Our resident licensing expert Kim Beard explains the difference between Autodesk’s new Desktop Subscriptions and your usual common or garden Autodesk licence…
What are Autodesk Subscriptions?
Back in the day, Autodesk only offered one kind of subscription, and it gave you access to support, resources and free version upgrades. Now, that’s known as a Maintenance Subscription and a new player has entered the game: Desktop Subscriptions.
A Desktop Subscription is also termed a Licence, and in layman’s terms it’s a you rent the licence on an annual or quarterly basis, rather than buying it outright. Rather than buy a licence and then pay an annual maintenance fee, you pay a flat fee every year or quarter, and Autodesk make sure you have access to the latest version of your software.
Does this mean perpetual licences are being phased out?
No! Both perpetual licences and Desktop Subscriptions are available from Autodesk.
Who would want an Autodesk Subscription?
If you’re a new business looking to limit your initial spend, renting your licences for the first couple of years is a cheaper alternative to buying them outright straight away – especially if you expect the number of staff you employ to fluctuate over your first few years of operations. Similarly, any company that takes on extra staff on a project-by-project basis can save by having a core of perpetual licences, then effectively renting any additional ones on an annual or quarterly basis using Desktop Subscriptions.
And, surprisingly, this could actually be a great deal for any of you using Autodesk’s LT range. With the full versions of applications like AutoCAD and Maya, it only takes three to four years for a Desktop Subscription to add up to the price of a perpetual licence. But if you’re using an LT package, the lower subscription fee means it could take up to a decade for a Desktop Subscription to cost you as much as a perpetual licence, by which time your workflow could have changed entirely.
How does the cost compare to perpetual licences?
Buying a full licence of Autodesk 3ds Max or Maya costs £3625 (all prices are SRP), and a Maintenance Subscription to keep your licence up to date will cost £1280 every year thereafter. An annual Desktop Subscription includes maintenance, so will just cost you £1280 per year. Over time, you end up with a cost comparison that looks like this: