does UE4 being free at the development stage, mean that epic will stop putting out updates as frequently? Do they plan on taking UE4 static, or are they turning their attention to UE 5 instead? What is the trade off to have free access to the development tools?
they will probably keep updating as usual
UE4 is just getting started so I doubt you will be seeing UE5 for a long time
there is none.
As smokey noted, there is no plans to slow down the updates whatsoever, and UE4 has only been around for about a year so far. We will see versions 4.8, 4.9, 4.10, 4.11 etc coming soon, it will not become UE5 after version 4.9.