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Vectorworks abandoning perpetual licences


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  • 4 weeks later...

Today's email from VW UK:


 

Quote

 

To get you ready for the launch of Vectorworks 2023, we’re offering the opportunity to restart your Vectorworks Service Select membership with no late fees if you act before 30 December!
 

Rejoining Service Select is the best way to protect your investment in your perpetual Vectorworks licence(s), and you’ll receive an upgrade to Vectorworks 2023 as an included benefit after it’s launched!

 

 

Thought it was interesting wording - the implication that if I don't restart SS, I will not be "protecting my investment".

 

Protecting against what exactly?

 

I feel just a little like I've been sent a protection racket demand by the mafia.

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VSS has historically been very consistent, with a good 2-3 years of no price increase.  Nothing stays the same price forever but as a licensing model, being on VSS is the best of both worlds, and less than half the cost of subscription.

 

In the end, over three years or so, there is not much in it; new license + vss versus subscription.  However, after that initial 3 years, that's when it benefits being on VSS.

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But the protection racket is effectively "restart your VSS or we're going to double the price you pay per year from now on".

 

It's not that VSS is half the price of the new subscription model: it's that the new subscription model is twice the price of what anyone has ever paid until now.

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1 hour ago, line-weight said:

it's that the new subscription model is twice the price of what anyone has ever paid until now.

 

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.

 

Well my new VSS fee increase from Germany was not enough so far,

just an about 25% increase,

so still far more attractive than any VW US subscription price I have seen so far.

 

But know I learned that the German VW Localization sellers,

a) do plan "some" years for a "conversion" period to Subscription

    (So not about keeping VSS for exiting users for the foreseeable future at all)

and

b) that the still think about if this is mandatory for users of the VW US version too,

    which they bought over resellers in the Germany, Austria and Swiss area !?

 

 

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)

 

WTH

 

Even the announcement of going Subscription itself already hurt a little bit.

The embarrassing VSS price increase - just at this point in time - during

that current world reality,

plus these new news,

made me feel like an alien that knows his VW days count down and

it is time to visit another planet.

Edited by zoomer
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On 8/11/2022 at 9:09 AM, ndavison said:

"we do not have plans to end our Service Select maintenance program for perpetual licenses in the short-term, but I can't predict in the long-term how technology and the market will continue to evolve which may influence our course of action."

@ndavison are the plans to drop the subscription price, since the option to purchase perpetual licenses is being taken away? Maybe a tiered license system (e.g. enterprise vs small business)? This would allow your small businesses and sole proprietors to stay with Vectorworks.

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This is NOT the way to go, I already have sketchup on forced subscription, and yesterday it refused to allow me to log in, and was a hassle to get sorted. Meanwhile the NZ Vectorworks agent seems to be in turmoil as well which gives me no confidence as they are sometimes essential. Meanwhile vw keeps adding bells and whistles but not fixing or maintaining earlier tools that just work.

 

I'll accept it with my accounting package but everything else is just a parasitic rentier system.

 

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12 hours ago, unearthed said:

This is NOT the way to go, I already have sketchup on forced subscription, and yesterday it refused to allow me to log in, and was a hassle to get sorted. Meanwhile the NZ Vectorworks agent seems to be in turmoil as well which gives me no confidence as they are sometimes essential. Meanwhile vw keeps adding bells and whistles but not fixing or maintaining earlier tools that just work.

 

I'll accept it with my accounting package but everything else is just a parasitic rentier system.

 

pardon me for jumping-in here, but to me, your accounting software is equally as parasitic

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For me it really looks like I was able to resist any Subscription or Cloud forcing

Software so far. Meanwhile since quite some years.

I think the first was C4D which stalls here with my latest perpetual R21.

I had to abandon a few former nice office/freelancing Apps.

But somehow I am still running fine.

 

Yes, I am really looking forward to Enscape for Mac for Vectorworks

release and will love test it. But I can't imagine to ever subscribe to it.

I do can't estimate how much better it would have to be to hold me

from little disadvantages by Twinmotion.

 

Not only I see lots alternatives for the near future, I also see Open Source Software

developing faster and more creative. So i think there are lots of options for anyone

and no need for fear. Larger organizations that prefer predictable yearly fees

over unexpected timed upgrade fees should go Subscription.

So that they can Kick out licenses in less productive times. Keeping a single

license to access older files when needed does not really hurt them.

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4 hours ago, zoomer said:

 

Not only I see lots alternatives for the near future, I also see Open Source Software

developing faster and more creative. So i think there are lots of options for anyone

and no need for fear.

 

Let's hope so!

 

Perhaps those of us who have tolerated the clunkiness and bugginess of Vectorworks for many years will be well adapted to the problems that seem often to be inevitable with open source software - if and when some alternatives arise.

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On 9/20/2022 at 9:29 AM, Will Glenn said:

@ndavison are the plans to drop the subscription price, since the option to purchase perpetual licenses is being taken away? Maybe a tiered license system (e.g. enterprise vs small business)? This would allow your small businesses and sole proprietors to stay with Vectorworks.

Add tiers for Students and Seniors.

the Former to make sure there is a good supply of staff coming in to the market.

The later to keep those trained and at the late stages or post career able to stay current and activity if they want to keep a tool they know for retirement hobbies and play. 

