Epic makes Unreal Engine 4 free to students
Originally posted on 9 September. Scroll down for updates.
Epic Games has made Unreal Engine 4 free for educational use. The engine can be installed on any computer at colleges running accredited courses, or the personal computers of any student enrolled in those courses.
Free updates too, but the same rules apply about making money
Epic’s FAQs doesn’t explain how the company defines ‘accredited’, but game development, computer science, art, architecture, simulation and visualisation courses are all namechecked.
Students receive the same updates as artists on paid subscriptions, but the same rules also apply about making money: if you ship your class project publicly, and it makes over $3,000/quarter, you pay Epic 5%.
And if you’re teaching yourself and hoping to snag a free copy, you’re out of luck: there’s no option to download an educational licence directly from Epic – you have to go through an accredited college.
Growing UE4’s user base
The announcement looks likely to win market share for UE4 against rival products like Crytek’s CryEngine, which also moved to a monthly rental model earlier this year.
While CryEngine is half the cost – $9.90/month or lower, as opposed to $15/month for UE4 – with no revenue split, Epic has been making most of the recent headlines, thanks to a regular series of product updates, and new partnerships with tools developers like IDV and Mixamo.
Unlike CryEngine, monthly UE4 subscriptions also provide access to the full source code – a benefit now extended to students and colleges on the free subscriptions.
Updated 8 October: Students can now download Unreal Engine 4 directly, as part of GitHub’s Student Developer Pack, which includes a set of other coding-related tools and services, many of them commercial.