This is big news for any aspiring game developer out there. Unreal Engine 4, the fourth version of one of the most powerful game development tools currently available to public, is now free for everyone. The news comes out straight from Epic's website, with the spot on title "If you love something, set it free".
Unreal Engine 4, came out last year and had a subscription fee of 19$/month for whoever wanted to make use of it. Starting today, that requisite went down and UE4 has been made available, for free, to everyone. About the reasons that made Epic games decide to go this way, Tim Sweeney writes:
The state of Unreal is strong, and we’ve realized that as we take away barriers, more people are able to fulfill their creative visions and shape the future of the medium we love. That’s why we’re taking away the last barrier to entry, and going free.So you will be able to download and use Unreal Engine 4 for whatever you want, be it game development, education, architecture, visualization, VR, film or animation. The only moment you'll owe something to Epic Games, is when a complete application or game gets shipped. In that case Epic Games will take a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter.
There's never been a better time to do that. More and more independent game developers enter the industry every day to follow their dream to make games so the more options they get, the better for the industry as a whole. Especially considering that in recent years the industry changed so much that we now find ourselves in an historical context where there are way less gatekeepers than a decade ago.
With Unreal Engine 4, Epic Games wants to give to the community not only a tool, but, by their own words, the entire "Unreal Ecosystem" behind it. Users will be able to join the creative community and give each others tips on the development of their projects, will be able to make assets to be sold on the marketplace for the benefit of other users that can buy and put them in their games.
This announcement is nothing to sneeze at. Unreal Engine is the framework of many successful games and now that it's totally free, we can only expect the number of games that will use it to grow in size.
What you think of Epic's decision of making the Unreal Engine 4 free? Will you give this tool a shot? Let us know in the comments.