The Unreal Engine 5 tech demo on PS5 wasn’t the only news Epic Games revealed today. The company also announced a change to the pricing structure of Unreal Engine which waives royalties on the first $1 million of project revenue, as well as the launch of Epic Online Services, a free suite of tools to enable in-game friends lists, matchmaking, lobbies, and more.

Alongside the reveal of Unreal Engine 5, Epic Games today also announced a change to the pricing of Unreal Engine. Previously the cost to use the engine for building games was a 5% royalty on gross revenue of the game. Now Epic says it will waive the royalties for the first $1 million in revenue, and then resume the 5% fee from there. This is a permanent change and applies retroactively to revenue from January 1st, 2020.

That works out to mean developers get back $50,000 (not counting platform royalties) from that first $1 million that would otherwise be paid in engine royalties.

Epic already waives engine royalties on all revenue generated from games sold on the Epic Games Store (where it instead collectes a flat 12% platform royalty), but this change now means that games built with Unreal Engine and sold elsewhere will get a sweeter deal. Unreal Engine is also free for personal use, free projects, and linear content creation.

Unreal Engine 5 Tech Demo on PS5 Shows Where Next-gen Graphics are Headed

Unity, the other popular game engine for VR content creation, ranges in price from $40 to $150 per month per seat, depending on project scope. A free version of Unity is available for free projects or those earning less than $100,000 in annual revenue.

In addition to the royalty change, Epic Games also announced the launch of Epic Online Services, a free suite of tools and services which allow developers to build cross-platform, engine-agnostic multiplayer capabilities into their games. The company says that Epic Online Services offers matchmaking, lobbies, peer-to-peer networking, achievements, stats, leaderboards, player data storage, game analytics, and player ticketing.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • R3ST4RT

    While I am only a tinkerer with game dev, this reduction in royalties really sways me toward unreal. They have some really nice systems baked in by default that unity only has if you purchase 3rd party add-ins. I’m going to have to give unreal another look.

  • Charles

    Hopefully they’ve fixed their uncorrectable aliasing issue. There have been several great VR Unreal Engine games over the past few years that were strongly held back by aliasing that wouldn’t go away no matter how much supersampling and anti-aliasing you used. Such as Rec Room and New Retro Arcade.

    • david vincent

      Yeah, such as ‘The Solus Project’, great game but “my god, it’s full of aliasing”. Very immersion killing. Whereas Unity games looked very sharp from the beginning….

      • Charles

        Oh yeah, I remember that one. The horrible aliasing was the main reason I lost interest early on in the game and uninstalled it. Nice 2001/2010 reference, haha.