Jump to content

Vectorworks abandoning perpetual licences


Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, Will Glenn said:

Nicole,

 

@ndavison Thank you for your response! One question - When you say that subscription offers a lower up-front cost while allowing us to purchase when ready, does that mean that there is going to be an option to purchase the software outright (e.g. perpetually)?

 

To be clear - I've been using VW through employers for years and have been looking at purchasing the software outright for use on my own projects. I was planning on purchasing a perpetual license sometime around February because, even though the subscription is less than a perpetual license, it is still prohibitively high for me in these trying times. When I read that you were ending sales of new perpetual licenses, I realized that I would have to stop using VW because:

  • There's no way I can raise approximately $4,000 by the end of the year, and
  • Approximately $2,000 per year, while still significantly less than the full cost of a perpetual license, is still more than I (and many like me) can justify on a yearly basis.

I could justify the higher cost of a perpetual license because then I could continue to use the software for many years. If I pay around $4,000 for a perpetual license and then manage to use VW2023 for four years, my yearly costs are around a grand. Less if I use it longer. If I subscribe, my yearly costs start at around $2,000 - a figure that is likely to go up as the years go by and the cost of subscriptions inevitably rises.

 

I appreciate that I might be missing out on upgrades and the additional features/bug fixes/support that I would have access to with a subscription but at least I could still use your product. As a freelance theatrical lighting designer, I don't work within large margins. Every company I've ever worked for has been a non-profit. Budgets are tight, and I've always been proud of being able to provide level of service often unavailable to small non-profit theatre companies.

 

If I can purchase the software outright, or if there is a tier of subscription that makes sense for practitioners operating in the context of smaller regional theatres, freelance lighting designers, and sole proprietorship designers, then sign me up for life! I love your products; I've spent years learning the toolsets; I've got a lot invested in Vectorworks. Large, for-profit architectural firms and multinational companies charging huge rates for their services can afford to pay a premium for software and it's appropriate for them to - they will, in turn, parlay those expenses into soaring profit margins, even in times of inflation and hardship. Small business serving the non-profit sector and community engagement organizations can't (and shouldn't) pay the same rates as those big players can.

 

If you need to exclude certain features or provide hard limits on how the software is used in order for tired pricing to make sense, that's fine. Lots of other companies do that exact thing. I've often made the decision to go for a lower tier pricing model at the expense of certain bells and whistles with other tools I use in my day to day business. Far from feeling that I'm suffering from a lack of quality, I'm grateful it's an option.

 

The alternative is not to be able to use the tools at all.

 

I'm sorry this was a long read - if you make it through and respond, you're a rare hero. I've loved VW for years and hopefully will continue to be able to do so. Many thanks.


Will

 

EDIT: Btw I applaud you for responding to posts in these forums - so many other firms don't respond to users' concerns and requests and even if, in the end, you don't have any options for small-time folks like me, at least you have the integrity to say it to us directly. That means a lot.

I made a similar transition to you about ten years ago - having used vectorworks under my employers' licence for many years I then became self employed and had to pay for it myself.

 

My route was to buy a second hand license that was a few years out of date - that's how i kept my entry costs low. It was all I needed for the first couple of years when I was just doing a scattering of basic architectural jobs alongside other work. And since then I've continued to use VW, gradually using it more full time, paying to upgrade, not necessarily every year but when it worked for me.

 

That route I think is now shut out.

 

What's also ignored in the "up front costs" discussion is that (under the old model) even if you paid full whack for the latest version, with a perpetual licence you knew you always had the option of selling it on. So some of that cash you put down, you knew you could reclaim if you needed to, in exchange for giving up your right to use the software.

 

That's very different from the subscription model - the money you pay is gone for ever. It's not an investment, you don't actually own anything at all. Just renting.

  • Like 3
Link to comment

Meanwhile in one of the other CAD packages world:

 

https://www.the-nordic-letter.com/#

 

There is much to learn there.

