Dassault Systèmes announced a new low-cost SOLIDWORKS offer for makers.
The new offer is straightforward. For US$99 per year, an individual maker could obtain:
- 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Professional (downloadable)
- 3D Creator and 3D Sculptor (web-based)
- Access to the 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace for additional paid services
- Connection with other makers through the 3DEXPERIENCE Makers community
- Support through the Makers community
Sounds good so far, but there are some catches.
First, the offer is available only for “personal projects and non-commercial use”. This means that if you were to sell products in excess of US$2,000 per year, you’d be ineligible for this offer and instead have to resort to Dassault Systèmes’ startup program or their normal pricing.
It appears they will allow for monthly pricing later this year, which will likely be in the US$10 per month range.
You must be a resident of the following countries to participate:
- The Netherlands
- United Kingdom
- United States
If you live elsewhere (or have a billing address elsewhere), you’re out of luck for now. Dassault Systèmes said they intend on adding more countries in the future. This may seem a bit bizarre why they could not offer it everywhere simultaneously, but it likely has something to do with resellers, who are licensed by region. Selling a new low-priced product such as this could affect their sales, and thus there is a need for consultation at the least.
One issue of importance for some users will be the watermarking. Any files created using the “Maker account” can only be opened up by another participant on the Maker platform. This means you cannot open up design files using their commercial or educational versions of SOLIDWORKS. However, there’s a workaround in that you could export the design in a standard exchange file format and then import it in another tool.
This is an interesting offer, and certainly will appeal to some in the maker community.
It’s a bit of a puzzle as to why Dassault Systèmes would offer this, as the company has typically targeted the much richer commercial market up to now. While rich in function, the SOLIDWORKS environment is far beyond the budget of many, even in commercial environments.
It may be that Dassault Systèmes is feeling some pressure from the community, as well as competition from low-priced offers from others, including Autodesk. Dassault Systèmes has faced these pressures for many years, but only now has decided to provide a product for this market.
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the CAD manufacturers react.
Via SOLIDWORKS (Hat tip to Benjamin)