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An open letter to MAXON CEO McGavran

Do you feel Maxon is taking an Adobe route?  

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  1. 1. Do you feel Maxon is taking an Adobe route?

    • Yes
      59
    • No
      11


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Cool to see the ceo on here answering questions but I hope MAXON will lower the upgrade price for perpetual in the future. For me it's my favorite 3D package.

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2 hours ago, Frokito said:

Cool to see the ceo on here answering questions but I hope MAXON will lower the upgrade price for perpetual in the future. For me it's my favorite 3D package.

They won’t because they want all users to move to subscriptions. I did not want to believe it first. It took me a few weeks to get the signal and what their CEO just announced on this forum  nailed in the coffin: they crank up the upgrade price by 50% (if you are an MSA subscriber) and take out cineversity (and might bring it back). To put you off even more, you won’t be able to purchase upgrades online and will have to ask  local distributors. And for that price, redshift remains optional. 

So yeah, they commit to keeping perpetual licenses (but for how long...?) but they made sure to make the offer look as bad as they could. 

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I mean props to David for coming on here to face the music.

But MAXON must know that from a permanent licence holder's point of view - we don't care what you choose to call the product 'MSA' or 'Upgrade'  - if future upgrades are going to cost the current non-MSA price then we've just been smacked with a 30-40% price increase alongside a very slim release.

 

This year was the normal price via MSA. But R22 will need to be 'bloody spectacular' to persude me to part with the best part of £1000.

 

The company I work for (with about 10 seats of Cinema) are seriously evaluating Blender - mostly not because of the change in license structure but because Cinema is visibly creaking round the edges (dies at moderate object count). To be honest, if Blender cost the same as Cinema, we would still be evaluating it, just on it's own merits. But the fact that at least the license costs are zero is just extra incentive.

 

MAXON need to be seriously careful - they couldn't have chosen a worse moment for aggresively de-valuing their offer to their core customers.

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With MSA's gone now I think we can only compare next year's upgrade price against the cost of this yearly subscription, not against what MSA was last year.

In order for MAXON to make the subscription a viable option the perpetual needs to be at a higher price. Otherwise people would continue buying the perpetual and make their money back after X amount of years compared to sub.

For the perpetual upgrade to be lowered it would require a lowering of the subscription also. It can't be just one price to be lowered.

If MAXON only lowered the subscription price and didn't lower the perpetual it would be even more infuriating to the perpetual users, wouldn't it? 

I don't see a lowering of either subscriptions or perpetual upgrade prices happening (would love if they did), but possibly they'll offer future indie subscription to try and entice more perpetual users.

The more perpetual users that don't upgrade next year will only speed up the end of perpetual licenses and won't force a price reduction. 

I'm glad the perpetual still exists, but it comes at a steep cost. It's my understanding it will exist for the foreseeable future. The price is too high because the subscription it too high.

Well that's my take on it.

 

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7 hours ago, hobbyist said:

With MSA's gone now I think we can only compare next year's upgrade price against the cost of this yearly subscription, not against what MSA was last year.

In order for MAXON to make the subscription a viable option the perpetual needs to be at a higher price. Otherwise people would continue buying the perpetual and make their money back after X amount of years compared to sub.

For the perpetual upgrade to be lowered it would require a lowering of the subscription also. It can't be just one price to be lowered.

If MAXON only lowered the subscription price and didn't lower the perpetual it would be even more infuriating to the perpetual users, wouldn't it? 

I don't see a lowering of either subscriptions or perpetual upgrade prices happening (would love if they did), but possibly they'll offer future indie subscription to try and entice more perpetual users.

The more perpetual users that don't upgrade next year will only speed up the end of perpetual licenses and won't force a price reduction. 

I'm glad the perpetual still exists, but it comes at a steep cost. It's my understanding it will exist for the foreseeable future. The price is too high because the subscription it too high.

Well that's my take on it.

 

perpetual and subscription are two licenses for one and the same product. Of course there are differences: 
Perpetual costs a lot of money in the front, but you can use the software without paying subscription. MAXON calculates this with 5 years. You also have the freedom to update or omit a version.

