With open source, basically the people who use it have full access to it. If there is something they don't like in it (such as DRM or limitations imposed by design), they can disable it.
If there is a feature missing, they develop and add it, or hire someone to develop it.
Open source projects such as blender and krita have been incredibly successful recently.
The blender foundation is doing quite well at the moment - and is able to hire quite a few full time developers even.
But they have worked to get there, creating a foundation and running it. Simply releasing the source code is not enough to make a project succesful or get it to point where it is making lot's of money.
Take Unreal as an example if you will. Unreal 4 is open source, it's free to use and it's huge. The developers made it open source, because that way they allow devs to get in there and help them make it better- contributing code, learning the code so they can fix bugs. But they are still charging for the engine businesses. If you are selling a game that was made with it - Epic takes 5% of your profits. That is their moto
[quote:33q27jvn]Pay a 5% royalty on games and applications you release. We succeed when you succeed.
Being open source does not necessarily mean that the engine dev makes no money. On the contrary, if they know how to play their cards, they make a lot of money and have developers and users maintain it for free for them.
But as said before, you can't just release the source code and expect it to thrive. You need a well documented code that new devs would be thrilled to contribute to. You need some funding to make it popular- by doing actual projects with the engine- that advertise it's capabilities.
Godot devs are also a games company, they have been using their own engine on many games, on many platforms (consoles including)
The blender foundation has been doing open projects every year- to both push the limits of blender and advertise it.
Recently gdevelop dev made a very successful kickstarter game ( http://compilgames.net/#bub-game ) - both to get some funding for his engine, but also to push it to the limits. In order to get a better performance for the game, he had to move his entire core to cocos2d - allowing him to export to native android for that game.
krita devs also have been relying on kickstarter campaigns every year for funding:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kr ... rt-awesome
That way they managed to add animation features and now vector features as well.
The successful open source projects are active projects, being run by a foundation with set goals and healthy communities. There is constantly something made by their community and devs. The devs are the community. If the project dies, that means that there is probably not enough interest in it. Construct never had a problem with that - it has always had a huge amount of interest.
I know it's not likely that it will ever go open source, but I just want to point out that even microsoft is going open source with a lot of things nowadays. They have been doing so, because they see that it is good for their business
One thing that could be considered is releasing a part of it as open source, but putting in optional web services that are not free.
This is what Amazon did exactly. They bought the cry engine, added their web services to it and open sourced it - called it lumberyard.
Their goal is not to sell the engine, but sell their service! The engine being open source and free is the lure. Developers like open source, because it is flexible. They can tailor it to their project better. A company that is really interested in selling web services and has something special to offer to devs gives access to the engine for free and sells the services around that. Isn't that what Unity is doing as well?
Even King has released their engine for free (but not open source):
With them I am not sure what the deal is. I think that they are interested in becoming an indie games publisher, however the indie community has not much trust for them atm because of court cases they had for the "saga" name with an indie guy. King claims that they are making it free with no attachments in order to get more people to test and use it - help them make it better.