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Subscriptions for Plugins? Good/Bad?

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Plugins developers now need to seriously consider offering subscription plans for their plugins. I was wondering how everyone feels about this and what kind of price point makes sense. Any new C4D users after September are going to be subscription based. We have to be realistic about the fact that anyone new is not going to drop 3567 Euros on a  new application when getting started. 

 

So plugin developers are now faced with the issue of how to price their products. Is it still worth full $$$$ for a non-expiring perpetual licence of a plugin when your C4D licence is subscription based. Since as a subscriber you will most likely keep updating C4D every time there is a new build throughout the year. Which may mean you need to update your plugins as well along with it.

 

The benefit of purchasing a perpetual licence for a plugin seems only to be worth it if your software stays locked to a specific version also. Such as when your in the middle of a production and don't want to upgrade anything in case it breaks.

 

So my question to everyone here is would you subscribe for plugins on a monthly basis?

 

Some developers do this already. But for most it is effectively a yearly price and one years support.

 

I think a lot of developers will be asking themselves this question going forward. Since how can you sell to a new user, support their continuous C4D updates and not go broke in the process. Also it can take considerable effort to update the plugins to support each new C4D update.

 

How much is a monthly subscription worth for a plugin? Difficult to decide. Since if it is a plugin that does just one thing, a user would rent it for one month, do their thing and cancel the subscription. So in this case those types of plugins may be higher priced, or on a yearly basis. But if it's a plugin that offers crucial features to your running scene then you need to keep updated all the time, so perhaps paying monthly and keeping up to date is not so bad. But what is that worth? $$$ divided by 12 months? Tricky choices to make.

 

I think in the end most developers will most likely go for the outright larger payment (effectively 1 years worth) and provide support and updates for that year. This is what I currently do. But interested to know everyones thoughts on this.

 

One last point to note is that we may see the end of free updates for C4D plugins going forward, especially C++ based ones. This would be in favour of a small yearly support fee. Every release now takes considerable effort to support and is no longer a trivial new licence key. Python based plugins may not have this issue as often, but not everything can be done in python, especially if you want optimised performance.

 

Be nice to the developers people. They are here to help you and at the same time try to feed their families and pay the mortgage just like everyone else. So if they change their pricing or the way they do things, be nice. I would like to see the plugin development community thrive and grow right here on C4D Cafe. I don't want to see any of the current devs abandon their projects. 

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Since, C4D is dieing I see no way for plugin developers to make money, when everyone is going to another program, other than to tell them to also convert their plugin to work with another program.  I'd suggest Blender which has a huge user base.  I hear the good plugins for Blender make good cash.

 

If you are dead set to stay with C4D as a plugin developer there is a large portion that will keep perpetual or nothing.  Many will die off though.  To get the subscriber market I'd say keep the prices the same.  Most plugins don't cost that much anyway.  Hopefully MAXON won't be making a new license # for them every time they resubscribe.  If they do an automated system of some kind will be needed to let them enter their serial and get a new code for the new serial of C4D.  Even if the plugin is $500 have it be perpetual, with them having to pay for updateted versions of the plugin.  It's what C4D should have done with the subscription as an additional option.  Don't be like MAXON.  Be better.

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  • 2 hours ago, Fastbee said:

    Since, C4D is dieing I see no way for plugin developers to make money, when everyone is going to another program, other than to tell them to also convert their plugin to work with another program

     

    I don't see C4D dying at all. But I do see it changing. Hobbyist users will migrate to blender. But those interested in making a career out of motion graphics and 3D will stick with C4D since that is what Studios are using. And any business that uses C4D now will not be changing at all, if anything they will now have the ability to take on more jobs. Subscriptions will allow them ramp productions up and down much more easily by buying a pile of licences for a few months VS having to shell out for full versions which they won't need later. When these studios do ramp up all those artists that know C4D will be called onto these projects. 

     

    Also there are lots of studios stuck on older versions of C4D. And its hard to justify spending $3500 to upgrade to the latest. So now that subscriptions are here its much easier to tell your boss (as one other poster here said recently that its $2 a day)... "Hey, boss, its only the price of a cup of coffee per day and we get the very latest version."

