Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney announced a new direction for the Unreal Engine at GDC today. The successor to the nearly ubiquitous Unreal Engine 3, Unreal Engine 4, looks like it will be even more widespread than its predecessor, as Epic Games has released the engine using a subscription model.
For $19 per month, developers will get access to the entire engine with Epic getting 5 percent of the gross revenue if the project is published commercially. The Unreal Engine 3, on the other hand, had a much more complex licensing system that ranged from the free UDK with Epic getting 25 percent in royalties to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Spending $19 per month nets developers access to the full package, including the Unreal Editor already set up to run straight away and the complete C++ source code. It’s massive news for indies, giving them access to a powerful tool at incredibly low costs. “Epic’s goal is to put the engine within reach of everyone interested in building games and 3D content, from indies to large triple-A development teams, and Minecraft creators as well,” says Sweeney.
UE4 will also be getting OSX support and the source code suggests that Epic is planning to support Oculus Rift, Steam Machines, Linux and HTML 5.
You can grab the engine and start the subscription plan right now. Epic is taking a community-focused approach built around communicating with users and encouraging collaboration through forums, a Wiki and AnswerHub Q&A, and the C++ source code is hosted on GitHub where devs can collaborate and share.
But this news is not been welcomed by everyone. No Goblin co-founder Dan Teasdale tweets “UE4 subscription is rad, but 5% gross, no scripting language, and no asset store-alike still keep it off the table for devs like us.”
Shams Jorjani, Paradox Interactive’s business buff can’t see the potential for small indie devs, tweeting “Most indies = small teams = not tons of graphics. Which traditionally has been Unreals forte. So what's the win for the average indie?” He also notes that with Epic taking 5 percent of the gross revenue, they could make money even if the developer doesn’t.