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Epic radically changes licensing model for Unreal Engine
March 19, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

At Epic's GDC press conference, founder Tim Sweeney opened by teling a ballroom full of journalists, "this is the start of something new for Epic."

He jokingly acknowledged that most of the news out of the company of late had been negative: "A lot of the news at Epic has been about what games we won't be developing and what key Epic folks won't be developing games with us."

But then he turned to the future, not the past.

The Future of Epic

"A key part of the future of Epic is this Unreal Engine," intoned Sweeney. Development started in 1995, he reminded the crowd, and "since then it's grown into a team of 100 developers around the world."

Sweeney recognizes that the landscape for games has changed dramatically since UE3 launched and triple-A seemed to be the only thing developers might concentrate on.

The industry has been and continues to be changed by forces such as Apple's 2008 iPhone App Store launch, Oculus' strides forward with VR, the popular and accessible PC download service Steam and other PC downloadable games, and console download services enabling developers of different sizes to attain audiences on those devices.

Years ago, said Sweeney, "you might think the future is going to be a simple arms race to building bigger games... But a lot of things have happened to change that."

"The Unreal Engine remains an awesome venue for building high-quality games, but we've realized we haven't covered the depth of what the engine is capable of," he said. "The future of the engine is really inspired by a lot of the changes in the game industry."

For last GDC, the company showed off its Infiltrator demo -- super high-quality. "Last year we built... a high-end demo running in realtime on high-end Nvidia graphics hardware," said Sweeney. "You're probably thinking it's really cool but really complicated to create content like that."

But there's an emphasis in UE4, said Sweeney, on "building tools for developers of all sizes."

By way of introducing the demo that followed -- not space marines versus bugs, but focused on easy, realtime content creation -- Sweeney said, "Unreal Editor is a really polished and fun tool now. You'd be surprised what you can build with a few days of training."

One of Epic's developers, Zak Parrish, took over to showcase in particular the new Blueprint visual scripting system -- allowing non-programmers to script Unreal content. You can "see how the data is flowing through in realtime... Blueprints don't just have to be for things that are moving and doing things in your game... With Blueprint we can make a powerful level design tool we can do to make our game more quickly," Parrish said.

He demoed simple arcade games, and even a Flappy Bird clone, built entirely using Blueprint logic.

With technology like this, said Sweeney, Unreal Engine is more accessible, but it still "scales all the way up, to larger indie developers, mid sized teams, to triple-A teams" -- he even envisioned a "high-end Minecraft player" stepping up to Unreal Engine.

The New Biz Model

"This growth in UE has lead us to really rethink our entire business," said Sweeney.

With UE3, pro developers could license the engine -- "it's typically cost millions of dollars... negotiating has involved teams of lawyers," Sweeney said. That is changing.

"Looking at the shape of the industry now we realize it's an outdated model," he said. "looking at the possibilities for the engine, we started out from scratch. We came up with an entirely new business model for the Unreal Engine which we are announcing today."

Now, "absolutely anybody can gain access to Unreal Engine 4 by subscribing to the engine for 19 dollars a month -- and you get access to everything," said Sweeney. By paying that fee, developers can "deploy to PC, Mac, iOS, and Android -- all those platforms today, and more coming in the future."

But there's a cost to shipping a commercial game under the new terms: "5 percent of the game's gross revenue from product sales to users," said Sweeney.

Of note, he clarified that the "5 percent royalty terms apply to gross revenue to users from all aspects of the game, that would include the sale price of the game if it has one, in-game item revenue, and ad revenue."

"With that model, if our product sucks, nobody is ever going to pay for it," Sweeney said -- meaning that adopting this model forces the company to make sure Unreal stays a competitive toolset. "We're driven by the economics of the world ... to determine that the terms are fair," he also added.

Notably, he said, "everyone who subscribes to the engine gets access to the engine's C++ source code," which will be distributed to subscribers via GitHub. Anyone who pays $19 a month gets "access to everything we have at Epic when we develop our games internally."

"It's a bold step for Epic but we think it's an appropriate one given the changes to the game industry," Sweeney said. "It's grown into an open and democratic" place, he noted, and Epic has been forced to change to adapt to that.

This also means that the free, binary-only UDK version of Unreal, popular with students in particular, is being discontinued for UE4.

