Autodesk is making very significant changes to their Fusion 360 product offerings.
Fusion 360 is Autodesk’s flagship 3D design tool that is offered in a cloud-based subscription service. The system provides not only CAD, but also CAM, simulations and even generative components. It’s proven quite popular in certain circles.
As of October 7th, they will no longer offer anything other than a single product configuration.
Currently the company markets several configurations of Autodesk Fusion 360:
- A free tier for students and startups
- A paid Standard Edition
- A paid Ultimate Edition, which includes advanced simulation, advanced manufacturing (5-axis support) and generative design.
The new plan from Autodesk collapses the paid options into only one, which will include ALL of the features. This should simplify the selection puzzle considerably. There are no changes planned to the technical functionality of the products; this is only a pricing and packaging change.
What’s of more interest is the change to existing customers. Autodesk explains what happens to each current subscriber:
- Ultimate subscribers get a two-year extension at no cost! This is to compensate them for their higher fees to date, presumably.
- Standard subscribers stay at their current payment level, US$310, until the subscription is not renewed.
- New subscribers pay a price between current Standard and Ultimate pricing: US$495 per year.
- Student, Educational, Startup and Hobby users continue without change to receive service at no charge. These will include the additional simulation and CAM services, but NOT the generative design feature, which is reserved for paid plans only.
- All non-Ultimate subscribers will gain access to all the additional features on or before October 7th. It’s also possible to quickly subscribe to additional seats at the now-discounted price of US$310 per year and get the permanent lower price level.
I’m wondering why Autodesk has taken this step. Here are some ideas:
They may wish to simplify their product line by having only a single offering for Autodesk Fusion 360, but it is far more likely they wish to increase their subscription revenue as there may be more Standard users than Ultimate users. However, Standard users are not being asked to pay any additional fees due to the discount, so it should be a no-brainer for them.
They may see limited attraction to the advanced features, and thus have seen lower sales of Ultimate than planned. Perhaps most people simply chose Standard instead of Ultimate, and their budget hoped for something quite different. This pricing change would reset their financial equation.
Regardless of the reasons behind the move, Autodesk Fusion 360 is a fabulous product and continues to be so.