Ray Davis, of Epic Games (owner/developer of the Unreal Engine), announced today that the Unreal Engine 4 is now available for free for academic use. Unreal Engine 4 is the newest version, only released to the community of developers back in March of 2014. Because of how new it is there are few games that use Unreal Engine 4, but there are plenty coming soon like Dead Island 2, Fable Legends, and the Crackdown reboot.
The announcement and decision comes as students from around the world have contacted Epic Games in an attempt to work with the new engine. So much so, that the requests were becoming almost overwhelming. This was the solution:
The steady increase in interest made us realize we need a much simpler way to partner with academia and so we’ve decided to go with the simplest solution of all – Unreal Engine 4 is now free for academic use, including personal copies for students enrolled in accredited video game development, computer science, art, architecture, simulation, and visualization programs!So any program that is somewhat gaming related can contact Epic Games, by going to this page, to work out terms to receive it for free! There is one clarification though:
This offer is only for higher education, which is understandable. For one thing, courses and programs at colleges and universities will likely be more robust and committed. For another, including any sort of education (high school, trade school, etc), could make this situation far too unwieldy and a burden.
This is not a complaint by any means, this is a wonderful thing that Epic Games is doing and will hopefully help improve programs: which in turns mean more and better developers! This is really good for all sides.
They aren't just going to give it away to educators and have that be the end of it either:
We’re constantly evolving our learning resources and we’re excited to collaborate further with education professionals to build curriculum that gives students the best chances of achieving their development goals and land great jobs.So they do seem really committed to helping the developer community be the best that they can be.
The previous engine, Unreal Engine 3, was one of the most popular in the world and used by many developers everywhere. Literally hundreds of games were made using it, some of which have still yet to come out like: Batman: Arkham Knight, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and Mortal Kombat X.
So not only will educators and students have access to development software and code, but they will have access to one of the industry's most widely used engines.
Hopefully this will mean new and exciting things in the future, and maybe even the development of more programs for people to learn about game development. In any case, this is a wonderful thing.