Thursday, August 9th, 2012 Posted by Jim Thacker

Complaints force Autodesk to alter 3ds Max subs offer

Autodesk has been forced to modify a 3ds Max subscription incentive after a string of complaints that a key part of the update was only available to users of the company’s Entertainment Creation Suites.

New particle tools for suite subscribers
The developer announced the new Extension for 3ds Max 2013, which augments 3ds Max’s native particle system, at the start of Siggraph 2012.

The Extension includes three key features, two of which – the MassFX mParticles module and Advanced Data Manipulation toolset – are only available to users of the suites.

Only the third, the Cache Disk and Cache Selective operators, is available to users on regular subscriptions.

A string of complaints
The announcement prompted a string of complaints from users who felt that Autodesk had effectively introduced a ‘two-tier’ subscription policy: one tier for suite users, and one for ‘regular’ 3ds Max users.

One fairly typical comment on CG Talk read: “I’ve tried to look at this decision objectively but I can’t. There’s absolutely no way I can see this as anything other than a huge ‘F**k you’ to the majority of 3ds Max’s user base.”

Max-only subscribers now get Orbaz add-on
Autodesk moved quickly to modify the offer. Within 12 hours, the company’s Ken Pimentel had posted back to say that 3ds Max subscription customers would also receive Orbaz Technologies’ Particle Flow Tools Box2.

Orbaz has just signed a licensing and co-development deal with Autodesk over its Box2 and Box3 particle add-ons. According to Pimentel’s forum post:

“Autodesk has heard the concerns of customers and has decided that current subscription users of 3ds Max and 3ds Max Design (along with users of suites that contain those products) will receive the Box2 extension (in addition to what they can already download) no later than October 2012. We will release more information about the change in the coming weeks.”

“We will continue to make available the combination of Box2 and Box3 ONLY to ECS subscription customers. If you want Box3 from Autodesk, then you’ll need to be an ECS subscription customer to get it.”

Complaints slowing, for now
The announcement seems to have stemmed most of the complaints: at time of posting, the threads on CG Talk and similar forums were still growing, but very slowly.

However, as some users have noted, even the modified offer preserves the incentive to upgrade to the Entertainment Creation Suites from 3ds Max alone.

The suites, which also include MotionBuilder, Mudbox and Sketchbook Designer, and which may also include Softimage and Maya, cost between $2,000 and $4,500 more than 3ds Max alone.

In the CG Talk thread, Ken Pimentel comments that renewal rates for Autodesk subscriptions are rising. However, with the company currently in the process of raising its subscription prices, this seems an issue that is likely to recur in future.

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