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Autodesk to go subscription only on 1 February 2016

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 | Posted by Jim Thacker


Autodesk has confirmed that it intends to phase out perpetual licences of its software next year, and revealed more details of its new pay-as-you-go desktop subscription plans.

Who is affected, and who isn’t?
From 1 February 2016, a desktop subscription will become the only way to obtain new commercial seats of most of the company’s standalone entertainment creation products, with the exception of Flame.

However, anyone who owns an existing perpetual licence will be able to continue to use the software – if not to upgrade it – without taking out a desktop subscription; while users on maintenance subscriptions will also “continue to receive corresponding benefits as long as their subscription remains active”.

Students and colleges are unaffected: they will continue to receive free educational licences.

The company will also continue to offer perpetual licences of its Entertainment Creation Suites, which bundle 3ds Max and/or Maya with Mudbox, MotionBuilder and Softimage, after February 2016.

Do the numbers add up for you?
Autodesk first revealed that it intended to move away from the old ‘buy once, use forever’ model of software licensing in a conference call to investors last October.

As we reported at the time, whether this benefits you financially depends on how often you currently upgrade your software.

At present, a desktop subscription for 3ds Max or Maya costs $185 per month or $1,470 per year, whereas a perpetual licence costs £3,675. In other words, by moving to a desktop subscription, you’ll be paying same price as buying a new perpetual licence of the software every 1.65 to 2.5 years.

(For Maya LT, the breakeven point is slightly longer: a perpetual licence costs $795 – the equivalent of 2.2 to 3.3 years’ desktop subscription payments, at rates of $30 per month or $240 per year.)

However, Autodesk has now gone some way towards addressing the concerns of infrequent upgraders like freelancers and small studios, announcing a new three-year desktop subscription, priced at $4,410 for Maya.

Not purely a matter of cost?
If that doesn’t convince you, Autodesk is pitching other benefits for pay-as-you-go. The official news release notes that desktop subscription “offers a simplified installation, management and upgrade experience”.

In a conference call this afternoon, the firm noted that once the new system beds in, it aims to phase out its existing large, once-or-twice-yearly updates to its software in favour of continuous smaller, incremental updates.

Autodesk also “plans to continually innovate and improve desktop subscription products to more tightly integrate them with Autodesk cloud services and reduce file compatibility issues.”

So far, we haven’t found any more details about what cloud services will be available to users of the entertainment software products. We’ll update if we do.

Read Autodesk’s FAQ document on desktop subscriptions

See a full price list for all of Autodesk’s desktop subscription plans

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11 responses to “Autodesk to go subscription only on 1 February 2016”

  1. bill payer 5000 said:

    Since AD has all but ceased development on Maya, I plan to ‘innovate and improve’ my software away from Autodesk toward software I can actually own instead of software that owns you. Cinema 4D here I come.

    3:21 pm on Wednesday, February 4, 2015

  2. SJ said:

    Basically they’re competing against Open Source/Blender and don’t know what else to to since the development on their flagship products has been dismal in the last decade.

    7:31 am on Thursday, February 5, 2015

  3. Guest said:

    What is happening is that AD can’t keep up with whats happening in the Open Source world. Why pay for software that doesn’t develop fast enough when you can get Blender for free.

    8:05 am on Thursday, February 5, 2015

  4. Luciano Daluz said:

    The Foundry MODO is the answer!

    8:41 am on Thursday, February 5, 2015

  5. cpc464freak said:

    No more Autodesk products for our team, we’ve got enough monthly bills already thank you.

    7:41 am on Friday, February 6, 2015

  6. bill payer 5000 said:

    If AD, with the many millions of dollars they are earning, can’t out innovate a free app… then they need to go.

    3:29 pm on Friday, February 6, 2015

  7. Micheal Gray said:

    if they lowered there prices for indies that earn less than 100k then this would be reasonable. its like photoshop i will never upgrade from cs6 because i cant pay monthly for everything. the guys in charge dont understand when they pay that amount for a new pair of socks lol

    12:07 pm on Thursday, March 5, 2015

  8. milehijak said:

    This is bulls**t.

    2:31 pm on Thursday, March 12, 2015

  9. Mellow_Butch said:

    The guys that are giving in and paying that aren’t large companies won’t realize until it hits the news in a couple of years that artists are suing AutoDesk because they’ve fallen on hard times, can’t pay the monthly, but all of they’re assets are locked up in AD software, it’s a catastrophe waiting to happen.

    10:40 pm on Saturday, April 4, 2015

  10. Mellow_Butch said:

    Actually as long as they’re offering perpetual license of the creation suite and that doesn’t change I can see this as a “decent” option. It better stay that way.

    To say that Maya development is at full stop is absurd…if you want to go open source to best serve your personal values or you’re already there necessarily that’s fine, but stop lying to people. Maya is king of the hill for good reason and all of the new development of Maya’s poly modeling tools, new UV mapping tools, internal sculpting tools and of course the crown jewel that is the Bifrost make Maya very compelling even in a crowded room.

    11:37 pm on Tuesday, April 7, 2015

  11. User said:

    Bye bye Autodesk!

    12:17 pm on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

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