Autodesk, one of the world’s largest suppliers of 3D software, announced they’re completely phasing out standard software licenses and moving everything to the cloud.
This started out as an experiment to see if customers would switch their purchasing habits from one-time lump sum payments for perpetually licensed software, to monthly subscription-based plans. Evidently, this has worked out for Autodesk and they’re going full force on it.
They’ve already ceased selling individual desktop software products as of January 31st of this year, but now as of July 31st, ALL remaining design and creation suite products will be available as subscription services only.
In January, these relevant Autodesk 3D products became subscription only: 3ds Max, AutoCAD, Inventor, Maya, Mudbox and Revit. As of July, the remainder of their product list, which is primarily more specialized 3D design products for industry, moves to subscription.
It’s a good thing for Autodesk, as subscriptions are a far more reliable, smoother and larger source of income. There’s also less effort required to convince customers to “buy the new version”, because they are already sold if they continue subscribing and Autodesk needs only issue an online update to the software. It also partly solves the problem of piracy, which is a big deal for companies selling high-priced software such as Autodesk.
For customers, it’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because online versions ensure you always have the latest version of the software, and that everything you create will be compatible with others – there’s no longer confusion in version numbers unless you try to do so.
But it’s bad in that you may be spending more on the software than previously. Some would take the approach of buying an upgrade to perpetual software only occasionally, not on every new release. That approach is no longer available with the introduction of subscription software and thus you’d pay more. On the other hand, some folks like to keep their software up to date and would buy every new version as it is released. For them, the subscription pricing might actually be lower in some cases.
But the bottom line here is that if you use Autodesk software, you really have no choice at this point: you will be a subscriber.