Epic Games is altering their business model for Unreal Engine 4 to make it available for $19 a month, CEO and founder Tim Sweeney announced today at GDC 2014.
Citing the changing culture of the game industry, Sweeney said that the old way of licensing engines for millions of dollars was no longer as viable as it once was. Therefore, Epic is making it so anyone can subscribe to Unreal 4 for $19 a month and gain access to all its tools.
Aside from the subscription fee, developers also pay five-percent of the game’s gross revenue back to Epic if their project is published and released. The five-percent cut includes microtransactions from F2P games, advertising dollars, or game sales.
You can also cancel the subscription at any time and keep the engine, but the five-percent agreement will remain in place for anything you make while using the engine, and will lose out on future monthly updates Epic promises to roll out for the engine.
This model is limited to PC, Mac, iOS, and Android games. Due to certain agreements already in place, the console tools for Unreal 4 will not be made available just yet, but according to Sweeney Epic is working on arrangements with the console makers.
Subscribers get full access to the engine’s C++ source code, but Sweeney stressed that the blueprint features of the engine make it so even those unfamiliar with the programming language can make games. There are even samples for different genres, such as tower defense, strategy, and shooters, that users can jump into and start editing.
New forums and a Q/A website will also be opened up by Epic to promote a developer community that could help each other make their own games.
You can sign up for the Unreal Engine 4’s new subscription model at the game engine’s official website.