Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

Unreal Engine is now free

Epic Games has removed the $19 monthly rental charge for Unreal Engine, making the complete technology used to build numerous AAA titles available to any freelancer or indie developer.

From AAA studios’ secret weapon to indie community staple
The announcement marks the end of a rapid journey from the elite studios to the mass market for Unreal Engine: it’s only a year since Epic introduced its monthly rental scheme in the first place.

During that year, the developer has seen “massive” growth of the UE4 user community, helped by a string of strong updates, and the decision to make UE4 free to students and colleges last fall.

According to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney: “The past year has been a whirlwind for everyone at Epic Games. The quality and variety of creative work being done has been breathtaking.”

“The state of Unreal is strong, and we’ve realised that as we take away barriers, more people are able to fulfill their creative visions … That’s why we’re taking away the last barrier to entry, and going free.”

Develop free, pay later
Of course, Unreal Engine 4 isn’t quite free: while you pay nothing to use the editor, Epic takes 5% of gross revenues beyond the first $3,000 per quarter for any product you release commercially.

In contrast, rival AAA engine CryEngine still charges a monthly rental fee, but takes no cut of your profits.

But that still makes UE4 completely free for non-revenue-generating projects like education or architectural visualisation – and in the battle for market share, ‘develop free, pay later’ seems to be winning out.

Unreal Engine 4.7 is available free for 64-bit Windows 7+ and Mac OS X 10.9.2. It can be used to deploy projects to Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, VR devices, Linux, SteamOS, and HTML5.

Epic Games also makes the full source code for the engine available for free on its GitHub repository.

Read Epic Games official announcement that Unreal Engine is going free to use

Download Unreal Engine 4 (Registration required)