Engine Wars! CryEngine Shifting To Cheap Subscription

By Craig Pearson on March 20th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

Other CryEngine games include Sniper Ghost Warrior 2, Aion: The Tower of Eternity, and WARFACE!

Who’d have thought game engines could be so competitive? We need Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura commenting on all this news from GDC. Following on from yesterday’s announcement that Epic will be releasing Unreal 4 on subscription for $19 per month plus a 5% share of the gross profits, Crytek has responded by announcing that their CryEngine will also be available on subscription, for the cryminally low price of $9.90 per month and no cuts from the profits. Is this the engine equivalent of Hulking up?

Now all we need is Valve to make Source 2 free, but supported by the Steam Workshop so people will actually be making money. A bit like Unity, but with no money down at all. Can they? Would they? Probably not, but it’s fun to consider. This is what CryEngine is capable of.

Did Crytek plan this for GDC? Did both companies spot the lay of the hand-sculpted land and make the same decision? Or are we looking at Crytek being super-competitive? $9.90 does seem like a deliberate choice: just a tad over half the cost of the Unreal engine.

Whatever my early-morning cynicism, can we at least all agree that a sleepless Mark Rein is being a little bit adorable on Twitter, here.

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43 Comments »

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  1. altum videtur says:

    So whatever happened to Warfac?

  2. Premium User Badge

    golem09 says:

    Is this a glimmer of the next generation after consoles are dead? Engine wars instead of console wars?

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s like the old Quake engine* vs UnrealEngine days are back with a vengeance.

      (* I can’t remember when they started calling it “id Tech”.)

  3. Baboonanza says:

    It could make sense for Valve to release Source 2 for free with the basic requirement that the game is made available on Steam. They’d get their cut that way instead.

    • frightlever says:

      Very good point!

    • LionsPhil says:

      Maybe they could open the Source source, although not as open source. Of course, given how the Internet fills with rumours about Valve, it would be important for any articles about this to cite a reliable source.

      • Premium User Badge

        Zunt says:

        Speaking of rumours, did you hear that GabeN was caught putting XXX-rated cooking products on the blisters he got from rendering a tree into planks? Saucy sauce on his saw sores.

        • cannonballsimp says:

          triple X you say?
          Source Engine 3 confirmed

        • fatgleeson says:

          I was there when he did it in the Valve playground. He put it onto a plate first though. I saw him pour the saucy sauce from a saucer onto his sore saw sores on the see-saw

      • Low Life says:

        Are you a sourceror?

  4. spunky says:

    Great way to cannibalize a market!
    Not much room for new engines left now…..

    • frightlever says:

      Was a time nobody licensed engines much and everyone made their own to fulfil their specific requirements. Obviously things have changed but that’s not to say some people will still want to make their own engines. I do think you have a point though.

  5. Lobotomist says:

    The subscription is bit lower than Unity. But 5% of all revenues could be a real whopper.
    Especially if by some chance the game becomes big success.

    Its bit of a deal with devil. They make it because they can not afford full priced engine. But end up paying much more than they usually would.

    • Syra says:

      Indeed and as it’s on gross revenue the engine costs could keep you loss making. On the other hand Crytek not even taking 1% on commercial uses of their engine seems crazy generous I guess?

      • LionsPhil says:

        Possibly they’re aiming lower because they don’t have the same broad suite of development tools as UnrealEngine and Unity?

        • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

          I’d have to guess it’s this. The last year or so of Mechwarrior Online has been delays due to the fact that there’s not a lot of third party tools for the dev team to work with, they’ve had to rewrite a lot from scratch, and aren’t getting any support from Crytek. After the sheer volume of problems they’ve had with it, I can see why so many others have gone with Unreal and Unity.

          • Skiddywinks says:

            I’m sure that’s a factor but you are failing to mention that PGI are incompetent and have no idea what they are doing as well.

            It’s like some other team entirely made the base game and PGI have been spending the last two years just figuring out how to actually do anything. When the guys behind Kingdom Come: Deliverence can get so much done and to such a high standard, it suggest you should be looking at the people more than the engine.

            Just look at SC as well. Sure, they are designing their own networking back end (because CE wasn’t designed with what SC want to achieve in mind), but other than that I’ve not heard of any issues from them either.

  6. marach says:

    how many plans to start using unreal got changes last night I wonder. The cost saving alone is huge…

  7. manny says:

    This is great news. Game development will now become faster, cheaper and easier. Makes me wonder if Unlimited Detail tech from Euciidean being released soon has something to do with this.

    Once the SDK for that gets released all game engines will have graphical parity. Which means the winner will the one with the biggest userbase and ease of use.

    • Sam says:

      “Unlimited Detail” is extremely unlikely to be incorporated into any major game engines, and its eventual public release is not going to have any big impact on general approaches to game graphics.
      Their technology is based on wholly static environments. Although animation is possible, it very much plays to the weaknesses of the system. Static environments are very last season, and frankly they have yet to produce a demo that looks significantly better than a modern “old fashioned” polygon engine can produce. Even their environments generated from photos don’t look much different from a modern game with particularly high res textures.