 

As to the VW subscription model, the reported annual cost will be way, waaayyy too high. I'm afraid it will kill any chance of VW becoming mainstream in countries where it is not (which is most countries I guess).

 

Software can also be leased or bought via 3rd party financing. Therefore the annual cost of eg. Archicad license paid in installments + subscription could be equal or less than annual VW subscription license, if I'm not totally wrong with the prices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
On 9/21/2022 at 3:07 PM, mjm said:

suddenly stopped glowing…was it something I did? Backtrack, fiddle, fix, all to no joy,  no warning.

I had a similar problem with the section tool...things were not working, spent an 1.5hrs, made a video, sent to tech support...then walked away...started to move things over to Onshape as it was such a catastrophic error.

 

But I restarted my whole computer & it fixed it.

 

Was done with 4 key sections by 4pm...

  • Laugh 1
Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/2/2022 at 1:40 PM, Christiaan said:

A subscription model removes this incentive. Upgrades and changes can be pushed out whenever they're ready to go without having to justify it to the marketing department.

In theory you are right, but last time I suggested something similar the reply was basically can't do because it might endanger stability, introduce new bugs etc. so (major) new features would have to wait until the yearly release.
Apparently this no longer applies? Even though other CAD companies can do this without completely destroying their software.

 

On 8/2/2022 at 1:40 PM, Christiaan said:

Next step in my mind is to make Vectorworks work in a web browser. Then we can also get rid of the antiquated model of having to manage software too. e.g. Onshape.

Easier said than done, it will take years before that will be done assuming VW/Nemetschek will even succeed with that endeavor. Autodesk has been trying it for AutoCAD fo over a decade and is still nowhere near a viable cloud version of its AutoCAD offerings. Fusion360 is the only really working cloud CAD they have and that is derived from Inventor which is MCAD.

 

Dassault tried to cloudify Solidworks and failed. Several others also tried and to date haven't been able to come up with something subtstantial that could replace their desktop version. Siemens of NX and Solidedge doesn't even have any intention to bring their desktop CAD to the cloud and only uses it for collaborative things of for e.g. rendering servers.

 

Onshape might look like a good example but it is hardly as successful as anticipated.

When PTC (of PTC Creo) aqcuired Onshape it had tens of thousands if not 100,000+ users but only 5,000 paying customers. This all despite investments of hundreds of millions of US dollars. I don't know how well it is doing today but I'm sure it is not even anywhere near Creo's userbase.

 

One of the reasons PTC bought Onshape was because they wanted to go cloud based with Creo as well, however the file formats etc. are very incompatible and analysts seem to think that with the much larger Creo user base that when push comes to shove the underlying technology will be implemented into Creo and then Onshape may be discontinued. Their 2D drafting in the cloud is from Graebert's Kudo. Graebert is now also getting into MCAD and Dassault's DraftSight is based on their Ares Commander used in conjunction with Solidworks. (Onshape was founded by the same people who developed Solidworks btw) so that Kudo based part might get lost for Onshape should the competition really get going.

 

It sounds nice to have it cloud based, but given how tedious the experience has been for Autodesk, Dassault and others and the very very modest succes of Onshape I doubt that a cloudbased Vectorworks would be anywhere near or even successful. They'd probably have more succes going the CATIA way, i.e. Database based instead of file based, that way it would even be a strong vendor lock-in given how hard it is to move from CATIA to something else.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
On 8/2/2022 at 4:56 PM, _James said:

Thought it would be interesting to check out their changelog:

 

July 22 - 1 update

June 22 - 2 updates 

May 22 - 1 update

April 22 - 2 updates

March 22 - 1 update

February 22 - 1 update

January 22 - 2 updates

 

2021 had 17 updates in the year.All a mix of new features, improvements, bug fixes etc. I looked at some of the forum posts showing these updates and they have pretty positive comments from users.

 

If Vectorworks start doing something like this (and the updates are actually good!) I will be impressed.

