I’m making a list of programs I’ll pay for on a monthly basis. Programs downloaded from or accessed via the web, used only when I need them. Just like boxes of cereal, which I also have a list of.
Adobe products are first on my list. Well, actually last at the moment, right below services like Flickr, Dropbox and Backblaze. Adobe’s offer is different though. While the Creative suite software (Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, etc.) is now available in pay-as-you-go flavor, the software is still downloaded and runs on your computer. How are they forming the future of subscription-paid, web-delivered software usage? Even more, how will 3D software and data management services fall in place?
Design by the month
You’ll notice, in the chart below, the full price of the software, the monthly and the yearly price. Nevermind that you could afford a full version (and then subsequent cheaper updates) if you save the monthly subscription for a year or even get cashback/flight miles by using the right credit card for the purchase. Nevermind that. This is set up as a convenience for those who need it a month (or a year) at a time.
I’ve long been a fan of Adobe’s price model (under $1,000 price point on many products, cheaper upgrade, free updates) and the new subscription prices seem fairly attractive as well… for as needed use. There’s just no way, knowing I can buy, write-off and often times get bundled deals, that I’d use a subscription based service… unless, yes, unless it was a program (like Premiere) which I hardly use and if it was a program I didn’t have to maintain on my own computer. So, how will this translate to the often, more expensive, 3D software market?
Will Product Development Software Follow?
Actually, the product development market jumped into this long before Adobe even had. Autodesk launched their Flexible licensing back in 2008. Ascon, makers of KOMPAS-3D, followed suit in 2009 with 3-month rental periods at 75 Euro/month.
Autodesk just launched their Design Suite this past March which already knocks the per product price down substantially. However, most of the MCAD vendors only have one main product with various add-ons or modules. This is a good place to interject that pricing models for full-blown products and for software using modules and add-ons (or apps) is beginning to compete more and more. It’s here that the add-in/app functionality would be dependent on the subscription status of the user.
If you generalize and say that most of the mid-range 3D MCAD modelers run $5,000, following a model like Adobe has set up would put your cost at roughly $350/month or $3000 for the year. Of course, programs like SpaceClaim, Alibre Design, Rhino and modo have a much lower, more attractive price point, especially on a pay-as-you-go basis. It’s an interesting thought and one that we’ll see developing over the next few years, along with the inclusion of the software being delivered directly over the web, flipping it on when you need it, flipping it off when you don’t. Ready for that?