This week has brought many exciting news from the GDC 2015. One of the trends was making game development engines free to use.
First, Unreal Engine 4 was made entirely free! The engine and the source code can now be downloaded free of charge (was $19 per month). The only restriction is that developers must pay 5% royalty fee after $3000 earnings per quarter, per product. Considering the move is aimed mostly at indies and small studios, and large companies working on AAA titles buy custom licence without royalty anyway it’s a win for the engine and the users.
Next day Unity has revealed long awaited Unity 5. They went slightly different way than Epic did. Previosly there were two versions of the engine – free and paid. Paid included everything and free version had some features removed from the engine. Now the engine itself with all features is freely available to everyone to download (it’s called Personal Edition). Professional Edition cost $1500 if you want to buy it permanently or $75 per month. It adds many additional services to the users, such as analytics, beta access, asset store enhancement and so on. Although one of the features, namely “Customizable Splash Screen”, is also only available in paid version, this means all applications made with personal edition will show Unity logo on the startup (same as with prior free versions of the engine) and raised some complaints in the community.
Finally, Valve has announced their Source 2 engine will also be freely available. It worth to mention that the engine will support reincarnation of the OpenGL API named Vulkan. However the game should be on Steam in this case.
Summing up, developers will now have 3 great engines under their disposal with zero upfront costs. The industry is definitely on the rise!