If you know anything at all about video game development, then you know that a lot of resources have to go into each and every major project. Many aspects like purchasing a big title game engine are cost prohibitive for more people just getting started or trying to make it in indie development. The Unreal 4 Engine, as others in the series, is one of the most famous out there for big game titles and the team at Epic Games has seen fit to lift upfront licensing fees for those looking to use the engine.
Since gaming engines have historically been purchased up front, the idea of releasing free versions is a relatively recent addition. If you’ve heard of the Unreal 4 Engine, then it’s likely you already know about the Unity Engine, one of its greatest competitors. Currently, any developer looking to release a game commercially may use the base version of Unity as long as their revenues do not exceed $100,000 annually. In order to stay competitive and convince more developers, especially of the indie variety, Epic had to change their business model.
Now the Unreal 4 Engine will be now be entirely free to download and use. The catch is that if your video game happens to make over $3000 that Epic asks that you provide them a 5% revenue share in exchange for providing the engine. Given the reputation and power of the engine, it may very well be worth the exchange for future developers to consider.
The question is whether or not this change will take back the momentum that the Unity engine has already generated. Although the Unreal Engine is legendary for big titles, the Unity engine has quickly made a name for itself among indie and mobile developers. Although it was only just announced, Epic has already updated the Unreal 4 Engine’s Website for their new business model. You can now sign up and immediately download the engine to use as you will.