Epic Games has moved their game development engine, Unreal Engine 4, from a monthly subscription to a permanently free service. Previously available at a price point of $19 a month, Unreal Engine 4 is now freely available to anyone who wants to make use of it.
The only cost for using the engine will come in the form of royalties, that requires any commercially sold project to pay Epic 5% of gross revenue, but only after $3,000 earned per quarter. In short, while Epic pockets a little money, the engine is largely free to be used and explored in a low-risk environment.
And to be fair to the users who have just adopted Unreal Engine 4 at the payment model, this past month’s cost has been refunded. In addition, anyone who has ever paid for Unreal Engine 4 has been given $30 credit for the marketplace, a sign of goodwill from Epic.
In our opinion, Epic Games is doing a great thing here. Given the royalties system only kicking in after $3,000 for every quarter year, it gives small indies a chance to earn little amounts without bleeding too much money to Epic before they get a foothold, and since it’s on a quarterly basis, it means that any support Epic can give to help insure a steady flow of customers is beneficial both to the developer as well as Epic. Although the token $30 Marketplace credit does feel a little big tacked-on.
More information can be found on the official website.