Apr 5, 2022 - Technology

Epic's Unreal Engine 5 has officially launched

Unreal Engine 5 tech test from Xbox studio The Coalition. Screenshot: Epic Games

Epic Games has officially launched Unreal Engine 5, its newest set of software tools for making video games.

Why it matters: While Epic may be known to much of the public for its hit game Fortnite, its core business has long been Unreal.

  • Epic’s goal is to make Unreal Engine the definitive toolset for building games, virtual worlds and other digital entertainment.
  • The engine is free to download, but Epic then takes a 5% cut of games that generate more than $1 million in revenue.

Details: During a kickoff video showcase today, the selling point wasn’t just what the engine can do, but who is using it.

  • Epic workers demonstrated how the engine could be used to make and tweak modern games.
  • Then came the key slide showing dozens of partners, including PlayStation, Xbox and Tencent …
  • … followed by testimonials from recent Unreal Engine converts CD Projekt RED, which had previously used its own tech to make games in the Witcher and Cyberpunk franchises…
  • … and ending with the kicker that Crystal Dynamics, another studio that long operated its own in-house engine, would use Unreal on its next Tomb Raider game.

The big picture: While Epic battles Apple over app stores and competes with EA and Krafton in the battle royale game sector, its Unreal Engine competition is twofold.

  • Its Coke-Pepsi corporate rival: Unity, the engine-maker that also recently bought Hollywood special effects house Weta Digital.
  • Its philosophical rival: the developers and publishers who prefer to build and use their own in-house tech. That approach may seem less attractive, though, the more it features in investigative reports about studios whose developers struggled to use proprietary tools.

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