Epic Games releases Unreal Engine 4 for small game developers

19 Mar 2014

Epic Games has made the unprecedented decision to release its highly rated Unreal Engine 4 graphics engine to everyone, including small developers, for a knockdown price.

The company made the announcement at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in the US where they explained that for US$19.99 a month, anyone will be able to purchase the gaming engine that has up until now only been released on some of the biggest gaming releases on the market, known as ‘AAA’ games like Gears of War.

As part of the package, developers will get access to everything including the editor for both PC and Mac which can then be deployed to iOS and Android.

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Once the small-time developer’s game is released, Epic Games will then receive 5pc of the gross sales of the game in what could prove to be an innovative business decision.

Speaking at the conference, Tim Sweeney, Epic Games’ founder and technical director said they wanted to open up the playing field in game development: “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.”

The terms of the agreement are negotiable with both parties and the smaller developers can have a larger up-front fee and a reduced gross revenue cut. Epic Games has also stated that if a developer wishes to release a game for free with no intentions of making money from it, they will also not receive any revenue from the game.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic

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