Epic also will support the enlarged developer community directly: "To support Unreal Engine 4 we are making available a new set of Epic forums," said Sweeney, and "besides releasing the engine we're releasing a lot of samples of what you can build with Unreal Engine." Parrish showcased a shooter demo that all developers will not receive -- not a new game, but a console-quality demo of shooter mechanics and gameplay to experiment with.

"You're limited only by your imagination and your ability to go out and build cool things with it," said Sweeney.

And hobbyists do not have to pay to ship their free, experimental games, he noted: "if you're doing it for fun, then there's no royalty forever."

However, there is one wrinkle if you make console games: Due to the NDAs involved in Xbox One and PlayStation 4 development, he said, "We can't provide the console source to the general public under these terms... it is available on a negotiated license." That aspect of its business will not change. "For any team who is building a console game... talk to us and we can get you access."

"We would like to make this console support to everyone... It's going to take a few months to figure that out," he said. For now, "the console terms are custom-negotiated, it would depend on the scale."

Also notably, since some developers do not want to pay a royalty, ever -- "we will still work with any game developer that wants it to negotiate license terms," Sweeney said.

Epic has also posted an official blog from Sweeney that details these changes concurrent with this announcement.

Interested? You can sign up to download Unreal Engine 4 under these terms right now.

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Phil Maxey
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Unity is too expensive.

matthew diprinzio
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Yeah I agree. There's really no reason to use unity now.

Dustin Sparks
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That's not necessarily true. Unity could still be significantly cheaper in the long run depending on gross revenue. According to the UE4 announcement Epic is entitled to 5% gross revenue: "Anyone can ship a commercial product with UE4 by paying 5% of gross revenue resulting from sales to users. If your game makes $1,000,000, then we make $50,000."

Contrast that with Unity's policy that only requires companies with greater than $100,000 gross revenue to simply purchase a copy of the Pro version of the editor for $1,500. So, a game that makes $1,000,000 would pay Epic $50,000 + ($19/mo) but with Unity if you made $1,000,000 in revenue you'd pay $1,500 (x #of seats) for the base pro version and another flat $1,500 for other devices (per seat).

Its definitely a sliding scale and I haven't been able to find exact numbers for 1to1 features yet, like access to the Unity source code or the number of seats you're entitled to with UE4.

For the individual developer Unity at least still has a free version, while UE4 is doing away with their free version.

matthew diprinzio
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If I made a million, I could give a rat's ass about 50k for getting world class tools. Unity really needs to stop blocking major features in the free version.

Sam Zamani
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Also, don't forget that you will get access to full source code with Unreal Engine via github with your subscription

John Ingato
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well if a game is making $1,000,000 I think it's safe to say they have at lease 50 people in their studio.....unless it an accidental hit. So that being said, it would cost $4,500 per person for both iOS and Android totaling $225,000.

Brett M
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Your examples are of very successful companies. I don't see anyone complaining about giving $50k away, because it means they've been successful.

Compare that to someone buying Unity Pro + Android Pro + iOS Pro ($4500) and only selling 100 copies of their game.

Joe Bob
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That 5% royalty on GROSS revenue is killer tho. It's like if every publisher (Apple, Microsoft, etc) raised their fees by 5%. Apple would take 35%. That's a lot of lost money for the life of the game. For large game studios, I can't see them using it. For really small indie games, maybe, but it'll still hurt them.

Ryan Wallace
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Haha, wow... You think it takes min 50 ppl to make 1M? If that were the case, no indie studio anywhere would be successful.

scott anderson
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There are thousands of games that have grossed $1 million or more with far less than 50 people. If you have a 50 person studio and you've only grossed $1 million you've likely lost a lot of money and are going to go out of business.

Phil Maxey
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Let me add that I think Unity is great, but as an indie developer having to pay $225 per month for the pro+iOS+Android is way beyond my means. It's fine for a company, but lone developer/small teams? not going to happen, and for that reason I think Unity is really missing a huge opportunity to tap into the mass of indies out there. I know the free version has a lot of features, but I'm not going to release a game with someone elses splash screen in it unless they pay me for it. I'll pay $19 per month for the current free version of Unity without the splash screen.

Jeff Cole
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Most commercial games made with unreal have a "Made with Unreal Engine" splash screen, I honestly don't have a problem showcasing that my game was made with unity by having a splash screen! Especially when you are able to use it royalty free!

