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Corona Renderer team reveals price, release date

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 | Posted by Jim Thacker

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Tricky question: Render Legion partner Adam Hotový’s latest blog post on the problems of software pricing. The developer has just announced perpetual licence and monthly rental prices for Corona Renderer for 3ds Max.

Originally posted on 8 October: Scroll down for updates.

Render Legion has announced commercial pricing and an approximate release date for the much-anticipated Corona Renderer for 3ds Max, pioneering a new payment model it calls ‘Fair SaaS’.

Currently available in free alpha, Corona is a fast, production-capable CPU-based biased/unbiased renderer.

Traditional pricing sucks
In an interesting blog post, Render Legion partner Adam Hotový discusses traditional perpetual software licences (or ‘box licences’) and Software as a Service (SaaS) licences, before concluding: “They both suck.”

Hotový identifies box licences as risky to developers (“one bad update … could be fatal”) and restrictive for end users, since updates are only put out annually, and at significant cost.

And in what sounds like a direct dig at Adobe’s Creative Cloud, Hotový criticises SaaS models for advertisting per-month prices for annual subscription schemes, the charges that can result for cancelling before the end of a subscription plan, and users’ inability to open and export project files once a subscription ends.

The alternative? ‘Fair SaaS’
In contrast, Render Legion’s own ‘Fair Saas’ model promises ‘true’ per-month pricing, no minimum contract terms, and that free versions of the software capable of opening project files will always be available.

Despite its criticisms of perpetual licences, Render Legion is also providing its own box licence on the grounds that “we also understand that some people just don’t want SaaS at any cost”.

However, rental is clearly the firm’s own preferred option: it is providing extra incentives for monthly subscribers.

So how much does it cost, already?
Corona Renderer for 3ds Max will be priced at €449 (around $570) for a box licence, or €24.99 (around $30) per month, with a further launch discount if you sign up in the first 30 days of release.

Both licences get you three free render nodes. The box licence gets you free upgrades for 90 days; the ‘Fair SaaS’ licence for as long as you continue to subscribe, plus access to additional daily builds.

Updated: Render Legion has changed the details of its box licence in response to user feedback. It now gives you all the 1.x upgrades for free. An extra €99/year subscription gives you daily builds.

There are also separate educational and farm licences, the latter aimed at commercial render farms.

Shipping next month, other versions remain free
The software will ship some time in November, although the exact date is “a surprise”. So far, Render Legion hasn’t revealed whether licences are floating or node-locked, or how much extra render nodes will cost.

Updated: Box licences are node-locked; SaaS licences are floating. New options for the SaaS licence give you up to 10 bundled render nodes, but you can’t buy render nodes individually.

The separate standalone and Cinema 4D editions of the renderer, and the still-unreleased Maya version, will remain free until next year “until they are stable and feature-complete enough for commercial release”.

Read Adam Hotový’s full post on the Corona Renderer blog

Visit the Corona Renderer website

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