Why is 3D Max so expensive to purchase?


Hi guys

can you tell me why is it so expensive, I mean so high price to buy 3D max, its only a software right. If I wanted to buy 3D Max 7 from where I live which is UK it would’ve costs me £2,695.00 / £3,260.95 incl. VAT. Plus the regular license.


“its only a software right”

what do you mean “it’s only software right”
you’re one of the people who think windows is cheaper than linux because you only need 1 cd-r for it?
in a few years hardware will be almost free and you will pay for software subscriptions and services.


discuss what ?

people should be happy about the prices of todays 3d software since only a couple of years back it used to be about 4 to 5 times as much. not to mention the hardware you needed to run it. a simple gaming card wouldnt do back then.


its so expensive because it isn’t a toy that you mess about with for a weekend its a professional 3d animation package. not that its “that expensive” - i paid for mine by working in an electronics factory(typical monkey job) for 9 weeks … yes thats right only 9 weeks. so when you think about it, its not that expensive.


I think MWarsame is comparing the price relative to other 3D software packages.

If you want a less expensive package, take a look at Softimage XSI Foundation. It’s only $495 US.


dont get me wrong guys, what I meant was is it so expensive because companies developed stuff with 3D max and they earned fortune so max developers though hay why not make it expensive? :slight_smile:

ok Im making it sound like it used to be cheaper before but was it?

sorry about the word discuss, that intented for another posti in different forum and somehow it slipped over here :slight_smile:


Not sure on this, as I’m not a big fan of Maya, but isn’t it about 7000 USD?

Also, if you want to get 3ds Max cheap and are a student K-12 or College, go to DIscreet and thumb through their student resellers. You can get a 1 year version of it for only 120 USD.


$120 are joking? :slight_smile: is it really that much, but that is in US right, if it is on UK I’ll buy it right away on this week.

oh no, oh yes:) when I bough truespace 6.5 it was around I think £299 and then I bough Gamespace and wahay I wanted to buy Max for around £500 which I though that is how much is cost but you know… almost £3000 :frowning: thats why I started the topic


Why is a car expensive? Its because a lot of work goes into making those things.

Same goes for software. And it isnt meant for a broad demographic. Its a program used by people that make money with it. When you work professionally with that program you probably earn the money it cost you back in the first of at least the second project you do with it. So when you look at it that way its actually very cheap. Lots of equipment used in factories take year before turning into a profit.


What is the difference between a regular licence and a educational one what purpose do they serve.


Ryan B, your avatar is creepy, dude.


In a nutshell:

A “regular” license is a.k.a. a commercial license. This means that the user can use the software for a business and make money with the output from it (pending quality of course! :wink: ).

An educational license is just that. For educational purposes only. Usually these educational versions are only available to qualified students. These licenses are offered at a cheaper price point so students can reasonably afford the package in order to use it in a learning capacity. Educational licenses are fully functional applications with the only limitation being that the software cannot be used in a commercial (i.e. money-making) venture.

Another alternative are demos or “personal learning editions” which can also be used as an educational tool. The difference here is they’re predominantly free but also contain limitations in the software themselves (i.e. render output, save disabled, watermarks, etc.) in addition to being designed for non-commercial use.


Keep in mind that this is not software that is expected to sell millions upon millions of units, unlike a game, or a word processor. With a much smaller customer base, they have to adjust the price upwards just so that they can make enough money to cover the costs of develloping the software in the first place.


But i can like still print them and show people and stuff right on a education of course.


It is a historical thing, and a relative one.

3D Studio DOS, the predecessor of Max, kept the same price, slightly below $3K, from 1990 to 1995. In those days, the only other affordable package that would run on a PC was Lightwave 3D. Everything else (Softimage 3D, Alias Power Animator, Wavefront Advanced Visualizer, Prisms, you name it) was running on expensive Silicon Graphics hardware and the price was uncomparably higher (somewhere between 10 and 20 times?)