That is a very big if. Microsoft has been doing this kind of update/upgrade to their OS for years and more often than anyone likes they manage to make a big mess of it at times. Consider that they are way bigger and have way more resources than Vectorworks then my hopes for that to happen are modest. Though it would be great if it would materialize and longstanding bugs etc. would also get fixed.

Link to comment
On 8/2/2022 at 9:45 PM, line-weight said:

 

I'm not sure comparisons with Onshape are valid.

 

Doesn't Onshape have a much much bigger userbase and much more resource behind it?

 

And it doesn't have to deal with the quite specific trickiness involved with building design and documentation - which is really quite a different process from product design.

 

I don't think you can conclude that because things work nicely with Onshape's subscription model, these benefits would also be seen in VW simply from a switch in payment model.

When PTC acquired Onshape it hade only 5,000 (approximately) paying customers, so nowhere near VW's userbase.

They could have much more resources behind them than VW has on its own as Onshape is part of PTC (of PTC Creo), but then if Nemetschek would put its weight behind VW then it  could have much more resources also.

 

Onshape is focused mechanical stuff, not like VW which can be used for other purposes as well though it is not as good for mechanical as a dedicated MCAD program. So in some ways things are simpler/easier for Onshape than for VW.

Link to comment
On 8/3/2022 at 12:34 PM, Christiaan said:

Of course one of the big advantages Onshape has over Vectorworks is that it's cloud-based. The subscription model works very well with this, but the main reason updates are so smooth is because users don't have to manage the updates, there are far less variables to worry about because the hardware is in the cloud and everybody is on the same version.

That is the one advantage it has over desktop software, it is basically a modernized server-client system over the internet.

 

For me I'm still not convinced that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, especially if one does not have always on internet access when trying to work on documents/drawings etc. Plus... you are at the mercy of the software company, if they decide to remove functionality you need you can't revert to on older version that still has that functionality.

Link to comment
On 9/14/2022 at 9:11 PM, zoomer said:

Yes, and the simple solution is to just increase the amount of your yearly VSS fee

so that it will be cheaper to go Subscription only ......

That was what I forgot when I was told VSS members can go on without any changes.

This is exactly what Autodesk has been doing to its customers clinging to their perpetual licenses with maintenance. And when that didn't prove too succesfull they also stopped activations of installs on new computers after deactivating on the old computer.

Adobe did the same deactivation/activation trick.

 

On 9/14/2022 at 9:11 PM, zoomer said:

So to not risk too much, I should basically sell my VW US License privately

and try to re-buy a new VW US license from Novedge in US or so and add

a new VSS contract via an US seller !?

(likely not even applicable for me from Europe)

Novedge will not sell US-market software to outside the US, at least that no longer worked for Bluebeam (I had originally purchased it through them). The same probably applies to Vectorworks.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
On 8/3/2022 at 4:26 PM, Wesley Burrows said:

 

I mean,  compared to any other commercial software,  I feel like I've been running a beta version since 2016.    Vectorworks,  by a landslide,  is the least stable, greater than $200 software I've ever used.    I love Vectorworks,  when it vector-"works".    I tried to get in on the actual beta process sometime ago,  but that sure is an elusive process.    I genuinely hope this is a positive move for stability and update frequency.

 

 

It may depend on usage scenario, but in general VW has been reasonably stable for me, other than extreme slowness during two major releases. I have other software that has been more stable and then someother that have been less stable than Vectorworks. That being said... there surely are still quite a few things that need improvement, whether it is bug fixing or quality/usability improvement of existing tools.

Link to comment
On 8/8/2022 at 5:59 PM, Anders Blomberg said:

but my hope would be that if we pay more for the software, we get better software

Ask that at the AutoCAD forums, or those who sent that public Revit complaints letter to Autodesk 😁

  • Like 2
Link to comment
On 8/9/2022 at 6:30 PM, Tom W. said:

Which makes me wonder how long the twin-track arrangement will remain in place...

