[UPDATE: Epic says there will likely be multiple licensing deals for iPhone Unreal Engine]
Epic Games will likely licence out its iPhone-custom Unreal Engine for free, the group’s boss has said, and won’t begin to take royalties unless apps make commercial headway on the App Store.
“I don’t need 2,000 business relationships where I make 38 cents [from each],” said studio president Mike Capps, in reference to the commonly rock-bottom prices of iPhone apps.
“Once folks get successful, we take a percentage off of that,” he said in an interview with trade site Gamasutra.
Epic Games took the stage yesterday at an Apple press conference to announce its first mobile project, codenamed Project Sword, and to announce it will soon make its engine available for other iOS developers.
Capps said that the engine licencing deal will be similar to the one tied with the Unreal Development Kit – though could be free up front for commercial projects.
Epic Games receives a 25 per cent royalty rate on all games that use the Unreal Development Kit, though the first $5,000 earned by a developer is however free of charge. Developers working in a commercial capacity have to pay Epic $99 up-front for the tool, though students, modders and hobbyists can download it for free.
Epic has been interested in the potential of mobile games for some time. The group’s vice president Mark Rein recently said mobile devices will ultimately host triple-A productions.
In expanding into the mobile space, the group’s closest business rival is Unity technologies – whose free-to-use game engine has rapidly gained popularity with mobile and web game developers.