In 1995, when 3D Studio MAX was announced, its price was set at $3495. Here is the original press release from November 1995:

Autodesk Announces 3D Studio MAX Pricing and Migration Program

What: Autodesk Multimedia Market Group, the worldwide leader in
PC-based multimedia tools, today announced that 3D Studio MAX will be
available for a suggested retail price of US$3,495. Scheduled to ship
in calendar year Q1 1996, 3D Studio MAX is the first professional 3D
animation software completely designed to take advantage of the
Windows NT platform.

Autodesk also announced a migration program for 3D Studio Release 4
customers. Between now and the end of Q1 1996, new and existing 3D
Studio Release 4 customers can order 3D Studio MAX for a special
half-off migration price of US$495. This means that 3D Studio R4
customers who take advantage of this offer will be able to own both 3D
Studio R4 and 3D Studio MAX for less than the suggested retail price
of 3D Studio MAX alone. After March 31, 1996, the migration price to
3D Studio MAX will be US$995.

“This is a turning point in the price/performance continuum,” said Bob
Bennett, senior product manager for Autodesk’s 3D Studio MAX. "It
used to be that performance was linked to price. But now with MAX’s
great price and the power of its Windows NT architecture, you get the
performance of a high-priced workstation software on an inexpensive

Some funny 3D world trivia - Bob Bennett became later Maya product manager.
Maya’s product manager Chris Ford is currently Discreet’s Animation Group product manager (which includes 3ds max).

Anyway, the price of 3ds max has not changed in 9 years. Just everybody else became cheaper, trying to get down from the high-end effects
into the larger “consumer 3D” market, incl. games, web etc.
3D software is a business, and a price war is going on… Most people using 3ds max professionally will tell you that
it pays back in less than a single job. While the customer would prefer a lower price, it would mean less money for the company and probably less R&D for future releases.
(The real trick is to work for a company that would buy the licenses for you ;))

Hope this helps.


this whole thing ends up cycling around the whole uk pricing scheme dolars v pounds

3000 dolars would be fine but 3000 pounds is a lot more and most people just feel ripped off .

thats your answer


I can understand you question in the light of the other companies dropping their prices. I do think Discreet will eventually have to follow suite. They do have a huge user base that will be hard pressed to change their pipeline, but I would not rely on that to stay permanent. It is quite funny when you look at the history of Max. When I started using it way back in the 3D Studio Release 4 days, it was seen as a poor cousin to the likes of Softimage 3D and Power Animator. But as time has gone on, and when Autodesk bought Discreet and aligned Max with the flame side of the business, Max has moved up in the perception stakes. And along with that rise it has become more like the big boys in the way it presents itself (more marketing fluff and snobbery in my biased opinion), which is quite ironic considering that the old ‘big boys’ are moving down the food chain to ensure their survival.

But to answer your question, they are so expensive cause they can charge that and people will pay for it. I must say its toolset has matured well and with 7, they have finally made sure the core program has a strong CA toolset. I do think it is due for a rewrite however.


My take on it this:
Consider who uses 3D products, movies, games, entertainment, etc. They are making TONS of money off the product that these programs produce. Also take into account how often studios upgrade thier software, then think about how much development costs.

It all works out in the end.


'Max is so expensive because this is what the market will currently tolerate. There are zillions of jobs advertised for 'Max skilled folks so by and large its a self fulfulling prophesy. Discreet has no reason to lower the price until the majority of their sales start being down to licence renewals only, i.e. they’re not attracting new users.

I think the advice above is solid. If you need 'Max because you want a 'Max job then either get a demo version or enrole with a college so you can apply for educational pricing. Otherwise choose another app that’s cheaper and buy 'Max if you still want it when you’ve got the money.


tbh honest with max’s price its really like an inital investment if u go down the route of subscription. if ur paying £265 (i think cant remember waht our place pays) for a yearly subscription for the free upgrades Max is a lot cheaper then say Maya or XSI which quite happily charge u £600 for an upgrade.

I agree with someone elses comment with MAx needing a rewrite, theres way to many menus where stuff has been added and added to, i guess discreet dont want to alienate its user base by doing a complete ui/program rewrite.