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Epic is changing Unreal Engine’s pricing for non-game developers

Epic is changing Unreal Engine’s pricing for non-game developers


The change will happen sometime next year and will charge some users on a per-seat model, similar to Photoshop pricing.

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Fortnite developer Epic Games is changing the way it charges people who use its creation tool Unreal Engine sometime next year — but only for a subset of users, according to CEO Tim Sweeney (via Game From Scratch).

Game developers using Unreal Engine won’t be affected and will continue to pay for a license based on a royalty model. However, users in industries like film or automotive will be moved to per-seat pricing, meaning they’ll be charged for the subscription the same way someone might pay for Photoshop.

In posts on X, Sweeney clarified that educators and students will be able to continue to use Unreal Engine for free, and there will be a minimum revenue threshold for indie filmmakers and others whose commercial projects earn below a certain amount — though Sweeney didn’t specify what that threshold would be.

The news was announced by Sweeney at Epic Games’ Unreal Fest event this week and follows significant layoffs at the company in September. Sixteen percent — or around 830 employees — lost their jobs, with Sweeney saying in a note to employees that the company had been “spending way more money than we earn.” Epic also announced it would sell Bandcamp, a platform for independent music artists it acquired last year, and spin off SuperAwesome, a company focused on “kid-safe” digital experiences.

Epic’s announcement that it would change Unreal Engine pricing comes less than a month after Unity’s disastrous rollout of a new pricing model that would have charged developers a flat rate fee each time a Unity game is installed. After backlash from developers, the company backtracked and announced an updated system and a “fireside chat” to try to explain the debacle.