Epic takes on Unity with Unreal 4


This is a huge deal, and a direct response to Unity’s popularity. This should lead to a huge jump in the performance and visual fidelity of indie games over the next couple of years. Unity is a pig, Unreal is not.

The code is going open-source too, kinda. It’s being hosted on github. They don’t allow forking, and you do need to pay that 5% to release a game using it. But now anyone can contribute to the Unreal engine.

It’s an interesting move, although I’m sad that there isn’t going to be a free UDK4 version to just mess around with as a gamer/hobbyist level creator.

They are releasing the entire toolbox, from soup to nuts, for $19/month. The only caveats are that you can’t fork it, and you need to pay them 5% of your revenue. You will be able to download everything.

I’m thrilled about this development and how it will be used by indies over the coming years. :) Great move on their part.

It’s $19 a month it looks like, not free.

Yes, I edited that in. Still unclear, but my guess is it will cost $19 per month per developer. Which is still nothing, even for indies.

This really is amazing news. I hope this leads to unity and unreal profitably competing for years to come. In particular, I hope to see Unity opening up their sourcecode in response very soon-- they currently charge dearly for it.

I wonder how much effort it is to covert assets between unity and unreal? Epic is releasing something similar to the unity asset store, one of the main benefits of using unity. Would be nice to see epic’s store stocked up quickly too.

19 a month is a ton cheaper than Unity

I’m hoping this gets Unity to drop their prices.

Now, when you say “indies”, who exactly are you talking about?

$19 a month is great for indie upfront costs, but that 5% of gross forever is quite the hit.

My guess is the 5% will be an incredible deal for every title not selling millions of copies, and a worse deal for those that do. But most of those use their own engines anyway.

That’s just a guess, because I have no freaking clue what Epic used to charge unreal licensees, just that it was a lot of money. The scenario I listed just seems the most likely.


So that’s, what, $20 and lots of GB of bandwidth to satisfy my curiosity on what something like a modern 3D Engine looks like in source code? Sold!

(I’ll never make a game, I’m sure… but I’m interested in the tech…)

Edit: Even better, I can download it, pore over it, and re-implement it based on my understanding. That’s cool. (Completely and totally impractical for developing a product, but really friggin’ cool from a tech geek perspective!)

You might not even need to pay the $19 to view the source on github, only to use the UDK and their asset store. This news just came out, so a lot of the details remain up in the air.

I know you can create private repositories on github, but do they really have the mechanism setup for people to pay to subscribe to individual repositories?

Fair enough, but it’s $20 man. It’s probably actually worth a $20 monthly fee just to keep updated docs available assuming they devote resources to documentation. (Which I assume they do/will since they’ll still have support for big house devs.)


One $19 subscription covers your entire educational institution. If any of your students wants to sell his work, he has to pony up $19 and 5% of the gross. Very cool.

Unreal Engine. I had this wistful moment and thought they might actually make another Unreal game.

Pay them $19 and go make it yourself! ;)

This is certainly an improvement over their previous pricing (which was absurd), but it isn’t really close to Unity’s price unless you make just over $100,000 in revenue per year and need several seats with all the add-ons (assuming that UE4 even supports the same number of platforms and that the support is included in the monthly fee).

That said, if it’s a better engine for what you’re doing, it’s worth a higher fee, and if you want to take a shot on the cheap at putting together a bunch of projects and hope that one of them hits it big, then shifting from up-front costs to royalties might be a good idea.

I think it’s a pretty amazing offer considering what you get, and what you’ll get access to if their longer term goals come through.

The only bummer is Unreal games all have the same look, a look that puts me off. So a lot of future games made by people taking advantage of this will be imo ugly. One cool thing is I’m sure this will cause all game development tools from Gamemaker to Unity to cost less. It should be a win/win for everyone in that way.

From what I can tell, unity is $75/month/seat with a minimum subscription of 1 year. This does not include full support for iOS or android, which are another $75/m per. Collaboration is another $20/month. So if you have a small team of 5 guys making an iOS game, Unity will cost $9240/year. They also sell a perpetual license for $1500 plus $1500 for iOS and android, so that same team of 5 guys would pay $15k/year, but wouldn’t need to renew in year 2. They also won’t get access to the next version of Unity, version 5, which is due out by then.

Compare that to $19/month/seat with everything included for Unreal. That’s $1140/year total, a substantial savings-- but you need to pay Epic 5% of your gross revenue.

If you do the math, Unreal will cost less if your game grosses under $185k/year for an iOS game. If you’re making a windows/OSX/linux game, or can live with the iOS/android “basic” capabilities, Unreal will cost less if your game grosses under $95k/year. So you’re right, Unity is cheaper for any case where development actually pays your bills, anything not a side project.

Couple caveats, though. With unity you don’t get the sourcecode, that’s extra. And Unreal is a much more performant and capable engine. But then again, many indie developers are already familiar with Unity, because they’re using it already.