Greg Quinn
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Unity's subscription model @$75 per month per platform is too expensive.
$1500 for a perpetual license is reasonable.
Additional platform perpetuals should be more like $650 each.

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(double post)

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"Also, don't forget that you will get access to full source code with Unreal Engine via github with your subscription"

this! it's nice to be able to peek under the hood now and then to verify that it's not you being crazy :)

James Anderson
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Unity must be killing them for such drastic changes.

Josh Markiewicz
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I think that statement is doing Epic a disservice. Clearly Epic has made some good decisions in the past as an middleware provider, and as a company has been able to look into the market and make appropriate changes with the times. This time around, its an age of more indies, f2p, mobile, and where AAA is not considered the only way anymore.

James Anderson
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My tone was probably not the best. I am not knocking Epic. This is good news for game developers. I prefer C++ to C# for games. I always heard the Unreal cost millions of dollars and would never have even dreamed of using it. Unity's prices are within my budget range. Now I would definitely consider Unreal too. This is great. Competition keeps the herd healthy.

Christian Nutt
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Interestingly, Helgason told me that Unity has 150 engine devs, and Sweeney said today that Unreal has 100. I don't think that really implies MUCH about their relative success, of course, but it does imply a lot about Unity's success that this is worth it!

Sergio Rosa
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I have to admit I thought the exact same thing. With Unity getting better and better, it's getting harder to find reasons for using UE as a small developer. I'm using UDK for my current project (it's just a few months away) but I'm on the fence about using Unity or UE4.

Wendelin Reich
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Let's do the math!

Unity Pro is $1500. If we ignore the monthly fee for UE4, that would mean that Unity's break-even point relative to UE4 is 30.000 - if you gross less than that, UE4 is cheaper, otherwise Unity. If you want to target iOS and Android as well (for which Unity charges another 1500 per platform), you have to double/triple that. On the other hand, the break-even point becomes a little bit lower if we include UE4s monthly fee of 19 bucks.

However, the key difference is Epic agrees to take a big chunk of your risk. The vast, vast majority of indie devs make far less than 30.000 (or even 3.000) per game. Furthermore, few indies are in a position to predict on which side of the scale they will fall, and when.

If I were an economist, I could probably put numbers on that risk as well (unfortunately, I'm not). The chief idea is that *if* you make more than 30.000, Epic guarantees you to never take more than 5%. If not, however, then Unity becomes a relatively worse investment the less money you make.

TL;DR: I think one can say objectively that for smaller or less experienced devs, UE4 has a far better price tag than Unity Pro. But those are the devs who may want to stick with Unity Free anyway.

And for anyone else, I think neither of those licensing schemes will be a deal-breaker (unless you're expecting to make more than $20.000.000 and prefer to negotiate with Epic). Wow, what a great time to be a game developer.

Toby Grierson
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Unity license is per seat. How many people does it take to accomplish the game worth 30k?

Wendelin Reich
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true, forgot about that!

Greg Quinn
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You're also not factoring in how many titles you're releasing.
If you release 5 titles with Unity, then it's value becomes even more apparent.

The other major thing to factor in is workflow efficiency. Unity is considered tops for that and C# is more efficient from a developer standpoint than C++ in order to 'just get stuff done'.

Luis Guimaraes
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As Greg above me said, the time cost of making the actual games tops the price difference.

Alexandre Lautie
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Well if you make 30k or less, you simply choose Unity Free, which is cheaper than anything else...

Chris Melby
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WOW!!! Am I reading this right?:

"When you cancel your subscription, you won’t receive access to future releases of Unreal Engine 4, however your login will remain active, and you are free to continue using the versions of Unreal Engine 4 which you obtained as a subscriber under the terms of the EULA."

So, if I pay for just one month of a subscription, then cancel, I'll still have full access to the version of the engine/tools I downloaded, so that I could continue to learn/develop?

That's freaking awesome if I'm understanding right?! Then I'm assuming that when I'm getting ready to publish, then I'd need to renew my subscription? And any time I renew my subscription, I gain access to the latest version?

This seems great and the last thing I want is another ongoing bill...

Wendelin Reich
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Well, there's a reason UDK had monthly releases - lots of changes, lots of bug fixes.

Chris Melby
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I just want to slap down $19 bucks to gain full access, so that I can learn it, which is an awesome deal IMO. If there are bugs that break something I'm trying to accomplish, I wouldn't know it do to my inexperience with UDK.

