Epic details new Unreal Engine pricing plan for non-game developers

An illustration of Epic Games’ logo.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Fortnite developer Epic Games will charge non-game developers an annual subscription of $1,850 “per seat” to use its Unreal Engine as opposed to the royalty-based model it uses for game developers. The company announced the changes to its payment scheme last year, and now, it’s providing details on the plan, which will come into effect with the release of Unreal Engine version 5.4 in late April.

The changes don’t apply to game developers, who will continue to pay for access to Epic’s tools via a 5 percent royalty on products that earn over $1 million in lifetime gross revenue. Instead, the new per-seat (effectively per-user) subscription fee will apply to non-game developers such as those who use the Unreal Engine to make linear content such as film and television shows, infotainment systems in cars, or immersive experiences such as theme park rides that aren’t sold directly to customers.

Not all non-game developers will have to pay for the Unreal Engine using the new pricing model. Epic is exempting companies that earn less than $1 million in annual gross revenue as well as students, educators, and “hobbyists.” Companies that make plug-ins for the Unreal Engine can continue to use it for free; in these cases, Epic will continue to get its cut via the revenue share model in its Unreal Engine Marketplace.

The $1,850 annual fee includes access to both the Unreal Engine as well as Epic’s Twinmotion real-time visualization tool and RealityCapture photogrammetry software. Epic says it’s bundling the additional tools ahead of integrating them directly into the Unreal Engine by the end of 2025, but they’ll also be available separately for $445 a year for Twinmotion and $1,250 for RealityCapture.

Epic announced plans to introduce the new pricing model just weeks after competitor Unity announced — and then quickly rolled back — a controversial pay-per-download pricing scheme. As with Unity’s rolled back pricing model, Epic says its new pricing model will only apply to games made with the latest version of its engine: Unreal Engine 5.4. If a developer is using version 5.3 or earlier, the pricing changes will not apply until they upgrade.

Source: The Verge Epic details new Unreal Engine pricing plan for non-game developers