If Adobe is an example, just a few months <g>. They said at some point that you had to upgrade to the then latest version of their CS software to be able to continue upgrading to the next perpetual version. Just two months or so after the deadline for upgrading the old CS versions to the latest version they said there would be no new perpetual versions after all, only subscription.

 

Autodesk took a bit longer for killing the perpetual license plus maintaince combinations, approximately 4 years after dropping perpetual licenses.

 

Given that one of the reasons for going subsciption only is that having both perpetual licenses with VSS and subscription is a bit of a burden on the license managing side it is not an unreasonable expectation that VSS will remain for only a few years at the most. Otherwise there is no reason to drop perpetual licenses if VSS would continue to exist for a very long time.

  • Like 2
Link to comment

After seeing the subscription rates it looks like the subscription will be at least double the VSS rate I was paying, not counting possible rate increase in the coming years. I sold my license because for the near future (say 3-4 years) I wasn't expecting to be using VW much if at all so paying for VSS didn't make sense and upgrading might not be possible either if it would be 3 years or more before I would be using it again. So it looks like I will be sticking with my other CAD program and probably not return to VW in the foreseeable future. Competition for VW, at least for my past usage of VW Landmark, is increasing and in some areas even leaving VW behind already so it will be interesting to see how this move will pan out in the future.

 

The dwg based way of working is sometimes a big pita compared to VW's user interface and some of its tools but not worse than the AutoCAD user interface that I was used to before getting into VW so I'll manage. Vectorworks is great software despite some of its flaws, but that applies to other software as well, so I hope that for the small businesses it will remain somewhat affordable and that it won't go the Autodesk way where they basically just aim for corporate clients.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
4 hours ago, Art V said:

This is exactly what Autodesk has been doing to its customers clinging to their perpetual licenses with maintenance. And when that didn't prove too succesfull they also stopped activations of installs on new computers after deactivating on the old computer.

Adobe did the same deactivation/activation trick.

 

Was that applied retrospectively - as in, the customer is told they have a perpetual licence which turns out later to be redefined as "perpetual on your currently existing computer"?

 

Or was it a change in the conditions that was notified at the point they decided to pay for their next licence?

 

It would be rather useful to know if that's something VW could spring on us after telling us that we had bought a "perpetual" licence.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
1 hour ago, line-weight said:

Was that applied retrospectively - as in, the customer is told they have a perpetual licence which turns out later to be redefined as "perpetual on your currently existing computer"?

It was done retrospectively in the sense that at some point they announced that (older) perpetual licenses would not be reactivated on a new computer anymore or at all from a certain date.

A quick search at upFront eZine came up with this article where it is mentioned:

https://www.upfrontezine.com/2020/02/upf-1043.html

 

So it basically turned out to be perpetual on the existing computer on which it is currently activated as you stated or on a newer computer if activated before March 2021 implying that after March 2021 (re)activations were no longer possible.

 

There is probably a line somewhere in the EULA that allows Autodesk to change the EULA terms at any time etc. etc. etc. that allows them to get away with this. Anything that works to get their customers on subscription is probably acceptable to Autodesk, if you don't want subscription then they don't want you as customer.

Edited by Art V
  • Like 1
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
On 8/2/2022 at 9:40 PM, Christiaan said:

A subscription model removes this incentive. Upgrades and changes can be pushed out whenever they're ready to go without having to justify it to the marketing department.

 

18 hours ago, Art V said:

In theory you are right, but last time I suggested something similar the reply was basically can't do because it might endanger stability, introduce new bugs etc. so (major) new features would have to wait until the yearly release.
Apparently this no longer applies? Even though other CAD companies can do this without completely destroying their software.

 

In terms of the annual cycle, I don’t think they’re suggesting a significant change from what we currently get. The promised focus on quality and stability just means future annual updates will only contain a subset of the “scheduled” features, at launch, for that particular year’s release. The remainder of each year’s features will simply get rolled out in service packs when they’re ready and stable. The statements here have implied spreading out / delaying the release of new features, for the sake of stability, more than they’ve suggested a new, or continuous, development paradigm.

