Epic Games is a company well-known for its engine tech, with Unreal Engine 3 being one of the most dominating engines in the AAA market. Powering games like Bioshock Infinite, the Mass Effect trilogy, and the Batman Arkham series, Unreal Engine 3 has shown itself to be capable of handling a variety of titles, and Unreal Engine 4 is poised to take the next step forward. One issue with engines like this, however, is the cost of obtaining a license to use it.

Regarding this, Tim Sweeney, founder and technical director at Epic Games, said at an event held at GDC 2014;



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. How could we make the most valuable and useful engine available to everyone as practical as possible? We came up with an entirely new business model for the Unreal Engine.

As of now, Unreal Engine 4 is available to everyone, from AAA to indie to student, for a monthly subscription fee of $19 with a 5% royalty in gross sales and can be downloaded from their website. Your subscription can be canceled at any time and you can continue to use the engine, but you cannot get additional features, like forum access and monthly updates, unless you pay the subscription. Since the engine is relatively new and not very polished, Epic Games has listed recommended system requirements and rough support areas.

Seeing this move by Epic Games to make their latest engine readily available for much less than before is encouraging. With Sony and Microsoft making their moves toward cultivating indie development, as well as Nintendo’s current support, indie games could define this generation of gaming.