I'm assuming I could always renew every other month to get the more important updates/fixes, then cancel?

Josh Markiewicz
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Wyatt Epp
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From a tech perspective, I don't think I can overstate how colossal this news is.

But taking a moment to think more, I still have a lot of questions. If your subscription lapses, can you still sell your game (still paying royalties, naturally)? What if it's a free game? Can you distribute without a subscription? And I'm curious how they plan on enforcing a lot of this. To be sure, contractual agreements have worked for Hex-rays, so maybe that's enough.

Can anyone just pull the source repo and start working or is it only visible to subscribers? What's their patch policy? Will bug tracking be public?

E Zachary Knight
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I would assume that the contract you agree to in order to use the UDK allows Epic to require an audit if it feel like it is getting cheated on royalties.

Adam Noergaard
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I would just like to point out that Unity does have a subscription program were you pay 75$ dollars a month.

That a side I am just wonder too utilise the tools in the Unreal 4 engine you would need to create high end assets that makes the tools worth using in the engine, so it seems like more appealing to the mid end studio and is the 5% cut worth it ?

Paul Hunt
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That's not a fair comparison, Unity's subscription is $75/month PER PLATFORM. So for a Unity subscription with IOS, Android and WebGl it would be $75 X 4 = $300/Month. You get all of that for $19/Month with UE4.

Juan Mora
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Also, Epic is giving access to the engine's source code, that makes a huge difference.

remi allard mayer
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Are they still integrating NaturalMotion's app? They said it would be a feature included in Unreal 4, but I can't find anything related to this anymore, like it was vanish from the world. Anyone knows what is going on about that?

Christian Kulenkampff
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Epic :)

Jed Hubic
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This is very exciting. I do really like the entire concept of the Asset Store in Unity though.

Patrik Kotiranta Lundbeg
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UE4 apparently got its own "Marketplace"

Curtiss Murphy
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Will Epic win back Unity devs? I don't really care, as long as the two best engines continue competing - that benefits us all.

Mike Smith
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So is the license per person, or per studio? Can everyone at a studio on a game use the same license login / ID? I'm installing now on a second computer so I should have the answer in a minute... Looks like it's per studio.... NOPE. Licensing agreement says per user.

Ryan Christensen
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Epic is playing ball for sure. I just pre-ordered Unity and now a little buyers remorse buying so early after hearing this (maybe they'll have other purchasing options), though I have bought since version 2 and love unity and make money from it and switching back to Unreal would take time. I started modding in Unreal originally back when it was 300k a seat! My first game job used it but there was no way to use it as an indie until the last few years. Now this. Unity I think has to compete a little more on price to keep attracting new developers.

Over time I actually thought Unity engine would go down in price with the addition of their asset store and their cloud/ads etc revenue streams, maybe that will still happen. But Unity has reached a point where new projects where you have to buy full licenses would run 6k if you include the WebGL add-on coming. Yearly updates are now around 3k for core and ios/android/webgl. I remember when I thought buying 3dsmax for 3k was alot.

The interesting thing about this is Epic will also want your game to ship and may over time help build networks to promote their epic made games.

Thanks Unity back in the day and Epic today for bringing down price and staying competitive. I do like non royalties models more and interested to see if Unity makes any moves after this.

Mikhail Mukin
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Very good news, was waiting for one of the "big engines" to do this first! It is not IMHO as much about the price, but access to source code. For any "somewhat serious" project, you will spend many months with 10+ people and so it is not too important if it is $1000 or $50 (too small compared to accumulated "man month cost"). But developing a ~$1mil XBLA/PSN/Steam project w/o access to source code it too risky/often impossible and cheap/free engines with source (Gamebryo, PhyreEngine etc) are far behind in what they can offer - in terms of tools, workflow etc.

The key however is console costs. I had cases when we had to not go with Unreal (or Cry) for ~$1 mil XBLA/PSN projects cause console source code licensing was just to high. I wonder what the new numbers are...

Bruno Xavier
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Hell, It's about time.

Michael Thornberg
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Finally! Even though I got the latest UDK 3, I still wish they left it to others download because some do have projects running on that version. But yes... finally. I'm jumping on board at once.

