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Epic will charge non-game developers $1,850 to use Unreal Engine

Epic Games has announced a new pricing system for use of the Unreal Engine by non-game developers, after hinting at changes to come last year.

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The Fortnite creator will charge an annual subscription of $1,850 “per seat.” The term “per seat” in a technical environment actually means “the person using the software.” These changes will take effect with the release of Unreal Engine 5.4 at the end of April.

 

While Unreal Engine is primarily known as a game development tool, it is regularly used across a variety of industries, and this is where the new pricing structure comes into play. Companies creating linear content such as TV shows and movies will have to fork out this $1,850 fee, as will organizations developing in-vehicle infotainment platforms and immersive attractions such as amusement parks. Epic doesn’t currently make money from most of these users because the end products are, as company CEO Tim Sweeney put it last year, “royalty-free.”

 

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The annual fee gives these users access to Unreal Engine itself, Twinmotion’s real-time rendering tool, and the company’s RealityCapture 3D modeling software. However, organizations can purchase separate licenses for each product. Twinmotion will cost $445 per year, and RealityCapture will cost $1,250 per year.

 

There are some exceptions. Companies with annual gross revenues of less than $1 million will not pay this fee. The same goes for students, teachers and hobbyists. Companies developing plugins for Unreal Engine can continue to use the software for free, but Epic will receive a share of the revenue through a revenue sharing model.

 

Epic’s real bread and butter, game developers, will continue to have free access to the Unreal Engine while paying only a 5% royalty on software that generates more than $1 million in lifetime gross revenue. In 2020, Epic increased the royalty exemption threshold from $50,000 to $1 million.

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