     

    I don't see any larger plugin developers leaving at all. But smaller hobbyist ones may drop away if they are not able to generate an income that offsets the cost of the software. IE Sell one plugin every month at $60 euros. If that happens then it would be enough for them to stay in the game and keep learning and developing.

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    this is a tricky question, at least in my view... while it does make sense to make plugins sub based if the majority of c4d licenses will be sub soon, in some cases that can get quite expensive, even if a single plugin would be just 5 or 10 $ monthly. i have a bunch of plugins i like to keep around for everyday use, have them at hand in case i need them. there's the bigger ones like XP or redshift (which wouldn't just be 5 or 10 bucks a month), but also smaller ones i like to have available all the time. so the 60€/month c4d sub could easily pile up to 150 €/month including just the most essential plugins. what i would like to see here is basically the same i'd like to see with the c4d sub model: make it rent-to-own. in that case after a while i would only have to pay if i need an update to make it work again with a new c4d release or if i want the new features of that plugin. and if i'm fine with the current capabilities of that plugin and it works with the new c4d release i can just continue to use that version.

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    5 hours ago, kbar said:

    I don't see C4D dying at all. But I do see it changing. Hobbyist users will migrate to blender. But those interested in making a career out of motion graphics and 3D will stick with C4D since that is what Studios are using.

    Huge studios are starting their move to Blender. 

    ubisoft-joins-blender-development-fund

    More studios are due to adopt it when they start to see how good it is.  This means people who want a job in the future should start learning Blender.  As more people learn it for jobs it spreads more.  Eventually all 3D artists are expected to know Blender.  When everyone knows how to use Blender, or even now, they will look at C4D and question what they get over Blender.  With C4Ds slow development in comparison to Blender the answer will be, I get less and less from C4D over Blender.  Many studios will probably give away the tools they develop for Blender making development of Blender even faster.  Eventually C4D dies completely.  This is what I see in C4Ds future.  A little FYI so you can start the change to another program now.  Unless you have some info that C4D is going to hugely ramp up, like 15x faster ramping up, how fast they develop C4D in the next year or two, I'd look to switching.

     

    When Blender gets nodal particles it probably will be great for motion graphics as well.  Nodal particles are close.   They were showing off some of it a while ago.

     

    As I see it Blender hit a tipping point where it's impossible to stop them now.  Eventually it's going to eclipse all 3D content creation programs.  C4D, 3Dmax, Maya, and further in the future even Houdini.  For profit companies just can't compete and they can't buy Blender out to kill it.

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    3 hours ago, everfresh said:

    this is a tricky question, at least in my view... while it does make sense to make plugins sub based if the majority of c4d licenses will be sub soon, in some cases that can get quite expensive, even if a single plugin would be just 5 or 10 $ monthly. i have a bunch of plugins i like to keep around for everyday use, have them at hand in case i need them. there's the bigger ones like XP or redshift (which wouldn't just be 5 or 10 bucks a month), but also smaller ones i like to have available all the time. so the 60€/month c4d sub could easily pile up to 150 €/month including just the most essential plugins. what i would like to see here is basically the same i'd like to see with the c4d sub model: make it rent-to-own. in that case after a while i would only have to pay if i need an update to make it work again with a new c4d release or if i want the new features of that plugin. and if i'm fine with the current capabilities of that plugin and it works with the new c4d release i can just continue to use that version.

    Subscriptions will change the plugin market.  We have already seen it happen with C4DS's plugins who decided that keeping up with the changes to C4D's core is no longer worth it to him.   But it was the constant changes to the core that was the final tipping point for him to move on.  We need to remember that at some point, changes to the core drop off once it is fully implemented.

     

    But relative to subscriptions, I would imagine that the hobbyist on the subscription plan will not be paying $999 for Realflow.  That type of investment warrants a longer term commitment to C4D and is a bit incongruous to the thinking of anyone who chooses the subscription plan.  But then again, most hobbyists probably would NOT be willing to pay $999 for Realflow even under the perpetual license plan...that is a lot of money for a hobbyist.

