C4D Licensing fears - a deal-breaker?


Dear Maxon reps!

I’m scared of the idea, that in the foreseeable future, there will only be subscription-only licenses.

I do not work with C4D every day. Sometimes not even for months. I would not afford a subscription, just so I can open my old files … almost my life’s work.

@Maxon or whoever is in contact with the marketing and decision-sphere:

PLEASE give the community a commitment that that there will be perpetual licenses at least 5 years from now, still, so that at least you would be able to upgrade at your own pace and ability, if you need to - and can afford to.

and/or (hopefully “and”):

An option granting subscription clients. to convert their license to perpetual when they paid 12 months of their “new lease” - or even the full perpetual price of the current release, or even some more - at least give them the option to remain productive with what they achieved creatively.

Dont strangle these artists, if they have a rough year and cannot afford to go on. Maybe they need the time to work on an unpaid showreel to get gigs again?

Comfort solution would be an indie model for the creative among us, but have invested a great deal of expertise in YOUR software. Who LOVE your product.

I wish you all the best, the software is good, but if you pride yourself with artistic showreels, keep in mind that art not always works on monthly rates.

Thank you.


Long time lurker since R4, Amiga.


I have R20 and an MSA for Studio. I just spoke with a rep who, as is typical with Maxon, was very friendly and helpful.

While I can renew my MSA for another year, it won’t be available after that. He said next year I could just do upgrades of my perpetual license.

I’ve been through this already with Adobe and was active on their forums when they switched to the shotgun-to-your-head model of subscriptions, i.e. the moment you stop paying, you’re locked out of your app no matter how many years you’ve been paying. I raised concerns about that and was assured by Adobe staff that perpetual licenses would never go away.

Perpetual licenses went away.

The Maxon rep was great guy and naturally doesn’t have a crystal ball to predict the future. That said, I very, very seriously doubt if perpetual licenses won’t meet the same death that they did with Adobe sooner or later. My guess would be sooner rather than later.

I left the Adobe ecosystem after they forced people to subscribe or die. I’m not sure there’s anything I care that much about in R21, but it’s unlikely I’ll spend any more money with Maxon. I’ve seen this movie already and know how it ends.


If you can afford the MSA, you can afford the subscription - it’s essentially the same amount, and in fact might even come out ahead if you only activate when you need it.


For me, I bring way more in income doing freelance works with Adobe and C4D than the actual costs of maintaining the licenses. I could see this being an issue for folks who are hobbyists, but if you make your living with the tools, the cost of maintaining them is way more affordable than a decade ago…


Same here, but personally I don’t consider the new business model a bad choice in terms of cost (although it is a little more expensive than MSA despite what they claimed). I consider it a bad choice because from subscription on, you’re tied to it and the moment you don’t pay you’re locked off-no access to your files, no way to use C4D. That’s a huge difference with the old MSA/purchase model.
They want to attract new customers, totally understandable and actually good move. Only don’t screw the old ones.

So, to answer @mp-grafix question, yes, it can potentially become a deal-breaker if Maxon doesn’t address the MSA situation for the years to come.


It’s not a spigot you can turn on and off. It’s $59 a month if you pay for a year at a time. More otherwise.

Now you pay more. Own less…own nothing.

All this dressed up with the CEO singing “We are the world.”


It’s not the amount of money I object to, it’s the fact that the moment you stop paying, your software is bricked.

People also forget that corporations can change any price, any time, to whatever they like. They can raise prices and change the rules of the game in any way they please. If you become dissatisfied, too bad. Either pay up, or you can no longer access your work. They’ve got you by the short and curlies and there’s nothing you can do about it.

I don’t do this for a living, I’m a software developer. As such, I’ve had lots of experience with the subscription model through MSDN, and I was a big fan . Whatever came out that year, I got the perpetual license for. If I didn’t renew, that software still worked, I just didn’t get any new versions. I wasn’t locked out of software I’d paid for and I could still access all my projects.

As a software guy myself, I understand the appeal of a consistent revenue stream. Nonetheless, I consider the Adobe subscription approach just north of extortion, and it saddens me to see Maxon take this road. However, given that the new CEO has an Adobe background, I’ve been expecting this move and wasn’t surprised to hear it.


Does anything really change at the moment with perpetual though?

I just pay Maxon directly for annual maintenance right?


