Epic Games has announced that Unreal 4 Engine will be free to license for schools and their students.
Before you jump at downloading the development tools that will probably be behind a large number of games in the coming years, you should know that the engine is only available to colleges and universities. Furthermore, the development tools can only be installed on a school-owned computer, or a student’s own personal computer if they’re enrolled “in accredited video game development, computer science, art, architecture, simulation, and visualization programs.”
The restrictions go on: “In addition, schools and their students will receive regular updates as if subscribed, but without having to pay the $19 monthly fee. Launch of commercial products is still subject to the 5% royalty.”
So there’s the fine print.
“Nothing is stopping students from honing the skills needed to enter the range of fields using Unreal Engine technology,” said Ray Davis, the Unreal Engine’s general manager, in a press release. “From entertainment software and film to visualization, healthcare simulation and military training… Students who know Unreal Engine technology have a huge advantage when it comes to job placement.”
While Epic Games is undoubtedly trying to lure new talent by making the 4th iteration of the Unreal engine free for students and schools – which could potentially also reinforce the Unreal engine’s stance as the industry-standard for commercial game development – this is still huge news for anyone who seriously wants a job in the videogame or software development industries. Giving artists tools and space to work can only benefit the games industry.
We’ll be interested to see if Epic Games decides to expand access to the Unreal development tools for students and schools.
Want a chance to mess around with Unreal 4 for free? Go here, and see if your school will take advantage of the new program.