I want to make an app for mobile devices and thought about using a game engine as a way to make a single development distributable to multiple platforms.
One of the engines I have tested is the Unreal Engine, and while it’s features are great, there is some confusion about what license(s) would be applicable for this particular use. In the website there’s a page that makes you choose between Games and Non-Games, and the first option shows the Publisher and Custom licenses, while the other one shows Creators and Enterprise licenses as options. However, in the EULA, the Publisher license does no mention of this [categories] and refers only to “your product”.
Could I make and sell a mobile app under the Publisher license or is it out of it’s scope?
I am not a lawyer, and I don’t work for Epic, but here is how I interpret it:
If you want to sell the application on a store, you must use the Publisher license. The Creator license is only applicable for free application that have no monetization (no ads or DLC or microtransactions,) or for experiences where you control the physical distribution to a small audience (such as client demos, art installations, etc.)
If you want to sell your application for money, and you think the Publisher license is not appropriate for you, you can contact Epic business development and negotiate some other license. Beware that there’s a significant up-front cost to any commercial license that adjusts those terms, though – think six or seven digits of dollars.
Hi, thanks for your reply, but the thing is that I do not want to make a game.
And I actually want to use the Publisher license but, given the association between each type of product and specific license options in the web site, it’s not clear to me if making and selling this type of non-game app is allowed only under an Enterprise license, which I can’t afford and must use another engine if that’s the case.
This question objective is to learn if the web site classification represents the full spectrum of possibilities under the EULA, or if it’s just a recommendation based on Epic’s past experience of what license most UE users have chosen for each type of product.
The publisher one is right for you.
Ok, thanks atypic!
EDIT: I can’t find an option to mark your reply as an answer.
Is it fair to say that your question reduces to whether “applications” are different from “games”? I habitually used “game” in my answer, but it really holds for any “application.”
No, my question is about the fact that the website’s licensing page has a switch-like button that shows different license options depending on whether one wants to build a commercial game specifically, or any other type of product including (but not limited to) non-commercial games.
I asked if a non-game mobile app would be considered to belong in the other-type-of-product category or not from Epic’s perspective because, in the end, they may license their product as they see fit and actually make that distinction if they wanted to.
This is what I read on Frequently Asked Questions - Unreal Engine
Unreal Engine End User License Agreement for Publishing: This license is free to use and incurs 5% royalties when you monetize your game or other interactive off-the-shelf product and your lifetime gross revenues from that product exceed $1,000,000 USD.
Is it correct that your app is “another interactive off-the-shelf product?”
In the actual license text, at EULA - Unreal Engine the only mention of the term “game,” is for specific games (like Robo Recall) and for game-specific services (like Microsoft Game Pass.) The actual thing you build is called a Product:
“Product” means any product developed under this Agreement that is made using the Licensed Technology or that combines the Licensed Technology with any other software or content, regardless of how much or little of the Licensed Technology is used.
Where do you read that it’s specifically only “a game?” Is there some other page that I’m not aware of?
Is it correct that your app is "another interactive off-the-shelf product?
That would sum up what I was asking in the first place (because it was not included among the things listed under “non-games”, but under “games”, in the get-now page).
The actual thing you build is called a Product
That’s quite obvious. However, non-linear content and free games are also products. Different types of products, or even the same type of product distributed in a different way, are not licensed under the same terms.
Is there some other page that I’m not aware of?
Maybe? I can’t possibly know if you have been to those url’s for the get-now page, but there’s a switch control that allows each one to show the same content as the other, except for which option between games and non-games is selected by default (it must be a single page but with arguments passed as part of the URL, like in Django):
Oh, wow, I hadn’t seen the “get-now” page. I agree that that’s 100% confusing and not helpful at all! I find the FAQ and the actual license text much better.
(This has been a constant question ever since they released the engine many years ago, and it seems they’re always taking one step forward, one step back, in trying to improve their messaging around this …)