     

    But, if Realflow offered a per month subscription plan to use Realflow that was actually BILLED monthly for say $40, then some hobbyists might be enticed to try it, especially if that plugin had a demo version to learn on prior to actually paying the subscription fee.  

     

    So there could be a market for subscription plugins that did not exist before.  If MAXON was smart, they would lease out their license servers to plugin developers to actually make this option available to them as the skill/cost of developing a license management program is probably out-of-scope for some of the smaller plugin developers.  Similar to how C4D has an SDK, their license server should have an SDK as well.   If plugin developers used the MAXON license server, everything would be tied together neatly via the MyMaxon portal. 

     

    Speaking generally (and there will always be exceptions), not everyone uses every one of their plugins every day.  So this scheme makes sense in a subscription world.  Just pay for what you need when you need it.

     

    Dave

     

     

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    As a consumer, I really like Insydium's model. You pay perpetual, but have an option for maintance (i.e. get the latest update). For me, this is best of both worlds.

     

    Offer a perpetual price. And if someone wants to update the plug-in to the latest version, then they pay extra to have the latest version. 

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    2 hours ago, 3D-Pangel said:

    ... We have already seen it happen with C4DS's plugins who decided that keeping up with the changes to C4D's core is no longer worth it to him.   But it was the constant changes to the core that was the final tipping point for him to move on. ...

     

     

    As a plugin dev I would rather stay at the side line, watching what the outcome is of this discussion.

    Just want to rectify the words that others put into my mouth, be it due to miscommunication on my part or by misinterpretation of what I intended to say, or whatever reason.

    The reason I had decided to stop plugin development for R21 was because I wasn't going to upgrade to R21 myself. The idea was to remain active for the current customers, remaining with their R20 (or earlier) versions. Possibly writing new plugins or updating existing ones. But only for R20 and earlier.

    That decision was made days after the famous R21 announcement.

     

    Unfortunately, I wasn't aware I was under an automatic renewal contract, and as such was legally obliged to renew my MSA for yet another year.

    However, this still hasn't made me change my mind about my plugin development status. I might in the future decide to embrace R21, but for now I am sticking to my decision made earlier to "not upgrade" to R21. I am putting the quotes as I have renewed my MSA, and am obviously entitled to R21, but that doesn't mean I will be using R21, nor developing plugins for it.

     

    The tipping point for me was the cancellation of the MSA and the fact that perpetual isn't actually perpetual.

    I am using my workstations offline, and as an MSA user (future ex-MSA user), I was entitled to have C4D installed on both Windows and macOS machines, which allowed me to develop on both platforms. With the new "perpetual" scheme this, while still technically possible, will be a hassle for a small developer like myself.

     

    I mentioned it before, I am not looking to make a living from plugin development ... and I definitely wasn't.

    But with the new direction taken by MAXON, cost will simply be higher.

     

    All small annoyances, I agree, but when they all add up ...

     

    Look, as a user I really liked the Allegorithmic model. Free updates were provided between version 1 and 2 of Substance Painter.

    I tried to follow this idea when selling my plugins. After original purchase customers would receive updates free of charge, including new features. With the required update from R19 to R20 I did indeed request some upgrade fee. But apart from that, all new features were free of charge.

     

    But enough sidetracking and being off-topic.

    Let's hear you, as plugin customers, have your say on the topic of plugin subscription.

     

     

     

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    For few bucks cost plugin (maybe to 30-40dollars/euro) it isn´t question. It is question for large cost plugins (maybe 100+ euro and up), if they will stay on the market. For daily-used it´s not as bad as for plugins used only for specific job in the scene/project...

     

    I simply can not imagine now system of licencing of these plugins since arrive R21 licence manager.

    R21 will come with no serials, so this way is closed...

    Some of developers use lock to user´s hardware (mac adress or something), but currently it will be broken with MAXON idea of licence manager and using c4d on any computer as you want...

