announced the availability of a free (for non-commercial use!) CryEngine 3 SDK and already the German developer is touting over 100,000 downloads. With everything you need to make a great looking game, Crytek's gamble is that by lowering the barrier to entry, it will increase the number of developers comfortable with its technology.
The worst (best) case scenario is that if a developer strikes it rich using the freely available tools, they need only license the technology for a 20% cut of the revenues. It remains to be seen if this approach will result in seeing more CryEngine 3-powered AAA games on retailer's shelves, but with steady (and ubiquitous) competition from Epic's Unreal Engine and its oh-so-similar free-for-commercial-use UDK, Crytek is at least staying competitive. Now, let's see if we get 100,000 beautiful indie games anytime soon.