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Vectorworks abandoning perpetual licences


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2 minutes ago, twk said:

So things seem a bit clearer since I last read..

1. Service Select   IS NOT THE SAME AS   Subscriptions

2. Service Select = Perpetiual License | ie | When you stop service select you get to keep Vectorworks whatever version you've stopped at

3. Subscription = Non Perpetual License | ie | When you stop subscription you lose access to using Vectorworks

That is correct. 

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Posted (edited)

OK. So it is not as bad as it first appeared.

 

Existing SS customers can carry on as they were - with a new perpetual licence each year. And if they can stop paying for SS and carry on using whatever version they've stopped at.

 

But going back to that initial email I was sent where it says:

 

we will be offering monthly and annual subscriptions and retiring the option to purchase new perpetual licences beginning 1 January, 2023.

 

This means that no new users will be able to access what continuing SS customers will have. And if an existing SS customer ends their subscription that's it - if they want to come back to VW they'll have to come back via the subscription model. Or have I understood that wrongly?

Edited by line-weight
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8 minutes ago, line-weight said:

This means that no new users will be able to access what continuing SS customers will have. And if an existing SS customer ends their subscription that's it - if they want to come back to VW they'll have to come back via the subscription model. Or have I understood that wrongly?

That's correct. Also any companies that want to expand their number of licences too. So they'll end up with a mixture of SS and subscription licences.

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47 minutes ago, Christiaan said:

That's correct. Also any companies that want to expand their number of licences too. So they'll end up with a mixture of SS and subscription licences.

 

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

 

1 hour ago, ndavison said:

@line-weight yes, that is true. We don't have any plans of changing the Service Select program at this time.

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Well, it removes one of my worries, which is that if, at some point I decide to part ways with Vectorworks I can do so with a perpetual licence which might tide me over the 2 or 3 years that it would likely take to transition to something else.

 

But it does seem to mean that the option to take a couple of years off paying for upgrades, and then return to Vectorworks via a kind of catch-up (upgrade 2 or 3 versions in one go) payment, which is what's been possible for some time, is going to disappear.

 

So if anyone falls off the Service Select wagon, they can't come back to Vectorworks except at a quite significantly increased* annual cost, and with no ability to own a perpetual licence again.

 

(*at least, at the "official" prices - I guess we'll see if there are various promotions that mean the real price will be a bit less)

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3 hours ago, JuanP said:

You will keep your perpetual license for as long as you keep your Service Select active. 

 

You mean you will keep your perpetual license up-to-date for as long as you keep your Service Select active?

 

The perpetual license will still work without a service select contract.  It just means it will no longer be eligible for upgrades under the Service Select program.

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My problem with this subscription model is that if you do work, and you stop subscribing, you lose access to that work the moment your subscription expires.  You have lost all of that work.  How can that possibly be attractive to possible new users.  Did I get that wrong?

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18 minutes ago, Sam Jones said:

My problem with this subscription model is that if you do work, and you stop subscribing, you lose access to that work the moment your subscription expires.  You have lost all of that work.  How can that possibly be attractive to possible new users.  Did I get that wrong?

 

While I am not a fan of subscriptions, I see they are where software licenses are going. I have been paying monthly Vig to Adobe for years. That said, what I heard Juan say last night was that if you have a perpetual license, that is not going away. If you have service select, the program is essentially the same. If you have b other and stop paying the Service Select, you still have the license.

I assume that at some point, the OS may not run someone's old version, but that isn't new.

With Adobe, if you stop paying the Vig, you're sunk opening files unless other Apps open and translate. That's possible with some file formats.

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17 hours ago, mjm said:

Just have to say at this moment: It's 6:05pm where I sit, waiting for VWX 2022 to do…something. Attempting to edit RT texture, clicked on "edit reflectivity shader…" and boom—nothing. VWX froze like the carrot in Olaf's face. No spinning wheel of death (!), the app is locked tight.  MBP M1 Pro Max 32 gb.

Hard to rationalize spending what I already spend on this product to relentlessly have these experiences. 

 

Edit—I also cannot stress enough how detrimental to creative flow it is to have to stop in the middle of those moments to (hopefully) solve a software problem, whose most minimal effects likely to be a reboot & just as likely a convoluted process of analyzing, seeking counsel, finding solution/workaround and THEN getting back to that magic moment, ha.

 

Hard to come to VWX with joy any more.


Is it just VW or macOS that freezes? Does macOS log you out, and then bring you to the login screen?

