I've been using UE4 since August 2014, and I'm more than happy to pay the 5% royalty. That's nothing compared to what I'm getting in return. Steam takes a 30% cut, so I'm already looking at a 65% cut of any potential sale, and that's before the tax man comes and takes his cut. This is where my accounting skills start to fail -- do I get to deduct the 35% cuts from my taxes as "expenses"? Or do I exclude them from my gross revenue? I don't know, but that's a question for someone more versed with the finances.
I look at it from a business perspective: Even if UE4 costs a 5% royalty fee, I am able to get much more value than 5% by using their tool. Imagine my game makes $1m gross sales (which is crazy wild). I pay Epic $50k. That's equivalent to the yearly wages of an employee -- who has the production equivalent of hundreds of employees. That's like paying 100 highly skilled employees $500 for an entire year to build the state of the art tech. Obviously, this is more of a business case for using a third party engine than anything else. But, in my experience, the place where UE4 really shines isn't just in their editor, but in the rapid development cycle of new feature releases (and bug fixes), the open source code with the opportunity to submit changes to the master branch, the super close community interaction all the epic staff has -- I mean, nobody from Unity has bought me beers while talking about their engine and trying to figure out how to help support me. Just the other day, Tim Sweeny himself answered a burning question I had on their forums. For the value I get from Epic, I have no problems sharing a portion of what I make. When everyone is successful, we all win
Unity currently beats UE4 with market place content and a mature community, but I say, give it time and UE4 will surpass Unity here.
Anyways, now that UE4 is free, it's just the icing on the cake for why I love Epic
Crossy Road has made $10 million, now Epic is getting $500,000 from you. That could pay for quite a few developers or rent a new office for awhile. Granted you still have another $9.5 million gross kicking around but Epic's cut can start to get quite large.
its not $9.5m, your publishers need to take their cut. and there are other fees too! D: