Talk about making students an offer they can’t refuse, eh? Attending college/university/etc. is expensive enough without adding $19/month to an already troublesome budget, after all. Whether the lack of a price tag will cause a huge shift in engine choice from, say, Unity, remains to be seen, however.
Now, one might think that they’re handing out some feature-limited version or some such, but that’s not the case. The version of Unreal Engine 4 that students can get their hands on for free, is in fact fully featured, even if the 5% fee for launching a commercial product does still apply.
“Students who know Unreal Engine technology have a huge advantage when it comes to job placement.”
Between Unity, GameMaker Studio, RPG Maker and Unreal Engine 4, suffice to say, the video game engine market is both full of choice, and quite competitive. Everyone wants their software to be used for new games, in order to hopefully attract new customers/developer, on top of the fun in being able to say “this was made using our engine!”. Fame, fortune and all that good stuff.
That said, this rather attractive deal isn’t a case of “I’m a student, here’s proof, give me a license!”. Instead, professors, teachers and school administrators interested in using Unreal Engine 4 for educational purposes will need to apply on https://www.unrealengine.com/education.
Following that, “students enrolled in accredited video game development, computer science, art, architecture, simulation, and visualization programs” will be able to get their hands on a personal license. So to summarize: if you aren’t studying anything computer related, you aren’t eligible for a free Unreal Engine 4 license. Makes sense to me.
For more details, check out the Unreal Engine 4 FAQ.