Couldn't have said this any better. I totally agree, that Crytek is suddenly turning away from the "free" nature, is totally not understandable for me. And Crytek really can't afford that with it's small community to suddenly turn away from their original direction.Requiring users to pay for Sandbox source is rather counter-productive considering the direction the engine has gone over the past two years. Paying for Sandbox access in the past worked because ALL USERS got an up-to-date useful program out of it which they otherwise wouldn't have had. Making existing users of your free tech pay for additional access levels just doesn't make sense. It doesn't provide any additional quality of life or utility. It just forces them to make a design decision surrounding their game. "Do I pay for Sandbox source code and hope I can do more things with it or do I design my game within the limitations imposed by the existing bounds?" Those that would seriously make use of it are already those most likely to bring you income. Making them pay for access is just milking them for more. Keep in mind that the cream of these very people are those that would likely be recipients of the, for some reason still, nascent Indie Fund where you give them money instead.and that may mean that we make amendments to the business model which we currently use.
Your current business model concerning the engine is pay what you want. PWYW makes Cryengine have a free to develop licensing model and a royalty free distribution method. When I look back to the beginning of EaaS and start connecting the dots of events leading up to the release of CEV, I have a pretty decent idea of what happened. I can understand there's a desire to lead back towards that direction, but breaking Cryengine's free to develop nature is a step backwards across all fronts. It shouldn't even be considered until the official support resources that have been on the horizon, for nearly two years now, are in place.
There are things I want to do with the engine that I'm not sure if it's actually possible or feasible. Barebones fp64 large world for example. It's theoretically such a simple idea; just change one line of code, of which I already have access to, and then rebuild everything. I know there will be side effects, but I can't tell how they would affect my game ideas until I have a sandbox experience within Sandbox. That means I must have Sandbox source code. I live in the richest country in the world, but I am dirt poor right now and am only surviving (literally) by the graces of my family. I know that most people are able to, but I'm not in a position to just toss money away to try various ideas. The sheer uncertainty regarding the amount of time I'd have to spend just to familiarize myself with new code makes this prospect even more undesirable.
From the beginning of CEV, Crytek has said "we hear you" when it came to editor source. Eventually, that turned into an announcement that it would be exposed with 5.3. That release was held back to 5.4 after some licensing issues arose. Now, well after 5.4's slow yet massive iterative release, we're hearing that we may not actually get it as we were told? Please just follow through and publicly expose it for free.
Dishonesty is not good trait for a company. Often times, one dishonest action can cripple a business. Even if the business itself isn't ruined, its relationships with others can easily be irrevocably spoiled. To be frank, Crytek doesn't have the best of reputations right now. It's boggling my mind that such things are being considered.
Just my 2 cents.