, but instead of a monthly fee and 5% of gross revenue, I believe they took a large chunk of your revenue after sales hit a certain point. A prohibitively large percentage that made the idea of indies using it when there were cheaper and better options for their needs completely absurd.

Dr.Awkward:

Kenjitsuka:
This sounds quite bizarre... They've always made so much cash off of it.
Indeed, millions per game. I don't see going from a million or more to 19 bucks a month a good way to compete with Unity etc.

Actually, Unity is free for non-commerical use. It's when you want to commercialize a game that the difference can be seen - Unity Pro costs $1500 per platform. So if you want a PC, Android, and iOS release, you have to shell out $4500 total. Now the question is: Does that still sound interesting for first-time commercial development?

Really depends on how much money you have and how much you think you're going to make by selling something. At least with Unity, you're not paying every month for a subscription and handing off a decent chunk of your gross revenue. If you have a publisher for your first games you could easily end up screwed by having to pay more money to Epic as well as distribution platforms and publishers taking almost everything else. People interested in either really need to weigh their options and figure out which one best suits their needs without crippling long term profitability.

But does this actually give you access to the engine source code which you can then change and deploy as you see fit, or is it the UE4 equivalent of UE3 Unreal Development Kit?

If they write you get access to the "unreal editor", that sounds more like the latter.

Cause you know, UDK can be used for free if the revenue from your game isn't very high.

rhizhim:

CriticalMiss:
So what happens when someone stops paying the subscription, do they have to stop selling their game or switch to another engine?

image
they most likely do the same thing they did with silicon knights, even if it was self inflicted.

steam roll the developer with lawyers into destroying everything they created with the engine + all copies available.
----
its nice to see they start to become reasonable again, but 19 bucks a month can still become quite expensive for indie developers. especially the "would be" kind that have to learn to become the "are" developers with this new engine.

and starting to learn to drive with a "ferrari" instead of a more "stable car" (unity3d) that has free rides is...... not very reasonable.

Basically, from this:

Unreal Engine 4 is now available to everyone, and priced so that we succeed only when you do. We've made our policies to be friendly and low risk. You can cancel your subscription at any time and keep using the engine, though without monthly updates.

It sounds like you can continue playing with the editor, and then pick up the subscription when you're ready to *actually* develop something.

It's not free like UDK, unfortunately, but if that really allows someone to have access to the entire editor to learn on, then I can see a lot of indie dev wanna-bes paying a $19 dollar fee to gain access.

Sure beats the hell out of Microsoft's plan to make people pay every year for Word and Excel.

Kenjitsuka:
This sounds quite bizarre... They've always made so much cash off of it.
Indeed, millions per game. I don't see going from a million or more to 19 bucks a month a good way to compete with Unity etc.

Well Let's see. is that per Desktop or per studio.. something tells me that monthly fee is likely going to be per machine...now if you're a one many dev fine, if you've got a couple people working on these things then you need a couple of machines... so that just became $40 What's the actual dev time for a game...months to years. So let's say 12 months...

40* 12=480 per year.

It';s an old trick of sales. Your bank uses this when you apply for loans... essentially when you add up the cost over time it's much higher than the outright cost. Now since this is subscription this likely means whatever machine it runs on won't work too well without internet access...which can be very sketchy. Think that's just a thing fior poor countries... How long do you think it took some people in New Orleans to get Net back after Katrina... anyone in FLorida who's weathered a couple hurricanes knows that the light alone can take weeks to a month.. let alone internet...

So you see... the devils are in the details.

Dr.Awkward:
Actually, Unity is free for non-commerical use. It's when you want to commercialize a game that the difference can be seen - Unity Pro costs $1500 per platform. So if you want a PC, Android, and iOS release, you have to shell out $4500 total. Now the question is: Does that still sound interesting for first-time commercial development?

They changed that recently with Unity, you can now sell the games you make with the free version and only when you hit $100k in sales will they demand some license money.
Still means you are using the limited editor but it is an actual free professional option that can take you from hobby to selling games.

BigTuk:
So you see... the devils are in the details.

I call BS on you.
High end engines like Cry-Engine or Tec5 costs way more than your assumention. For many Indy devs they are often simply out of reach.
Not any longer. 19 bucks a month and 5% of your revenue if you release. That's literally nothing, many people will be able to afford that.
Just to compare something: Apple takes 30% of your revenue to release on the AppStore.

So they're going the same way as adobe then, with smaller recurring fees instead of a single huge payment?

Ishigami:

BigTuk:
So you see... the devils are in the details.

I call BS on you.
High end engines like Cry-Engine or Tec5 costs way more than your assumention. For many Indy devs they are often simply out of reach.
Not any longer. 19 bucks a month and 5% of your revenue if you release. That's literally nothing, many people will be able to afford that.
Just to compare something: Apple takes 30% of your revenue to release on the AppStore.

$19 per user... let us not forget that part. since what an indie dev might have done would have been to purchase it and spread it around the team like clamydia at a shriner convention (don't ask).

Coupled with dubious access to said tools based on internet connectivity. That cost ramps up pretty bloody fast compared to a one time cost you can simply budget into your kickstarter. You';re going up agains a knowable fixed cost versus an unknowable variable cost. Remember dev times for anything that'd require the Unreal engine is not likely to be anything less than a year before you even get to open beta.

One time cost that you can budget for in your initial capital funding or a variable cost that can quickly ramp up overtime...It's not as cut and dry as it sounds. Now if they had said, pay for it in monthly installments of $20 *that* would be a real boon to the devs.

Just so everyone knows, Epic also offers a "Custom Licensing" model if the sub fee + 5% doesn't work for you for whatever reason.

 

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