Source 2 will be free; won't ask for royalties

Sauce 2

It's battle of the engines at this year's GDC. It's a war on two fronts: prettiness and price. In other words, what will the engine let developers do, and how much will they have to give up to do it. Unreal Engine 4, for instance, is now free to use, but requires a 5% royalty on gross revenue over a small allowance.

So how about Valve's new Source 2? Talking to RPS, Valve's Erik Johnson explained that Source 2 would be free for developers, and that there would be no royalty charge for using the engine. There is, however, still one catch. Games made in Source 2 must be sold through Steam.

That means that Valve will take their standard 30% cut for Steam distribution. Crucially, Steam doesn't have to be the exclusive distributor. Source 2 developers will be free to sell their game wherever they like, even directly, as long as they also sell through Steam.

That seems like a pretty good deal, but it's one that raises a major question: if Source 2 games must be sold on Steam, does that mean that Source 2 games instantly bypass Greenlight? If so, that could be an attractive bonus for developers looking for a guaranteed place on PC gaming's biggest distribution channel.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.