    Some developers use account emails, this could work...

     

    Hard to imagine MAXON will share with developers licence database to verify users.

    Or?...

     

     

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    I purchased just one plugin for C4d and will not do that again. When I was running R19 I spent almost $500 on a license of x-particles 3.0 was upgraded to 3.5. 

    Went about just fine using the plugin until I upgraded to R20. 

     

    Then I find out that I would need to upgrade to the newer version of x-particles for another $400 or so because the license for 3.5 wouldn’t work with R20. 

     

    It it wasn’t even a year and the plugin I was still learning to use and had for less than a year was suddenly gong to cost almost $1000.

     

    Spending that much money on a plugin that I couldn’t even use in the newest version of cinema without having to basically pay the equivalent of buying it twice in a 1 year span has thought me never to buy another plugin for cinema again.

     

    On the blender side you can buy a very  impressive fluid simulator for $76 ( when it’s not on sale ) and I believe receive free upgrades when they are available. No maintenance or subscription schemes. https://blendermarket.com/products/flipfluids

     

    Or Khaos, a smoke and debris simulator for $35 again with free updates https://blendermarket.com/products/khaos-ultimate-explosion-simulator

     

    I have no problem paying those prices and knowing the plugin will still be viable and usable 9 months after I buy it. 

     

    Fume fx, real flow c4d and x-particles are all great but I’ll never pay almost a grand for something that isn’t going to work if I’m ever inclined to upgrade cinema to a new version.

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    I think there are several things that must be considered and to simplify it down there needs to just be more options rather than few.

     

    Rent to own has two in one, a rental option, or an ability to move to perpetual.  Perpetual still needs a subscription for a cheaper means to upgrade if you chose.

     

    Some plugins are so cheap it would not matter if you just purchased a new licence when a new version comes out, while others are just way to expensive given the large scope of users who may use it.  The more commercialised plugins become the more expensive they are, and are harder to obtain by the hobbyist or starting freelancer.  The other issue is the fact that some features that are supported by plugins should be there in the Core application thus avoiding more pay outs to bolt on features C4D should have.

     

    Rent to Own.  Pay final fee to convert to perpetual, if you chose.

     

    Perpetual with paid for upgrades as and when they are ready. Free compatibility updates within 3 versions, and free bug fixes, why should users pay to fix problems that should not exist anyway?  You dont go and buy anything that has a fault and be expected to pay for their error, why should software or plugins be any different.  I own plenty of software that gets free bug fixes for free, but lets be honest its not actually free, iv paid for it upfront to have a working piece of software.   Games are sold with some bugs, you dont have to pay again to have them be fixed.

     

    Being forced into a subscription from perpetual is poor business ethics, and shifting the responsibility onto customers for compatibility changes due to changes of the core with C4D and 3rd party plugin vendors by means of forcing a plugin upgrade with no grace is also poor.  As of r21 onward I loose Vray because Im expected to either stay on r20 or rent Vray when I was quite happy to stick to my perpetual, I dont even get a choice to upgrade to a newer perpetual version.  That dont only mean I loose Vray I loose all that knowledge and time spent learning it, all the cost of training.  

     

    The whole system has been made far too complicated.  Just give me a serial key, keep your last 3 versions upto date with latest C4D, and produce a worthy upgrade that makes me want to voluntary upgrade because its so good.  If it has bugs dont charge your customers to fix them, the customers didnt pay for software that dont fully work as it should, they pay for features added.

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    I really do not understand the discussion. Adobe and now the MAXON move show clearly, that there are people that prefer perpetual and others that prefer renting. If you stick to one of the two you will loose quite some customers.

    That is basically what the discussion is all about. If MAXON committed itself clearly to offer both for the future they would not have produced this uproar. (poor communication or bad intentions) 

    If you find a not to complicated way to offer both for fair prices (that should be possible) it will lead to better profit for you, and better offers for your customers.

     

    offering more features but force half of your customers into a licensing scheme they hate, or can not afford is not an option I would think.

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