Epic announces 'entirely new' Unreal Engine 4 subscription model

Pay $19 USD per month for access to tools and source code

Epic Games has announced an "entirely new" business model for Unreal Engine 4, which will offer access to its tools and complete C++ source code via a subscription model.

Developers can sign up for UE4 for PC, Mac, iOS and Android by paying $19 per month, plus 5% of gross revenue resulting from any commercial products built using the engine.

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Previously developers had to negotiate a sizeable license fee to gain access to the full Unreal toolset. Studios can still opt to use this method, Epic said, and console platforms are currently not included in the subscription model due to complex platform holder agreements.

"This is our complete engine, with everything Epic provides to leading game developers, priced accessibly for teams of all sizes, budgets and aspirations," said Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games.

With the release of UE4, Epic is moving to a community-centric model built around forums, a Wiki and AnswerHub Q&A, the firm said.

"This is smart. It's an enlightened way for developers to create great games and easily bring them to Steam," said Gabe Newell of Valve.

"Now is a great time to be an independent developer," said Sweeney. "There are amazing platforms and distribution opportunities available, and with this release we hope the Unreal Engine can help developers build cool new things."