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Non-game developers will soon have to pay to use Unreal Engine 5

Unreal Engine 5 promo image

Several days ago, Epic Games made the surprise announcement that it would lay off over 800 team members, or about 16 percent of its workforce. The reveal of the layoffs was made by Epic's co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney, who admitted that "we've been spending way more money than we earn."

Now there's word that Epic is going to try to get some extra revenue from people who use its Unreal Engine 5 game development tools. However, this new plan won't actually affect game developers at all, but rather people who use the tools for other projects and applications.

VGC reports that during the company's Unreal Fest event last week, Sweeney revealed a plan to charge non-gaming developers a "per seat" fee for using Unreal Engine 5. He stated:

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.

The plan will be similar to how Adobe charges for its development tools. Companies will soon have to pay a license to use Unreal Engine 5 based on how many of their employees use it.

Sweeney didn't offer a specific date on when this business model will be launched, nor did he state any price points. He did say that it would not be "unusually expensive or unusually inexpensive." It will be interesting to see if those non-game developer companies will go ahead and keep using Unreal Engine 5 under this proposed plan, or if they might abandon the game engine.

Game developers will still be able to make projects in Unreal Engine 5 for free, with Epic charging a 5 percent royalty on a game's revenues once it reaches the $1 million level.

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