Epic, the maker of the famous Unreal Game Engine has announced a new business model for the company at GDC 2014. Earlier, developers had to pay hefty sum to license the Unreal Engine, which meant only large game developers could afford to use it. However, from today onwards, the company is shifting to a subscription based model, which practically opens up the engine to even small, low scale developers.
According to the announcement, developers will only have to shell out $19 per month to use the engine. So, if a developer wants to use it for a year, he can do so for $228. This is actually a lot less than the traditional licensing fees that large developers had to pay earlier. Apart from this subscription fee, if the developer releases any commercial product, then he will have to pay 5 percent of the gross revenue. Also, if the product is available for free with in-app ads, then the company would be entitled to receive 5 percent of the ad revenue. And for those games which are free, there will be no royalty agreement.
This model looks promising and is quite cheap than the earlier one, as before the announcement, developers had to pay anything from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to license the game engine. This made game development an extremely costly as well as risky affair, which proved unfavorable for indie and small scale developers. However, the new model should finally attract potential developers and even existing small scale teams to develop new games on the software.
“We’ve always made this available to AAA game developers, costs many millions of dollars, involves negotiating for weeks or months at a time, but for the very big teams that have wanted access to it, they’ve been able to get it and build some really great games,” said Tim Sweeney, Epic Games founder and technical director, at an event held at the 2014 Game Developers Conference.
The latest Unreal Engine 4 is also known to be developer friendly. In fact, the company claims that a person with practically zero C++ knowledge can make games, that too quickly. For example, the company demoed a game called Tappy Chicken, which was made by a person with no prior C++ knowledge in two days. This was possible mainly because of its ability to change mechanics while playing or even in simulation.
The company is also releasing source code for the engine via github. This should help developers to tweak around with the code and make something that is not already available on the Unreal Engine Community.
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