The core problem with licensing, as I see it, is in how ADSK views and treats indies and low volume freelancers.
Most other companies understand that there’s a tangible difference between a studio earning millions of dollars and a freelancer earning less than $100k, or a hobbyist earning nothing. As such, they sell two different sorts of licenses for what is effectively the same exact product.
It’s a bit of a good faith gesture on their part, as anybody can claim to to earn less than $100k. However, by and large, they tend to know the difference between a big studio and an individual. Common sense and such. It’s not a perfect system for the pub/dev, but it’s far less punishing to the customers than the ADSK alternative.
ADSK’s solution for the indie/freelancer/hobbyist issue comes in the form of the LT version and, tbh, it sucks. Maya LT, for example, is far too crippled to be usable in some circumstances. Export limitations. Crippled features. Missing functionality. Even at a meager $250/yr, end users are paying too much.
The only advantage of using Maya LT over Blender is that LT provides the end user a way to learn an industry standard tool. Even then, they’re only able to learn a subset of the app since it’s so limited. For a hobbiest, freelancer, or indie game developer, there ARE other, better options than using something like Maya LT.
ADSK needs to take a play from the Allegorithmic playbook. They need to understand the difference between an individual and a studio. You can provide the same exact product at different price points and still make money. Instead of crippling functionality, simply limit support and benefit options.
I can imagine that many indies and freelancers would happily sacrfice advanced support if it meant that they could have access to the same functionality their studio peers enjoyed. For ADSK’s part, it means that they would only have to provide such users the most basic level of tech support and software updates.
For ADSK’s part, eliminating the LT version and instead providing a cheaper license that provides the same exact functionality, but with far more limited support makes more sense. Support costs ADSK time and money. Limiting it for indie/freelance license users can save ADSK money, which they can pass down in the form of a cheaper license.
Honestly? I would rather ADSK took the Allegorithmic road, freezing the version number after the subscription ends - thus allowing the end user to treat the frozen version as a perpetual license. However, I get that ADSK doesn’t want to do this. (It’s not like Allegorithmic wastes money or time on users with lapsed subscriptions. They don’t provide updates to such users either. ADSK doesn’t roll like this, but they could still stand to learn something this tactic.)
Regardless, if you want to be a Maya user the options are clear.
- Be a student and pay $0 for a non-commercial EDU license. (TONS of users fake at being students, but that’s another story.)
- Pay $1,545 per year in perpetuity, ultimately owning nothing and stuck in a “use it or lose it” situation.
- Pay only $250 per year, also in perpetuity, and experience the joys of a LT version that is ultimately less powerful than $0 open source software.
That’s it. No other options. $1,545/yr is nothing for studios. However, it’s a LOT to indie artists or low volume freelancers who may get a consistent amount of work, but still only earn enough to cover overhead. End users are already balancing a lot of subscriptions as it is. The pricing model makes sense for studios, but totally ignores the huge number of (potential) individual users whose names aren’t EA, ILM, or Square-Enix.
Like I said, I’d happily pay for a cheaper license to identical software and accept the limitation of crippled support. As long as I still have access to patches, I can service my own support needs and ask for help for the community at large. Studios need a higher degree of priority support. Pass the costs onto them. They’ll pay it anyway. After all, they earn a LOT more money than Joe Average.
What ADSK charges for Maya now is just the cost of doing business to studios. To individuals, however, it presents itself as a barrier to entering the industry. You’re turning away a lot of talented artists and possibly shrinking the overall talent pool. If ADSK apps are the de facto standard, that’s the last thing you want to do.
One has to also think that current pricing/licensing model, coupled with the lax EDU license enforcement, only promotes piracy. People don’t always resort to piracy because they’re cheap. They sometimes do it when there are no other options. ADSK could minimize that risk by providing more VIABLE options.
Indie/Freelance users would be MUCH happier with having access to the same exact Maya at a lower cost in exchange bare bones support and benefits, an option which is cheaper for ADSK. Providing a cheaper license in the form of a crippled LT version is like providing no option at all. It ignores a LOT of users and simply drives more of them to the likes of Blender or, worse, piracy.
No need for a response, Veronica. This is just something for those in charge of making the big decisions to mull over. I’m sure that y’all have heard and considered it before. I’m just expressing a common concern and the reason why more people are at least exploring the possibility of at non-ADSK solutions these days.