Kaptain, there won’t be MSA by the end of this year. If you have already paid it…or do so by Aug 31 you can get a perpetual license for r21.

But after this perpetual license upgrades will be close to $1,000 per year (per Maxon sales rep), if they are even available at all, which many are questioning.

This is very much how Adobe did it when they transitioned to a forced subscription plan and the new Maxon CEO comes over from Adobe.


I don’t think thats the case - why would the perpetual Maintenance be more than the sub?

So I’m ripped several ways?
Prime users pay $250 and get full - I pay XX more and get the same. $1200 NZD
Yearly I want perpetual and pay more than sub and get less - no cineversity, updates - etc

There must be answers with what happens after my MSA. Last week I was looking at how Maya users lost their permanent licenses and thought how unfair that was - this is genuinely painful and frustrating. I don’t have the time to learn a new app (The time investment is a big deal - I have family and a full time job) - I use C4D because its easy - its fun - its something that makes sense to me. It inspires me and it lets me do what I love. I’m not a full time C4D user - I have a few jobs a year which cover expenses and the rest of the time I’m a hobbyist. I understand I still have my current license - but I have no idea what my path forward is. I bought Redshift last month too - so looks like I’ll be missing out on both fronts.

Where are the FAQs on this?

I can’t sign into my.maxon.net either.


The majority here are as equally surprised, offended, grieved, frustrated, miffed (fill in the emotion) as you are. I’m sorry bro…the specific information you ask you’ll have to get by scanning through the threads here and at c4d…or by contacting Maxon. I don’t have the emotional energy or time to provide answers. Going through a lot on my end right now.

The reality: we just got screwed over. Big corporate jackasses don’t give a fuck about us. They just don’t. Which makes this weeks"world" slogan beyond offensive.

For many of us this our #1 hobby and perhaps a source of some income. And for many of us it’s a big investment, one that we cannot be sure we can make year after year. So coercive subscriptions are, again for many of us, the end of the line.


Only took one Adobe guy to screw existing customers, I have to say I am really disappointed with this new direction from Maxon. Just look at Adobe and the bug fest with their system of continuous updates as well as the slow development with AE. This will also effect third party plugins as well as each C4D upgrade seems to break them.


The MSA was always a discounted offer, with a regular upgrade being much more expensive. It was kind of a “you pay in advance (and regularly) so we give you the next upgrade cheaper” deal.

Now, they terminated the MSA - as they have decided on a new continuous revenue stream, the subscription. Which leaves only the regular upgrade for the regular upgrade price. I had an MSA for years so I can’t tell you exactly the last upgrade price but that would only be an estimate for the future anyway. The next upgrade fees (for R22) have not yet been announced by Maxon.

There is no reason to believe they would be cheaper or even comparable to the subscription price however. The subscription is already more expensive than the MSA; the MSA-less upgrade was more expensive than the MSA; Maxon is primarily interested in selling subscriptions; where does that leave us? Right.

You can still stay on permanent licenses if you are willing to pay this penalty. Whether the permanent licenses will even be available in the future - R22 pricing has apparently not been fleshed out in advance - is anybody’s guess. You have no guarantee that they will be available forever.

For Redshift permanent licenses, you may need to ask a Maxon rep anyway. In the sales pages, I can see Redshift only as a subscription add-on (for a higher monthly); a permanent offer for Redshift is missing. That does not mean there isn’t one, but you have to ask directly.


MAXON’s offering is not a subscription model. It is an upfront cost and is a big chunk of cash. It doubles, yes doubles if you chose to pay by the month. That is absolutely unacceptable in my opinion and a blatant money grab, nothing more or less. And as others have noted to sugar coat this s*** sandwich with the We are the world bulls*** is just awful.

I agree I make my living from these applications, but Adobe Creative Suite cost me AU$76.99 a month. The MAXON offering wouldn’t be a monthly bill but one lump sum ( similar to the MSA) and I would pay more not less than I do currently. AU$98.00 dollars per month for one programme is a hell of a lot.

If you chose to pay monthly the cost pretty much doubles for this luxury!


New (ex-Adobe guy) CEO take control:

1- Buy Redshift for ~$130 million.
2- Force customers into expensive subscription model (to cover the buy out expenses).
3- Plan the international expansion with a new e-commerce website.
4- Join the faceless club (autodesk - adobe).