Subscription doesn't cost a hurdle to get started. so you don't have to pay 3500€ in front. you can also rent an additional license for one month for about 100 euro. You get updates faster than perpetual customers.
Disadvantage: if you want to have access to your work after finishing your career, you either have to rent again or buy a perpetual license.

The software is the same. Only the dependencies are different.

 

Because of this differences there will be customers with different needs for both license types as long as the offer is fair.

 

MAXON is of course aware that customers who rent are less free and the difference between prices is the defined cost of this freedom.
But the perpetual customer has already paid for this freedom with the 3600€ in advance even though MAXON does not value that.

 

So basically there is no reason to make perpetual more expensive than subscription unless you want your customers to give up their already paid perpetual license and switch to subscription to take your freedom away from you.

And unfortunately this is exactly what happens.

MAXON expects his MSA customers to pay roughly 50%+ more for the same product update and freedom they had before.
That's a pretty sharp price increase considering that the general trend in product and software development is the other way around. By the way, the hourly rate of customers is following a different trend.

It was MAXON's decision to cancel the MSA and as an alternative they offer us our freedom to exchange for 20% discount for 2 years or a sharp 50%+ price increase.

 

best regards

Jops

 

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1 hour ago, Jops said:

But the perpetual customer has already paid for this freedom with the 3600€ in advance even though MAXON does not value that.

 

Thanks @Jops. Yes this is at the heart of it. Subscription is the main show on the road now, literally.

If MAXON saw value in the perpetual then it would be priced fairly from day one. 

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8 hours ago, hobbyist said:

 

Thanks @Jops. Yes this is at the heart of it. Subscription is the main show on the road now, literally.

If MAXON saw value in the perpetual then it would be priced fairly from day one. 

So far, someone from MAXON will gladly chime in to explain some aspect of the subscription plan.  They will also chime in to defend the position that Prime MSA holders can get a Studio R21 license via their last MSA purchase for about 1/3 of what Studio users have to pay ($250 vs. $720).  Their defense though again gravitates towards subscriptions: "that is why Studio users can get two years of subscriptions for a 20% discount".  But what took literally a ton of emails to sort out was that if you should ever take that offer in the future, they will deactivate your perpetual licenses - in essence locking you into subscriptions.  They were very shady in divulging that information and it took some robust dialogue and painfully direct questions to get them to finally answer it.

 

Now, where MAXON is COMPLETELY silent is defending why we should accept a 50% increase in renewing their annual perpetual license over what they paid for via the MSA program.  Not one word of explanation or spin as to how this is in our best interests.  Maybe they can say "well we canceled the MSA program" and that is the price of an upgrade without the MSA program.  So we really didn't raise prices, we just cancelled  a program.  

 

But then defend this:  WHY DID YOU CANCEL THE MSA PROGRAM? 

 

Well, there is no defense.  The MSA program was cancelled because they want people dependent on paying annual subscriptions for the simple reason that a companies "appearance" of value increases with a re-occurring revenue stream.   It is a great selling point during quarterly earnings reports to say that subscription revenue growth is increasing  and makes up a large portion of their total revenue.  So in Nemetsheck's and MAXON's eyes, their thinking is "hey, we will make the annual cost of a subscription the same as the old MSA price so users will eagerly switch over of a subscription model.  While it won't increase revenue (this year), changing the source of that revenue to re-occurring revenue is a great message to our shareholders."

 

So again, the benefit is all MAXON and there is no way anyone from MAXON can defend this position on a community forum in any way that users will accept.  Shareholders love it, but we don't because it provides us no value -- so why defend it.   They tried to put lipstick on this pig by selling it as "3D for the whole world".  No.  It is "higher stock price for Nemetschek" and don't ever forget that.

 

Again, the only thing they will listen to is a drop in revenue beyond what they forecasted.   Right now, we are all exercising our last MSA purchases.  The true test will come with what we do with R22.  Do we convert to subscription?  Do we pay the higher perpetual costs?  Do we go somewhere else?  That is why R22 will be a critical for both MAXON and for us as well.