 

I believe the stability mantra, more or less, comes down to a requirement for subscription based software to be more stable due to its propensity to attract a new, and potentially more transient, user base inclined to drop-in on the most current release.

 

——————————

 

The motivation for transitioning to subscription based software was well articulated in Nemetschek’s previous financial summery:

 

https://ir.nemetschek.com/websites/nemetschek/English/2110/news-detail.html?newsID=2309449

 

 

The relevant statements / theme:

 

+56.5% increase in subscription/SaaS revenue . . .

 

Recurring revenues, which reached a new record high, were once again the main growth driver, in particular due to the strong demand for Subscription and SaaS models.

 

Growth driver continued to be the revenues from Subscription and SaaS models. With a plus of 56.5% (currency-adjusted: 47.8%) in Q2 these revenues reached a record high of EUR 47.3m and therefore were once again the main contributor to the increase in recurring revenues. Consequently, the share of recurring revenues which includes Subscription and SaaS as well as service contracts further increased to 63.2% of group revenues in Q2 (previous year: 60.3%). In the first half of the year revenues from Subscription and SaaS models grew by 58.1% compared to last year (currency-adjusted: 51.0%).

 

Design Segment:

 

“The strong increase in subscription revenues (Q2: +58.2%, H1: +59.3%) confirms the success of the segment's hybrid strategy to offer both, subscription and licenses to its customers.”

 

 

Link to comment

Yes, more frequent service packs within each annual cycle to facilitate the gradual release of scheduled features, meaning fewer new features at launch day (SP0) as a way for them to maintain stability.

 

On 8/11/2022 at 11:09 PM, ndavison said:
  • increase the number of updates we provide annually allowing us to take some of the pressure off of delivering as many updates in the initial version release each year so that we are able to focus on quality and stability for each new feature released and provide them once they are ready during the version cycle. 

 

 

Link to comment

The latest email from VW UK says

 

Quote

Should you choose to remain cancelled, your perpetual licence(s) will continue to work without a Service Select membership, but you will not be able to receive upgrades to your software after 1 January without transitioning to a subscription licence.

 

It doesn't explain what "upgrades" means though - upgrades as in annual releases or upgrades as in SP releases?

 

 

Link to comment
5 hours ago, M5d said:

I believe the stability mantra, more or less, comes down to a requirement for subscription based software to be more stable due to its propensity to attract a new, and potentially more transient, user base inclined to drop-in on the most current release.

 

So it's not that a subscription model allows more frequent & stable releases. It's that more frequent & stable releases make the (potentially more lucrative) subscription model more sellable.

 

The idea that forcing people into a subscription approach is driven by a desire to produce a more stable product really is a lot of nonsense. It has nothing to do with that - it's about revenue. Of course it's only natural that the company will want to try and spin it that way but I'm surprised that some users seem to be buying this justification.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
1 hour ago, line-weight said:

So it's not that a subscription model allows more frequent & stable releases. It's that more frequent & stable releases make the (potentially more lucrative) subscription model more sellable.

 

The idea that forcing people into a subscription approach is driven by a desire to produce a more stable product really is a lot of nonsense. It has nothing to do with that - it's about revenue. Of course it's only natural that the company will want to try and spin it that way but I'm surprised that some users seem to be buying this justification.

Well it's a chicken and egg thing in that respect. All I can do is speak from experience and I've experienced what it's like to submit bug reports and be told that it'll have to wait until a major release because engineering resources have been moved on to the next major release. And I've already experienced positive changes in way engineering resources are allocated in anticipation of the subscription model.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
2 hours ago, line-weight said:

 

So it's not that a subscription model allows more frequent & stable releases. It's that more frequent & stable releases make the (potentially more lucrative) subscription model more sellable.

 

Yeah. Or to be specific, more viable for the usage / download patterns of an all year round, somewhat transient user base. The software will need to be stable across every quarter, not just the latter SP’s, to properly service the expectations of subscription users.   

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...