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43 minutes ago, Kevin Allen said:

While I am not a fan of subscriptions, I see they are where software licenses are going. I have been paying monthly Vig to Adobe for years. That said, what I heard Juan say last night was that if you have a perpetual license, that is not going away. If you have service select, the program is essentially the same. If you have b other and stop paying the Service Select, you still have the license.

I assume that at some point, the OS may not run someone's old version, but that isn't new.

With Adobe, if you stop paying the Vig, you're sunk opening files unless other Apps open and translate. That's possible with some file formats.

 

Out growing one's OS is one thing, but losing access to your work a year later is another, and in another scenario, you lose access a day later.  The subscription as described is not the same.  On 2/1/23, someone pays $1500 to use VW for a year.  On 2/2/24, he loses access to all the work created the previous year.  Nope.  I can't sell it.

Edited by Sam Jones
correct syntax
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29 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:


Is it just VW or macOS that freezes? Does macOS log you out, and then bring you to the login screen?

@Mark AcetoJust VW. A reboot fixed that yesterday.

Today I report that VW has ceased rendering in all render formats other than shaded.

On any file. Even a new, blank file.

 

Just checked Activity Monitor and Cineware.app is nowhere to be found.

Wonder why that died.

Time to reboot again

 

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Just now, mjm said:

@Mark AcetoJust VW. A reboot fixed that yesterday.

Today I report that VW has ceased rendering in all render formats other than shaded.

On any file. Even a new, blank file.

 

Just checked Activity Monitor and Cineware.app is nowhere to be found.

Wonder why that died.

Time to reboot again

I should be clear that up till ten–fifteen minutes ago, all renders were rendering.

 

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7 hours ago, line-weight said:

But I can see that changing the release cycle probably isn't the only thing that needs to change, because to improve things VW probably needs to invest more in the product, and of course I can see that this means more revenue needs to be generated. And to generate more revenue the price needs to go up (or, I suppose, VW needs to gain more users).


This sounds like the most accurate description of the change (after filtering out the marketing, hopes and dreams).

 

What I’m just now realizing is that 2 things have been killed:

  1. Perpetual licenses
  2. The path to Service Select (pricing) vis a vis perpetual licenses

Where there were 3 pricing models, there is now 1 (plus a legacy ghost plan on the side for those of us grandfathered into it).

 

The other assumption here is that the cost of more frequent updates (quality and stability) will be underwritten by increased revenue of new users (as existing VSS users won’t be adding any revenue). The next generation is gonna have to skip their avocado toast to afford renting the software required to do our jobs.

 

Also, I’m suddenly interested in VW quarterly earnings… 

 

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If you still have questions about subscriptions, I'll be happy to answer your questions live. Feel free to schedule some time using the following LINK starting tomorrow until Friday. Looking forward to meeting some of you!

 

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1 hour ago, zoomer said:

But I do not get why tripling (or more) of the select fees, which does not influence

VSS members, would rise interest any new users for VW (?)

 

 

Although it looks like the annual fee is potentially something like tripled - for new users there is not the (quite significant) buy-in cost (that us long term users have kind of forgotten about because we already paid it some/many years ago).

 

In the old regime, say you go for Vectorworks Architect, then you have to pay something like £3000 up front and then perhaps £500-700 per year from then on (if you keep your SS current).

 

In the new regime it looks like you pay maybe £1500 per year but without any up-front cost at the beginning.

 

So either way, after about 3-4 years you have paid the same under either regime but then it starts to get more expensive under the new regime, after that.

 

So I can see it's a way to entice new users (lower upfront cost) and then get more money out of them in the long term if they are successfully trapped in the system.

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2 hours ago, Mark Aceto said:

the cost of more frequent updates (quality and stability) will be underwritten by increased revenue of new users (as existing VSS users won’t be adding any revenue). The next generation is gonna have to skip their avocado toast

 

 

If that email from Vectorworks UK had presented the new system to me like this then maybe I'd have responded more positively!

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I think most of the remaining questions for VSS members (near) future are answered

by Juan and VW marketing - to my pleasure.

 

But it still feels like a sudden change in my 9 year relationship to VW.

As i would never do that under the new users conditions.

And I would not bet that I can rely on my current VSS privileged situation

until VW 2040 or so.

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1 hour ago, line-weight said:

for new users there is not the (quite significant) buy-in cost (that us long term users have kind of forgotten about because we already paid it some/many years ago).

 

 

That is why i am fine with investing initially in a Software if I can afford it and

with a manageable Upgrade fee, as long as I can afford it.

But you have seen the estimates for using subscription over e.g. a decade,

which i would maybe not be able to afford.

 

But as some mentioned, in delicate situations (I think we currently have one)

to imagine when not being liquid, to not be able to access your own work

at all, for me is a bit of a downer.