Christopher Stallworth
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It's great to see new things coming with UE4! While I agree short term UE4 is more cost efficient, Unity long term is a better investment because you don't have to pay any royalties. For example if you develop an IOS game you have to pay Apple's 30% royalty fee in addition to Unreal's 5% royalty fee and both these fees incur the moment you make $1 off of your game. 35% percent of your profits every quarter is ALOT of money no matter how much your making. In contrast with Unity you do pay a large upfront fee but you pay no royalty fee.

Here is a numbers breakdown based on 5 users over a 2 year span and $500,000 profits:

License fee: $2280
Royalties due w/o Apple fee: $25,000 Total Profit: $427,720
Royalties due w/ Apple fee: $175,000 Total Profit: $322,720

License fee w/o IOS Pro: $7,500
License fee w/ IOS Pro: $15,000
Royalties due w/o Apple Fee: $0 Total Profit: $492,500
Royalties due w/ Apple Fee: $150,000 Total Profit: $335,000

With so many game companies merging and/or folding the more in your bottom line, it will increase your chances of survival and allow you to use that access of money into other things such as marketing your game, increasing team salaries, and etc. They are both OUTSTANDING engines and you can't go wrong either way! Just make sure you are comfortable with the risks before you decide.

Grigor Todorov
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That's true, but for a smaller team (say 4 devs) and smaller project that took 1 year and the revenue is $200,000 UE4 would save them ~$10,000.
Not to mention that they can pay only for the first subscription for UE4 (or pay for the last, if they were students and used the university license to develop, such example is given in the faq, eula or somewhere else in their site).
The bigger the expected revenue gets the more Unity3D seems like a better choice, unless you license UE4 (the option without royalties).
Both options are amazing and as long as they let you create awesome and fun games, they both deserve the royalties/subscription/initial payment.
The mandatory 30% on the other harsh.

Mark Rein
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Hey folks! For the cost of lunch at a trade show (seriously expensive food here in San Fran!) you can try UE4 for a month and then cancel your subscription if you want. At that point you're fully licensed for the version you have (including full C++ source code) and you can resume your subscription at any time if you want to get the latest updates and awesome new content we're creating on a regular basis.

As for value. I don't think you should look at simple "what it costs for the license" model for figuring out if UE4 is right for you or not. Check out our amazing Blueprints visual scripting system, work with our editor, play with our samples and delve into our source code and I think you'll find that we offer the most productive engine you can license and that productivity, combined with our leading quality and performance, could help you earn more than a 5% premium over what you would have made otherwise. Right now 7 of the top 21 (!) all-time highest rated Xbox 360 games (by Metacritic score) were powered by Unreal Engine 3 and we're confident Unreal Engine 4 will be an even better engine suited to an even wider range of games and applications. With tools like these you should be able to reach higher and achieve even more success. With our business model we only succeed if you succeed so we're focused on making the engine better all the time and working hard to constantly make it easier to use and more productive.

If you're at GDC please come by the booth and check out our theater demo, see the engine running on all kinds of platforms and talk to our folks. If you're console dev we have those in our meeting rooms (including Steambox) and we'll happily show you why Microsoft and Sony are making some of their most important games for their own consoles using UE4!n Also be sure to check out our demos on iPhone and Android and see the power of native C++ code on today's mobile devices. We also have next-gen Android demos on Nvidia's Tegra K1 devices which gives you a glimpse at the future of mobile devices - with that kind of desktop-like graphics power on tap Unreal Engine 4 is coming to everyone at just the right time to get started making the jaw-dropping mobile games of tomorrow! Plus if you want a laugh get one of our folks to show you Tappy Chicken on iPhone. It was created by one of our artists (not a programmer at all!) for fun over a weekend using Blueprints with no programming at all. The sample is included with UE4 so you can see how it it was done.

We've wanted to do this (full source code for everyone) for a LONG time but in the past but we had too much 3rd party software in the engine to be able to pull it off. We've admired John Carmack making idTech open-source over the years and keep asking ourselves if we could so something wider-scale with our source code. But in the past we've employed some key 3rd party middleware. Try asking a VC-backed start-up middleware company (or huge 3D tools company) to give out their prized trade-secret source code to everyone under the sun who pays a only a small monthly subscription fee and (and isn't obligated to keep paying for any period of time) and you probably won't get a great response. I know, I've tried this many times :)

But, to use one example, if you want to take our global illumination code and replace it with someone else's you can do that! If you want to write your own, you can do that! If you want to tweak ours, and share it (or not) with the rest of the community, you can do that! Full C++ source code for everyone also means companies who make cools stuff add-ons and plug-ins can just go right now and subscribe to UE4 and start making their stuff work with our engine. They don't even need to pick up the phone and call us! They don't have to guess how our current stuff works. They can just subscribe, take a look and get started right away. We're really excited about the marketplace and the opportunity that creates for our UE4 developers (of all disciplines) and 3rd party middleware-providers alike. But you don't have to wait for the marketplace to get going. Our very friendly EULA allows you to do this from day 1.

