gdc 2014

Epic Announces Unreal Engine 4 Subscription Plan

by Matt Bertz on Mar 19, 2014 at 06:30 AM

When you think Unreal Engine, you traditionally think about triple-A games with cutting edge graphics. But with the game industry stretching into so many new arenas – games as service, niche indie development, mobile games – Epic decided it was time to evolve the engine accordingly.  

To make the engine more user friendly for amateur developers or smaller indie teams, Epic engineers spent a lot of time simplifying the toolset for Unreal Engine 4. Using the Blueprint system within the engine, level designers and artists are able to quickly prototype their creations and create behaviors without diving into programming code.

Now that the engine is much easier to use, Epic is opening up the platform to hobbyists and professionals alike. At GDC, founder/CEO Tim Sweeney announced Epic is making the Unreal Engine 4 available to the public for the low cost of $19 a month. This isn’t a dumbed down version of the engine, but the full suite of tools and source code that all of Epic’s licensees have access to. The only other term to the user agreement is if you sell a game you make with UE4, Epic takes a five-percent royalty of gross revenue.

To prove how easy it is to develop games with the new interface, Epic showed off a game called Tappy Chicken that one of its designers built in two days without diving into programming code. 

The UE4 version being made available to the public covers the PC, Mac, iOS, and Android platforms. Epic hopes to add console support over time. If you are interesting in checking it out, you can get started by visiting the Epic website after 12:30 PM EST. Check out a video on the new announcement from Tim Sweeney below.