 

And don't think for a second that subscription prices will remain the same over time.  Trust me, once they have coerced a large portion of their user base to subscriptions, those prices will rise.  Maybe not in huge jumps, but they will steadily go up.  And now you are really stuck.  There are no alternatives but to pay at that point.  

 

While I love the fact that we have this great participation from Mr. McGarvan in this discussion, our complaints will make no difference and will generate no discussion from MAXON.

 

Sitting on our wallets is the only voice we have.

 

Dave

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Dave. I hear you and I totally agree. What gets me is we have a pretty light R21 release that people had been expecting the long overdue UV tool enhancement and faster object handling but no, a few enhancements, no doubt useful, but then at the same time users are essentially told they are going to have to pay more in the future. If anything what people are paying MAXON should be coming down. Now with Blender 2.8 nipping at their heels the last thing I would be doing is pissing off my customers by dicking around with what they pay. I think if I hadn't jumped ship 4 years I certainly would be now.

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On 9/14/2019 at 7:56 PM, 3D-Pangel said:

And don't think for a second that subscription prices will remain the same over time.  Trust me, once they have coerced a large portion of their user base to subscriptions, those prices will rise.  Maybe not in huge jumps, but they will steadily go up.  And now you are really stuck.  There are no alternatives but to pay at that point.  

 

Completely agree to all you said. The subscription prices will go up if MAXON is successful with the new model. If not, they will start to offer limited time subscription sales.

 

The whole online and subscription disappointment started with VrayForC4D for me. Don't care about the new versions as they require a constant online connection. I got Redshift and was very excited when MAXON bought it (seamless integration, nodal shading). While I'm still glad I have a perpetual RS license, I'm not overly optimistic towards its future due to the direction MAXON is going. It seems the R21 Node spaces are not even ready for Redshift so I wonder if that will require a subscription-only update.

 

I was an e-on Vue xStream + maintenance customer until they went the 'subscription only' route end of 2018. Similar to Cinema, I used to renew my yearly maintenance in order to get the newest perpetual version and I was specifically waiting for the promised new Vue version with Cinema R20 support to arrive.

 

What I got instead is a limited Enterprise rental license for the newer versions, which I don't care about. The new version offered a new UI, a broken OpenVDB and Substance integration and the new licensing model. R20 in Vue support (and fixes for the broken new features) came a bit later, when my rental license already expired. Waste of money for me.

 

Since they went subscription only, every few weeks they offer a massively reduced yearly subscription sale. Seems not to be such a successful model after all. I wouldn't be surprised if MAXON will do the same after some time.

 

Now Cinema R21, biggest disappointment in features, the new licensing and the loss of MSA and Cineversity. Due to the fact that almost no 3rd party plugin works in R21, I would have to pay a maintenance for 3D Quakers for Forester to work in R21 (!) and all this online nuisance, I couldn't care less about R21, future Cinema releases or other MAXON software. Waste of money again.

 

Siggraph used to be a very exciting event for me in the recent years but unfortunately this is no longer the case thanks to MAXON.

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Not having a huge feature ready at release.. the node API is dissapointing, but I just want them to get it right. I can tell you if compete node spaces API and Redshift compatibility doesn't come as a free update to R21, It would probably immediately make me never use Cinema 4-D again.  That's the main feature I upgraded my MSA for.  I have faith that MAXON would never do that.  

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1 hour ago, stoecklem said:

I can tell you if compete node spaces API and Redshift compatibility doesn't come as a free update to R21, It would probably immediately make me never use Cinema 4-D again.  That's the main feature I upgraded my MSA for.  I have faith that MAXON would never do that.  

I honestly doubt it. New features cannot be added during a cycle according to MAXON. You need to wait for the next release, most likely in 1 year. All you will get until then are minor fixes. 

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Yeah, but this isn't a new feature.  This is a feature that was promised and wasn't delivered.  All I know is the confusing information in the Redshift Forums.  It would be an atrocity to not have promised feature of R21 . 

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