As for schools - when they want to teach people how to write a renderer, they can just use our renderer as an example and our engine as a testbed for their own version - tweak it, extend it, rewrite it, replace it - whatever you want and then you can also share it with our UE4 subscriber community (or not) as you please! Just think of the army of talent we're going to have available to help UE4 developers (and be UE4 developers) in the future! It all starts now. There's no waiting and if we don't follow-up on our commitment to making it better and better we won't have subscribers. So we're challenging ourselves to do better all the time because for us to succeed our developers have to succeed.

Sorry for rambling on and on. We're just so excited. It's like being back in the shareware days again! But we're just getting started. Please come join us for the journey!

Curtiss Murphy
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Bold response. My wife might say, "I approve".

I've used a half-dozen engines, starting first with Unreal a decade ago. I can't interrupt my current projects in Unity, however, my options going forward got a lot spicier!

matthew diprinzio
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I have to admit I didn't like UDKs interface, but good god is Unreal 4 incredible.

Chris Byers
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Consider my perspective, someone that is going to cross the 100K threshold this year as a single developer. I use Unity for everything I do. As an entrepreneur, I HAVE to make that much to live. Maybe some of these arguments are valid for people that are just hobbyists, but I learned quickly as a hobbyist that spending a couple of hours a night wasn't getting me anywhere, so I quit my job to make apps. As a hobbyist, yes UE is probably the way to go if you really are just doing it for fun and know there's no way you'll really make money at it.

Maybe I missed it, or maybe no one here likes Unity so they aren't aware, but Unity offers a $75/month option, which they put in effect several months ago, for pro versions.

So, let's say you are making a game for one platform as a single developer (# of developers doesn't matter because both charge per user anyway), in essence you are paying $56/month more, which if you compare to a 5% take, that means that it is a wash if you make $1120 in sales per month. In perspective, making more than $13K per year will cost you more with UE than Unity. I can't imagine making less than that! Even further, why are you paying 75/month for a pro license when you can use Unity Free? Okay, so you need the pro license if you plan to make more than 100K in sales, let's calculate that again: Unity: 75/month for 1 year = $900.00. UE: 19/month + 5% for 1 year = $5228. I'm just not seeing the positive to a royalty, and I do royalty deals with my clients whenever I can because those are the MOST lucrative. Anyone will tell you that. Unless you pick the wrong apps to get royalties from (which I've done before), chances are that you will recover much more over time.

Let's say you are making mobile games only, you need the pro license for all 3 (Unity Pro, Android Pro, and iOS Pro), then you pay 206 more per month than UE, but again, if you expect 100K in sales, it's still only half the cost for Unity over UE.

One could argue that comparing Unity Free to UE fully featured is not valid, because Unity Free lacks some high end capabilities. I could also argue that if you aren't making 100K a year with your business, then you probably don't need all those high end features, but even so, if this is your concern, then just ignore the 100K part and compare the Pro licenses. The royalty always wins if you make any serious money. Why are you spending your time if you don't plan to make serious money? That's why we do it. Yes, we enjoy making games or apps or software that helps others, but everyone wants it to be profitable.

Also, when you compare the purchase of the Unity Suite, you need to consider that they develop for long periods on one major version. The end of life of a major version is several years, not just one year. You could conceivably use the same version for 3 to 4 years before needing to upgrade, and upgrades are cheaper after that, and all minor revision upgrades are free.

Consider that the 5% stake is per game. If you're willing to dock your pay by 5%, have fun, but I would prefer not to do that to myself. I plan to sell over 100K (on goal this year to achieve that), and I'm glad I'm not giving 5% of that away.

