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Epic drastically drops the price of Unreal Engine game development

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Epic Games, the company that created Gears of War, Infinity Blade, and the popular Unreal Engine for developing game titles, has been rather quiet as of late. The firm's most prominent recent announcements have been around selling off that Gears of War franchise to Microsoft, and delivering a fancy new tech demo which hasn't helped the new Unreal Engine 4 achieve the wide adoption of UE3. Today, however, founder Tim Sweeney is announcing a new business model: Epic will charge just $19 a month, and 5 percent of a game developer's gross revenue, for access to the complete Unreal Engine set of tools and even its source code.

That's a drastic reduction in price, for sure: while a subscription might wind up costing more than the previous $99 license, Epic used to ask game developers for a whopping 25 percent of the money their game made after the first $50,000. Epic founder Tim Sweeney says it's a reaction to changes in the game industry, like the rise of indie game development. "We succeed with this only if developers succeed in making great games," says Tim Sweeney, comparing it to the old shareware game development model. Sweeney says Epic will still negotiate with big game companies that wish to avoid game royalties whatsoever for a larger upfront fee, but believes the new model can enable free-to-play and even hobbyist game developers to explore the worlds that Unreal Engine can build.