Epic CEO said that it will implement a new Unreal Engine charging model

Contrasted with the recent turbulence Unity faced due to its monetization strategy, the Unreal Engine’s horizon appears significantly serene. Historically, Epic has granted game developers complimentary access to the Unreal Engine. Only when a game’s revenue surpasses the threshold of one million dollars does Epic levy a 5% usage fee.

However, the realm of Unreal Engine now extends well beyond the gaming sphere, permeating architectural design, film production, and even the automotive industry. The engine provides tailored solutions across these sectors, leading to a conundrum: Epic currently lacks a dedicated pricing model for these domains. As a consequence, numerous companies and individuals profit from leveraging the Unreal Engine, leaving Epic without its rightful revenue share.

Unreal Engine charging model

Determined to rectify this imbalance, Epic is poised for change. Citing a report from VGC and corroborated by a video from vlogger ImmatureGamerX, Epic’s CEO, Tim Sweeney, recently announced at Unreal Fest 2023 a forthcoming recalibration of the Unreal Engine’s pricing structure.

We have an engine that’s completely free for anybody to use, but if you’re never shipping a product that’s royalty-bearing then you never pay any money at all,” Sweeney elucidated.

And this doesn’t affect game developers, but one of the things we’re going to change next year is for industries other than game development, such as the automobile industry and so on, we’re going to move to a seat-based enterprise software licensing model for Unreal Engine. We don’t have terms to announce yet but I just wanted to get this out in front of everybody for transparency, we’re going to move to a model like that.

In essence, ‘seat-based’ implies that organizations will be required to purchase licenses for each employee utilizing the Unreal Engine, a pricing strategy akin to prevalent productivity software suites, like those from Adobe or Autodesk.

It’s not going to be unusually expensive or unusually inexpensive, but if you’re going to be building a product outside the game industry and not paying a royalty on it then, you know, it’ll be a licensable piece of software like Maya or Photoshop or whatever,” Sweeney further expounded.

While Sweeney refrained from disclosing specific price points, he emphasized that the announcement’s primary intent was to foster transparency, providing an early indication of Epic’s forthcoming trajectory.