Epic Games Offering Schools Free Access To Unreal Engine 4
Epic Games has announced that it will be offering Unreal Engine 4 free to colleges and universities with accredited video game development, computer science, art, architecture, simulation, and visualization programs. The announcement stated that Unreal 4 engine can be "installed and used on all school owned computers, and personal copies can be provided free of charge" to all students enrolled in these types of programs. This would eliminate the current cost of $19 per month subscription price for students; however, the 5% royalty fee for any games shipped would still apply. Students and their educational institutions would also receive regular updates as if they were normally subscribed. Signing up for the program is intended for instructors only, and students can still get the engine's C++ source code and submit changes through GitHub.
Epic's decision to provide free subscriptions is a way to help seed their game engine software within institutional settings where students can become familiar with its use. Reduced pricing for students and schools is a marketing strategy used by many other companies like Apple. It's a smart move since most people tend to stick with what's familiar. Also, getting Epic's source code in the hands of as many student devs as possible only helps crowd source new innovations that the company and its users can benefit from in the future. This type of democratization of access seems, in the long run, a win-win for everyone. For more info on Unreal Engine 4, check out Epic's FAQ's.