Epic Games, the creator of classic video games such as Unreal, Gears of War and now the steward of the Unreal Engine that powers many big name games – such as Murdered: Soul Suspect, Thief, Batman: Arkham Origins and so many others - has announced it's drastically changing its business model starting today. No longer will companies have to license the next-gen power of the Unreal 4 engine for millions of dollars but can use the developer kit for $19 per month with a 5 percent royalty on game sales.

The video game development world has just drastically changed. Any developer wanting to use the new engine can do so today using the out-of-the-box tools to create the same triple-A quality titles discerning gamers are used to seeing on PC, Mac, PlayStation and Xbox systems.

"Looking at the new shape of the industry now, we realize that's an outdated tool," Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney said. "Looking at the possibilities for the engine, we started from scratch and thought 'How can we make the engine available to more people?'"

According to the Unreal 4 website users will be able to start and stop their subscriptions at any time while maintaining access to the service but canceled subscribers will not receive regular updates.

Game engines can take a developer years to create and the free versions available to indie studios are limited. Epic just handed the multimillion dollar keys to the kingdom it has taken a decade to build to anyone with 20 clams and a desire to code. In short, the world of indie gaming just got very exciting again.

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[via Polygon]