Unreal Engine 3 has become practically synonymous with game development in this generation. Epic’s easy-to-use but comprehensive development kit can be seen in literally hundreds of games from the past 5 years. From big budget titles like Gears of War to smaller, portable games like Infinity Blade, Epic’s UDK does it all, and it’s even free to use.
In a thread posted on Epic’s forums, company president Mark Rein detailed some important and fairly drastic changes to the way people are paid for their Unreal creations. Up until now, anyone creating a commercial IP created on the Unreal Engine would have to pay royalties to Epic Games once you reach the $5,000 mark. The new cap raises that initial amount to a whopping $50,000, allowing indie developers the chance to hold onto much more of their hard earned cash. Read on to see just what Rein had to say about it.
From the original thread on Epic’s forums:
“We’re really excited about folks making some amazing things with UDK and we realize that a lot of you are just started in the business so not having to pay royalties on your first $50,000 should help you get a financial footing toward building a quality game development business.
One thing some folks didn’t seem to realize is that whether you sell your product through digital distribution (or a retail location) the company doing the sale to the end user (called the "retailer") takes a cut (typically around 30%) for their efforts. The price they sell it for is called the retail price. The amount of money they pay to you on each sale is called the wholesale amount. When you pay us royalties you pay on the wholesale amount, i.e. the money you actually receive. “
This is really a great move on Epic’s part and will go a long way toward encouraging indie developers to use the Unreal Development Kit. Many developers are supportive of their modding community, but no one pays them better than Epic. If I wore hats, I’d tip mine in their direction for this.