Free-to-play games are all the rage these days, so it's only fitting that development tools appear to be headed in the same direction. Epic has revealed that Unreal Engine 4 is now "available to everyone for free."
The announcement comes nearly a year after Epic started selling Unreal Engine subscriptions for $19/month. The UE4 development community has "grown tremendously" since then, the company says, and lifting the monthly fee is expected to encourage even more developers to get in on the action.
As far as I can tell, Unreal Engine 4 hasn't been watered down or laced with freemium features. You still get the full engine source code and the same suite of tools used by Epic's own staff. The only catch is that Epic wants a small slice of sales from any commercial products created with the engine. Developers are on the hook for 5% of gross quarterly revenue after the first $3,000.
Anyone with an Unreal Engine 4 subscription will be getting a partial refund on their monthly bill. All subscribers past and present will also get a $30 credit for the Unreal Engine Marketplace. The online content store is loaded with game assets, including environments, models, materials, and effects.