 

 

but all in all get the price down and be aggressive in getting new customers to expand revenue and get faster development happening. If the plan is just to squeeze the orange harder, then we might as well jump ship and retrain. 

Edited by Matt Overton
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19 minutes ago, Matt Overton said:

Add tiers for Students and Seniors.

the Former to make sure there is a good supply of staff coming in to the market.

The later to keep those trained and at the late stages or post career able to stay current and activity if they want to keep a tool they know for retirement hobbies and play. 

 

 

but all in all get the price down and be aggressive in getting new customers to expand revenue and get faster development happening. If the plan is just to squeeze the orange harder, then we might as well jump ship and retrain. 

 

I have to say, Vectorworks still does a great job taking care of students and recent grads. ¬†That is critical to growing the market IMHO. ¬†Now those "retired" folks... charge them double so they actually retire and enjoy it¬†ūüôā

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I think going with tiered subscription rates is definitely the way to go. Particularly in these times when things are so tough financially for small and sole proprietor businesses.

 

I think the Nemetschek Group cares about the portion of their market that are struggling, and it's likely they'll roll this out in the coming months - if nothing else, not to do so, especially in light of the current state of things would definitely not be a good look. They're smart enough to know that.

 

Can someone from Vectorworks chime in here? I tagged Ndavision a couple of times but she hasn't responded.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@Will Glenn Thank you for the feedback, we appreciate hearing from our users and what would support their use of Vectorworks. While I can’t speak to exact pricing details beyond 2023, we understand that every customer’s situation is unique and subscription licenses offer a lower up-front cost, while allowing you to purchase when you’re ready, offering a more flexible solution. Subscriptions can also be purchased on a monthly or annual basis, so you can pick the option that best suits how often you use the software. 

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Yeah, I predict that future waves of folks entering the Theatre, TV, and Film industries will no longer choose to adopt Vectorworks. SketchUp was already an enticing alternative for many people based not only on price but also ease of use, but now I fear SketchUp will be the winning choice even more frequently. 

 

$300/yr for SketchUp Pro vs $1530/yr for Vectorworks Spotlight/Architect? That difference is insane.

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4 hours ago, ndavison said:

@Will Glenn Thank you for the feedback, we appreciate hearing from our users and what would support their use of Vectorworks. While I can’t speak to exact pricing details beyond 2023, we understand that every customer’s situation is unique and subscription licenses offer a lower up-front cost, while allowing you to purchase when you’re ready, offering a more flexible solution. Subscriptions can also be purchased on a monthly or annual basis, so you can pick the option that best suits how often you use the software. 

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.

Edited by Will Glenn
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Here's the thing: I spent, what? probably ten minutes easy, trying figure out why a glow texture suddenly stopped glowing…was it something I did? Backtrack, fiddle, fix, all to no joy,  no warning.

Okay start the app, there's another two-ish minutes.

Yup, first render right upon opening, there're my glow textures, back again. This kind of stuff (and other rando issues, this forum full of the sightings) happens all the time and sucks the very lifeblood (much less the joy) out of designing. I don't design to fight with software, I design to literally help someone achieve their dreams. And for this experience, for a professional product, I'm just not feeling the "ultimate software" experience.

1761362865_ScreenShot2022-09-21at11_57_05AM.thumb.png.d5877469e8718dbcb7872ef2a7f6e84e.png


Not trying to bring all you hard-working VW folks down, because I believe that in the trenches y'all are working hard as heck, but hey - charging for the 'ultimate' and not delivering, feels plain wrong. 

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On 9/21/2022 at 5:45 AM, mjm said:

pardon me for jumping-in here, but to me, your accounting software is equally as parasitic

No so; it changes on a daily basis, and saves me a huge amount of work - and keeps getting better without adding needless bells and whistles that add no value.

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1 hour ago, Will Glenn said:

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.

 

Careful....

You might be surprised to know that the big players actually pay less than small business for pretty much everything.

This is capitalism and leverage.  I'm not saying it right, it's just reality.

 

What if you structured your consulting business as a non profit and worked exclusively for the benefit of other non profits in the arts.  Perhaps then you could have donors offset the costs of providing such services.

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16 minutes ago, jeff prince said:

 

Careful....

You might be surprised to know that the big players actually pay less than small business for pretty much everything.

This is capitalism and leverage.  I'm not saying it right, it's just reality.

That's prolly true - It's pretty sad, but I won't deny it.

 

Quote

What if you structured your consulting business as a non profit and worked exclusively for the benefit of other non profits in the arts.  Perhaps then you could have donors offset the costs of providing such services.

That's actually a pretty good idea, and I'll be honest - I don't know too much about the ins and outs of it, but I'm pretty sure sole proprietors can't be non-profits. I'd have to put together a board (even a small board requires at least three people), and the accounting is (I think) actually a lot more involved than what I deal with as a 1099, which I am 99% of the time. My business generally isn't consulting (though I have gotten a few of those gigs) - It's gig-based lighting design for theatre companies around the US, the vast and overwhelming amount of which is for local, small theatre companies.

 

I don't make a ton of money, but the people I work for don't either. My clients are mostly funded by regular single donors in the community, with a smattering of foundational support and support from entities like chambers of commerce etc.

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