  8. Rolento says:

    Jesse ain’t got the time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqDwqdSF6Ec

  9. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Valve has a perfect opportunity for Source 2 to be free with the proviso that anything made with it is put on Steam, integrate the dev tools with steam workshop, that way people can put extra plugins, tutorials, resources, etc on the workshop for free & sale much like the unity store. Valve get there cut from every game/tools/resource sale and everyone is happy and or rich.

  10. Tom Walker says:

    Looks very significantly less pretty than the UE4 ‘Infiltration’ (or something) demo. Seems like if you’re going to show off a tech demo a year after your competitor’s last one, yours needs to be better.

    • Syra says:

      I’m not sure – it goes both ways, after all these videos look to be in-engine from games in development, whereas UE was basically a cutscene and it’s hard to believe that’s how any actual games would look at present.

      • Sir_Brizz says:

        Both of the UE4 videos are rendered in real time. So the engine can draw it as long as you can get artists to make it.

        • CuriousGeorge says:

          But they could tightly control the number of onscreen lights/polygons/particles in those realtime demos. And if they noticed a framerate dip in a given scene, they could just go in and drop the fidelity (remove lights, use lower poly models for stuff in the background, etc.) bit by bit until it keeps a solid 60fps.

          An actual game would have to be much more conservative to keep the same performance.

  11. Ranek says:

    It hasn’t been confirmed yet is this includes the full source. We’ve asked and been told that they wont make an annoucement on that until the start of May. Personally, having had to use the free sdk for CE3 I’d very much like to get hold of the source, and the fact I can get that with UE4 makes it more tempting for me.

  12. ryanrybot says:

    Maximum Savings.

  13. Lemming says:

    Remember folks, if you can’t make decent 3D art and animation, you may as well be staring at an empty box for all the good these game engine deals will do you!

    • sleepisthebrotherofdeath says:

      Empty box. That’s all I had to play with as a kid. And it was all dirty from having to sit in the gutter.

  14. Junkenstein says:

    Ever since Far Cry, detractors of the games have been calling them ‘engine demos and advertisments’, yet I can’t think of any third party games who have used Crytek’s engine. And even in-house, all I can think of are the x-Cry-y games, Warface and Ryse.

    It’s always looked great, and I’d love to see other developers make use of it, but maybe there’s a reason why no one has so far?

    • derbefrier says:

      I know star citizen is using it other than EA games I couldn’t think of anything else though

    • Lenderz says:

      MechWarrior Online, Star Citizen, Ghost Warrior 2 and the second Homefront game are all using it.

      Crytek are a private developer, not owned by EA, I don’t think any other EA properties other than the Crysis series are using Cryengine. EA is using their own Frostbite engine developed by EA DICE for a lot of their upcoming games.

  15. Shuck says:

    They do specifically mention “indie” developers, so I’m guessing this is for games below a certain size revenue. If revenues exceed some threshold, no doubt they want more money and/or a percentage. These deals aren’t necessarily as great as they seem, as Unreal appears to have gotten rid of its free version in favor of the new subscription version, for example. (Meanwhile, if you don’t want to use the “pro” features, you can still make a game with Unity for free.)

  16. Sir_Brizz says:

    There aren’t many details about this deal. It seems like CryEngine is going to have tiered pricing and the $9.90 a month is simply the bottom tier. Who knows what the next tiers would be?

    UE4 has way better dev tools, builds for every major (and soon several minor) platform there is right now, and they have a non-royalty option if you can come up with some up front capital. It seems like a known quantity right now where CryEngine won’t really be a known quantity for months yet. You can get UE4 right now.

    • JMartinni says:

      You know, you could just take a look at cryengine.com. Plenty of details there.

  17. Viceroy Choy says:

    Cannot describe how awesome it is to have so many resources to make games. Absolutely fucking awesome.

  18. Blackcompany says:

    Correct me if I am wrong here but…isn’t this the last great advantage AAA studios had over indies, pretty well being stripped away?

    Is it just wishful thinking to believe that this could really change the game development scene in the reasonably near/not too distant future? After all, a week ago publishers like Activision and Ubisoft (et al) were sighing with relief and saying, “Don’t worry, the Indies will never be able to afford our level of visual presentation. That’s the edge we will always have over Indie development.”

    Except…maybe not so much?

    • Hirngespinst says:

      Well no. The main work is to produce the content that looks so pretty in that engine. Of the 500+ people who worked on the latest AssCreed or the 1000 people who worked on GTA only a very small percentage worked on the engine. The majority produced pretty art and content that filled those games.

  19. Captain Wow says:

    Tencent owns half of Epic Games and they’re using the CryEngine. Dats funny.

  20. Lestibournes says:

    How are they supposed to make a profit on $10 a month per-developer? Unless it’s $10 per user, so a large development team of 800 would be paying $8000 a month but a small team of 3 would pay only $30 a month.