Epic Games has claimed that engine rivals Unity and Amazon are more interested in their own profit than the success of their developers.
All three engines – Unreal, Unity and Lumberyard – are free-to-use, but generate revenue through different methods.
Unreal takes five per cent of the revenue earned by Unreal-based games, while Unity makes the majority of its cash from advertising and analytics, and Amazon’s Lumberyard charges devs for their use of the Amazon Web Services cloud platform for multiplayer and online features.
Epic CTO Kim Libreri told Gamasutra that Unreal’s business model marked its preference for supporting devs and encouraging them to make their creations successful, rather than simply aiming to make money.
"If you make a great game and you succeed, we succeed with you,” he said. “I think that is the greatest motivator.
“We really are focused on our customers. It’s important for us that they make great games and they’re successful. It’s very pure. Very simple to understand.
"Obviously cloud-hosted games are making profit out of the cloud hosting component of it. That’s great, but it’s not quite the same metric as being a successful game. If a game is not efficient, and uses more cloud resources, that still is in the interest of somebody who’s selling cloud services.
"If somebody’s making money through advertising attached to a game, that’s still not the pure – the game has to be great and selling great numbers for us to be succeeding the best, so it is pure."
CEO Tim Sweeney echoed Libreri’s liberal use of the word ‘pure’ when describing Unreal’s focus on studios.
"We make engine technology purely as developers succeed,” he said. “And we profit from the success alongside them
"Our model is probably the purest of them all. We profit from five per cent royalty on the revenue from games built with Unreal.
“You pay relatively unproportionately to the value you’re getting out of the engine and we have an incentive to help everybody to succeed in proportion to their potential."