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Crytek adopts royalties model as CryEngine 5.5 arrives

Developer will now take a five per cent share of earnings from games built with its technology

Crytek has shifted the business model behind its high-end CryEngine, now taking a royalty share from any games powered by the toolset.

The firm announced the change during this week's GDC 2018 in San Francisco as it detailed the latest edition, CryEngine 5.5. The new engine is now available for developers to download.

Under the new business model, Crytek will take five per cent of revenues generated by each game built with CryEngine - although only after revenues have passed $5,000.

It's a significant shift from the previous model, where developers could download CryEngine for free and then had the option to pay what they wanted in order to support the firm behind the tech.

In fact, it's the third change to the engine's business model in six years. The pay-what-you-want model was adopted in 2016, with Crytek attempting a subscription system from 2014.

It is also similar to the royalty-share structure Epic Games implemented with Unreal Engine 4 back in 2015, a model it continues to operate on.

No doubt Crytek is kicking itself that it didn't employ this strategy ahead of Kingdom Come: Deliverance's release. The game is by far the most prominent recent example of a CryEngine, and sold more than one million copies in its first two weeks.

Crytek also announced an enterprise tier will be introduced with royalty buyouts and custom support packages, presumably to attract companies from beyond the games industry (again, much in the same way rivals Epic and Unity have managed to do).

If developers are currently building a game with CryEngine 5.0 to 5.4, they can apply for a royalty exemption but they will not be able to upgrade to 5.5.

Those who do upgrade will find over 260 improvements, full access to the editor source code and a new getting started course for those who haven't used CryEngine before. You can see more of the visual improvements in the video below:

Watch on YouTube

CryEngine 5.5 also introduces a new Game Platform plugin that makes it easier to build games for a variety of platforms. This includes integrations for Steamworks and PSN to enable matchmaking, leaderboards, achievements and more.

Crytek also took the opportunity to announce a new CryEngine Certification Program. Much like the Unity scheme, this will allow developers to demonstrate their abilities by taking tests that proof their competence with the engine.

To begin with, the Certification Program will focus on three disciplines: technical artist, designer and programmer.

The firm has also introduced a new documentation structure alongside the Certification Program. As with the getting started course, the objective is to make it easier for new users to familiarise themselves with CryEngine and the possibilities it offers.

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James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
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