 

If subscriptions usually had a similar and comparable price,

and if annually only, and I could say at the end of the year, hey, I was 3 month

on holidays and 5 months i did not get a freelance job, you can check my activations,

please refund that time on following account ....

Ah, currently no job but I want to play and learn with VW to be ready for new jobs,

please calculate the student fees for now ...

Oh, I need access to my old files for 12 days, give me a subscription for the next 2 weeks,

I think now user would have to complain.

 

 

In the past there were yearly upgrades for Software with perpetual licences and some

users thought, I don't need these updates, I'll  stick with e.g. VW 2013.

Therefore there was invented a VSS contract, which was a bit cheaper than the Upgrades,

to invite users to sign a Contract. Which was likely to not quit as easy as just missing

an Upgrade. So a win-win situation for VW and users. A bitt less expensive but offering

more stability for VW. This made sense to me.

Edited by zoomer
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36 minutes ago, zoomer said:

Therefore there was invented a VSS contract, which was a bit cheaper than the Upgrades,

to invite users to sign a Contract. Which was likely to not quit as easy as just missing

an Upgrade. So a win-win situation for VW and users. A bitt less expensive but offering

more stability for VW. This made sense to me.


Agreed. And yet that is the thing that’s being killed off for new users. That’s what’s so unexpected after all these years. The messaging went from “We need to create incentives to get more users onboard with VSS” to “Shut it down. Subscription only.” I can only assume that VSS has been great for us but a loss for VW.
 

 

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Until recently, vectorworks employees touted the perpetual license as one of the great benefits for switching to their software in the press and at trade shows.  Accordingly, his switch really surprised me. 

 

I have prepared several cost/benefit studies for firms I consult with pitting Vectorworks & the Affinity suite vs AutoCAD/Sketchup/Adobe.  Most of these firms are fewer than a 6 designers who would use the software and value graphic beauty and capabilities their software.  The cost of software is a drop in the bucket compared to training and developing workflows when it comes to switching, yet most people look at that initial price tag when making the decision.  The numbers there are no longer compelling, especially when Autodesk resellers will bend over backwards to keep you with them.

 

It will be interesting to see how this cost increase effects decision making.  I wish them the best as we are seemingly heading into global recession.  Strange days ahead for the smaller shops.  I imagine the next wave of big firms buying up the small fish will be happening in the next 18 months.

 

On a positive note, Vectorworks was kind to us all during the pandemic and Vectorworks University is really developing nicely as a tool for developing staff.

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About the pricing...

 

Since VW market share in the architecture business is rather small, at least in the US and EU, one would think the new pricing/subscription scheme would reflect this. That is, I would expect the pricing would be set so that the market share of VW would GROW in the future. I would like to see this and in general it would be healthy for the Archicad-Revit duopoly situation.

 

I don't think this will happen now. The annual price is way too high compared to Archicad, it's actually about one third MORE if you already own an Archicad license. Graphisoft also has the small-office Start edition, which sells for under 3000e, a perpetual license with the option to upgrade for a fee. Of course not all the bells and whistles are included.

 

Considering the cost of training a new VW user versus buying an Archicad perpetual license with subscription and bypassing the difficulty of finding someone who dares to go down the VW career road (employees very much consider this, since software proficiency is their intellectual capital), it's not clear at all which path is most viable.

 

IMHO the annual price should be set somewhere around 5-600e/usd at maximum...in order to attract new customers. While there is no initial license fee any longer, it has to be remembered that one has to keep on paying no matter what, in order to be able to use the software. It's a very different situation from having a perpetual license.

 

I guess now the important question is what will Graphisoft do...will they keep their perpetual licenses or not.

 

I'm afraid the amount of VW users is not going to grow due to this pricing change, rather the opposite. Hopefully I'll be proved wrong.

 

As a side note, despite the pricey subscription model, some Revit using companies (large practices mostly) published an open letter complaining about the lack of development, I think a few years back. High price and constant cash flow do not guarantee anything as such. Of course they are/were in a market dominating position.

 

 

 

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On 8/2/2022 at 9:40 PM, Christiaan said:

Because a release cycle based on major versions creates an incentive for the developer to save up changes for each major release, in order to make each release more attractive for users to upgrade.

 

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.

 

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.

Also means your QA and beta testers get to pace themselves and can be active all year instead of a release crunch that might not time well for some. Let’s them concentrate on a smaller set of features at a time. 
 

would like to see a published schedule as part of say the road map. Even go as far as say certain months will concentrate on the same feature group each year. 
 

finally a plug for cleaning out the workspace make a new best practices one that allows improvements to slot in more effectively 

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