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Subscription Based Software… Yuck.

Subscription Based Software… Yuck.
An Opinion Piece By Tim Murosky

Ok, let me start by saying how much of a fan I am of 3Ds Max. I have done nearly all of my 3D modeling in that program. I find it easy to use, but I also find new ways to use it frequently. Currently I have a student license that is about to run out (hence the reason I am not using it to build game assets currently). I really, really, like working with that program. But once that license is up, I am likely going to switch to a cheaper alternative such as Blender, or Modo. I am an indie game developer, I have massive student loans to pay, I have a mortgage, I have reoccurring monthly bills. I don’t even own a smart phone, because that is just yet another monthly cost. In order to keep my head above water, I must make sacrifices. I have a computer and I can do without the phone… so the phone is out.

Autodesk has recently switched to subscription based software (that includes 3Ds Max). Previously I could have bought a perpetual license. It was somewhere along the lines of $4000+. Yes that does sound expensive. However, once you bought it the software was yours to use, or not use, as you saw fit (or as the workflow dictated in the game development pipeline). Let me put it another way. I have a bass guitar in my closet. It is very nice, cost $1000, but it has been in my closet for about a year or so and I have not touched it. I can pick it up and play whenever I see fit, or not. But, it is mine. I bought it, I own it. There is no monthly subscription fee for my bass guitar, and it won’t simply stop working if I don’t pay some company a monthly fee.

Now 3Ds Max comes with a $185 monthly fee (I don’t spend that much on food). $185 x 12 months = $2220, and next year I will have to pay it again. The same with the following year, and the year after that, and so on. Over 5 years I would have to pay $11,110. I am sorry Autodesk, I love your product, but no. Granted, I can get a 3 year license for 3Ds Max for $3970, but Blender is free, or perhaps Modo for $1800. It is not the same thing as 3Ds Max, but I will just have to get used to it, because I am not going to pay $11,110 for a $4000 product (no, just… no). All I need it for is to build 3D models and export .fbx files so I can put them in my texturing program, then import the textures and .fbx into the game engine. I am the type of guy that bought Marlboro cigarettes until the cost went through the roof, now I roll my own at a significant discount. I also buy a pound and a half of coffee at the store for $10, because I won’t pay $14 a day at a coffee shop for the amount of coffee I drink. I have a $30 pair of shoes that I have been wearing for several years, because I won’t pay $100+ for a shoe with a swoosh on the side.

Autodesk, you have priced me out as a small time developer on a very restricted budget. So I am sorry Autodesk, this is where we will be parting ways. If your product were not priced so high in the first place, it would not be pirated as often. When you decide to either offer a perpetual license again for the $4000, or reduce the monthly subscription fee to something affordable (like $20… which is acceptable for something I will not actually own) then I will be back. I have already replaced Photoshop with Substance Painter for exactly the same reason. Until then, Autodesk, I bid you good day.

Decide for yourself.

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