Last year we reported that Crytek's latest CRYENGINE tool-set includes support for Wii U, a welcome inclusion due to the popularity of the technology with various developers. It's a powerful engine that produces some of the strongest visuals currently available, and is utilised in some big-name triple-A titles, including Crytek's own Xbox One launch title Ryse: Son of Rome.

CRYENGINE has been available as a free SDK (software development kit) for non-commercial game projects for a number of months, giving those interested a chance to explore its capabilities prior to jumping in and obtaining a commercial license. Crytek has now, however, revealed a new model to encourage more small developers to use the technology on a commercial basis — CRYENGINE as-a-service will be a monthly subscription (from May) that provides a full royalty-free license for $9.90/€9.90 per user per month. Unlike the free SDK this will allow commercial products, and will include all features and updates to get the most out of the technology.

Crytek's Director of Business Development, Carl Jones, said the following:

When we announced the new CRYENGINE this was our first step towards creating an engine as a service. We are happy to announce now that the latest update of CRYENGINE will soon be available to all developers on a subscription basis. We are really excited to make CRYENGINE available to hundreds of thousands of developers working with Crytek to make awesome games.

It's certainly an interesting new entry into the low budget, download-only development space. Unity is particularly popular in the download scene, for example; free Unity licensing is provided by Nintendo for Wii U releases. For comparison a standard Unity Pro package currently costs $1500 up front or $75 per month; clearly a developer's decision relies on far more than just cost, with considerations such as ease-of-use, porting capabilities and the level of support / documentation to also consider. Whether CRYENGINE provides accessibility in usage as well as price, or whether its advanced technology is too great a challenge for small teams, is something that will likely emerge in the coming months.

More affordable tools for developers should mean more games, ultimately, so hopefully everyone wins.