I just wonder if the people complaining about the subscription price have checked what the competition is charging for Max/Maya?

If you are earning money with C4D but struggle to pay the monthly fee, maybe you should rethink your job choice, since it is obviously not paying enough… here at work we are always complaining about Adobe CC and the lack of new features getting added but at the end of the day the speed at which we can work with Photoshop or Illustrator pays for it self 20 fold. You save a couple € by switching to cheaper/free software but your loss in productivity is massive and costs much more that the monthly fee, that you have to pay for the software.

I understand that as a hobbyist or a Prime user, people are are angry that they have to spend about 740€ now, which is much more, to keep using the newest version. That’s why I think it was really stupid not to introduce an Indie Licence.

If they did, it would probably have silenced the majority of the uproar and negative comments.

An other big mistake was a real screw up by the marketing team. Seriously, who came up with the idea to put such an emphasis on the updated bevel feature? Every news about R21 that I see, mentions the bevel-features first… It just looks amateurish from the perspective of other 3d-software users. Oh, lets see what C4D got… oh wow an updated bevel feature… everyone stops reading further after something like that…
I know there is a need for the Bevels and it is a good feature since C4D is used a lot in this field and the people will appreciate it but it isn’t something you should be selling to everyone as the big new feature… IMO the focus should have been on the field upgrades and field forces which show cool stuff.

In my eyes the marketing team failed to communicate the changes in pricing and especially the concerns with perpetual licences correctly and get rid of all the uncertanties.
It should have been cristal clear… no questions left, no open and unanswered question, no “we haven’t decided the perpetual upgrade price yet”, after reading the FAQ.

And the obvious elephant in the room - no Indie licence…

But you should also remember that the people complaining here are not the majority of C4D users. Most C4D probably don’t even visit any forums.


Have they really paid that much for Redshift? Where are the numbers coming from?


It’s an approximation, hence why the “~” (based on similar buy outs like Foundry/Roper $312 million)


Strawman argument. The thing is not the price, and that has been said again and again. I’ve been an MSA customer for many years (in fact, ever since the MSA has been introduced) at almost the same price. Had this just been a price increase, I probably would have complained (esp. since the MSA was just “adapted for inflation” last year), but it would not have been a long term deterrent.

The thing is the lock-in through a subscription. That is the fulcrum. Everything else is just garnishment.
(But I’m not going to chew it all over again.)


There seems to be mass confusion over this new licensing model and I’m really surprised that Maxon haven’t been more clear about this. The FAQs seem a bit ambiguous and I really hope that a representative comes out to explain things with less ambiguity. What’s the best upgrade path for an existing Studio owner who doesn’t want to lose any entitlements to updates and upgrades?. Just to be straight, I love C4D, I think Maxon is great and whilst this might make me very unpopular on these forums, I’m really not against a more modern approach to the C4D licensing system.

I’ve read though the FAQs several times now, but I’m still unclear on which is the most appropriate upgrade path for an existing Studio Edition owner. On the one hand, Maxon say that you can extend your MSA before the end of August and get a Perpetual license to R21, but they also say that a Perpetual license doesn’t give you the same entitlements as a Subscription license, so I’m not sure whether that’s a good option.

They say that “At any time before the expiration of your current MSA, you can purchase a 2-year Cinema 4D Subscription at a discounted price similar to MSA pricing for your Cinema 4D edition.” As some people have pointed out already, this means that a Prime Edition owner can essentially purchase the same product much more economically than a Studio Edition owner. This doesn’t make sense to me.

They also say that “If you own a perpetual license of Cinema 4D, you’re eligible for discounted Cinema 4D subscription pricing.” Does this mean that if you already own a Studio Edition license, you are entitled to a discounted subscription package?

To me, it doesn’t seem fair that if you’ve previously purchased the Studio package for thousands of pounds, your investment is now being written off and is worth nothing and you will also have to pay more for your forthcoming upgrade path. Maybe I’m interpreting things wrong, but this is how it’s looking like to me right now.

Looking at Redshift or XParticles as two examples, if I decide not to continue with my yearly subscription, I can continue to use my current license but I will be stuck on that version. From what I understand, this isn’t the way it will work with the new C4D system. This again seems quite unfair if, like me, you’ve previously purchased a Studio Edition license for several thousands of pounds on top of yearly MSA costs …

All in all, I really hope Maxon can provide some more clarity in these coming days.