In the end, my personal stance is that I plan and want to make a living, so I'd rather not give my income away. But to be honest, the UE 5% is really going to hit the big players the hardest, and that's their intent. Honestly, if I had chosen UE, I wouldn't care about a 5K per year loss (it's a business expense) if I'm making 100K, but I chose Unity way back, and I'm only out less than a grand per year no matter what I do. But if Unity fell apart or UE had some massively awesome feature that Unity didn't that I needed to complete a project, I wouldn't have heartache over paying the 5%, unless I was a big studio. :) My impressions of Unity are that they are accelerating feature wise rapidly, and the community is awesome. My Unity is very stable these days and provides everything I need, and C# is a must.

Lastly, obviously consider and try both products before you make a decision. It's great to see that UE is becoming affordable, and I'm sure they have some great features, so try both products before you lock in. I love, because they have a great tutorial for Unity on there and I'm sure they have one for UE too, and those could walk you through all the major capabilities. Get what you need to get your job done. Don't let the difference between 1K a year and 5K a year bother you now, worry about that when your company starts growing. (I still prefer never giving away a royalty, lol).

Grigor Todorov
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Big companies can still license UE paying a lump sum instead of paying royalties.
If you are comfortable with Unity you should stick to it, but keep an eye on UE4. In one particular project the UE4 features may speed up your development process and save you plenty of time to consider the 5%.
With UDK it was/is $99 to publish and 25% royalties after you reach $50,000 in sales.
Devs that are used to UDK probably celebrate right now.

Good luck with the goal!

Christian Philippe Guay
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@Chris Byers
UE4 costs $19, period. Then, if there is an upgrade you like you can invest another $19 to get a new version. Obviously, you got the right to care more about money than your actual craft, the quality of the tools you use, their efficiency or even how pleasant they are to use.

Just for fun, how many lives would it take you to actually make UE4 all by yourself? A game engine is like 80% of a game or any other end product and you feel that paying 5% royalties to Epic Games is too much?

And as much as I enjoyed to work with both Unity and Unreal technologies, I always felt that the Unity Team either didn't really understand what game developers need or the company was making more money with their Asset Store, making it less relevant, business wise, to give away almost for free greater tools.

With UE4, Epic Games are showing us that they understand the game, they are there for game developers and they understand what we need. And ultimately, with greater tools, you buildproducts most efficiently and have happier and more productive employees. That's priceless...

Rui Mota
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Just drooped to say wow!
With that out of the way special kudos are in order for:
Finally evolving visual scripting in to full integration on a big app, and; Opening the engine so the community can extend the engine and hook plug-ins. If Unity´s asset store is any indication we can expect a quick grow on the tool-set allowing U4 to became "just" a back bone for any type of game app or media content.

Josh Foreman
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Me and two other's are working on our first indie project and started in Unity since we could develop for free. But those thousands required to actually get the game on mobile devices is pretty dreadful for us. Looks like we've got a big decision to make now. Fortunately we just started a month ago, so if we switch we won't lose much.

Michael Thornberg
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After having only used U4 for one day, I am already so much more productive that I probably will not use Unity again for some time. I am not saying that Unity is crap (it of course isn't) but given how my productivity increased, coupled with source code access it is a given. I am just doing this by myself. And because I do all by myself productivity is important :)

Misael Torres
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Is there any video where the flappy bird clone is demonstrated?

Derek Smart
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I approve.

However, I think that with UE4, CryEngine (yeah, they jumped in with their own new license in response to the UE announcement) and Unity5, game devs still need to focus on the engine that does the job. Looking at this from a "numbers" only perspective is foolish and is the sort of shortsightedness that separates us men from the boys.

NONE of these three engines are suited for all games.

Heck, I have had access to UE4 for over a year now, but haven't touched (short of looking at the docs) it because we were so far gone with Havok's vastly inferior - and expensive - Vision Engine (Trinigy) and engine suite (Havok AI, Physics etc), that it just didn't make sense to switch or I'd have done that.

We've had to turn that engine inside out to come up with a custom solution (that has lots of middleware such as Sundog's Silverlining, Triton etc) for our Line Of Defense ( game. It was a lot of needlessly complex and unnecessary work. And every time I look back at what I'm missing in UE4, I shed a tear.

I would never consider CryEngine or Unity5 for that type of game, which is why we used Unity4 for our recent game, Line Of Defense Tactics. You have to go with what engine works; and if the barrier of entry is too high, then you're probably doing it all wrong by setting a bar that is insurmountable.

My next game is probably going to be UE4 powered because at my age and current scope of work, I'd rather be focused on building a game, rather than building an engine as I've been doing for what seems like an eternity.