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Making games is getting easy and inexpensive, and now one of the most powerful development tools is undercutting its competition to keep up.
Crytek announced today that it will make its CryEngine software technology available as a service starting in May. The company will charge $9.90 a month to indie developers for access to the same tools that Crytek used to build Ryse: Son of Rome for Xbox One. This will give even the smallest developers access to a game engine that is capable of making triple-A-level visuals. It’s also less than half what Epic Games is charging for its Unreal Engine 4 service, which costs $20 a month.
“When we announced the new CryEngine, this was our first step toward creating an engine as a service,” Crytek director of business development Carl Jones said. “We are happy to announce now that the latest update of CryEngine will soon be available to all developers on a subscription basis. We are really excited to make CryEngine available to hundreds of thousands of developers working with Crytek to make awesome games.”
The subscription model replaces the previous licensing fee that developers had to pay up front to use the latest version of CryEngine. Under the subscription, anyone who can afford $10 a month can have access to all of the Crytek’s tools. If a developer ends up releasing a commercial product, they will also owe Crytek a small cut of their revenue.
CryEngine and Unreal are just a couple of the many development tools that developers can use to make commercial games. The Unity engine is another popular choice for 3D titles, while many indie companies often choose things like GameMaker: Studio or MonoGame to build simple 2D titles.
Crytek, Epic, and Unity (which has no monthly fee) are all vying to get developers onto their respective engines. The shift to new consoles has renewed the battle after Unreal was the go-to third-party development engine through much of the last generation — it powered dozens of big-name releases over the last several years. Now, as Epic shifts from Unreal 3 to Unreal 4 and new systems present new opportunities, all the major middle-ware providers are scrambling to offer their services to the people making games.
Indie studios are especially important in this fight because major publishers like Electronic Arts and Bethesda have moved all of their teams to proprietary engines. Unreal previously powered many of EA’s biggest titles on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.