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Posted Fri Jan 11, 2013 - by Paul Roberts


New Autodesk upgrade prices from 1 February 2013


Autodesk are changing the way upgrade prices work from 1 February 2013. The current cost depends on the age of the release being upgraded. The new model sets a flat rate of approximately 70% of a current new license price, and only the previous 6 versions are eligible for upgrade. For more information on these changes, and illustrations of how this will impact your upgrade path, read more at


by Steve Green - January 11, 2013 11:58 am

They really don’t have a clue, do they?

by SuperRune - January 11, 2013 12:12 pm

I was going to end my subscription this year, because of the lack of valuable updates. This will actually pull the value of 3ds Max down even more. Are they even aware of the fact there’s a recession going on?

by Steve Green - January 11, 2013 12:23 pm

As I just said on CGTalk, it’s trying to spook users (who are suffering a downturn with everyone else) into subscription with increasingly scary upgrade prices.

All it’s done with me is think that I may as well wait even longer or just stick with what I have until another (non Autodesk) app takes my fancy.

If the cost of upgrading is equal to a new seat of another app, why on earth would someone plump for marginal updates?

With that debacle over subscription last year, you’d think they’d want to try to offer a bit of a carrot, rather than waving a sh*tty stick at Max users.

They may be desperate to raise revenue, but this is no way to do it – seems they learnt nothing from the price hikes which killed off combustion.

by Andrew - January 11, 2013 5:02 pm

Subscription has been a great way to get customers to pay Autodesk to be beta testers. 2012-2013 was our last year on subscription, see you in 6 years (or more likely never) ADSK.

by JohnnyRand - January 11, 2013 5:10 pm

The thing it is, it is not just max it is autodesk wide and max just happens to be having a particularly difficult time as of the last few versions. This is the current tend across the board, Adobe is pulling this crap too.

The one I find most irritating is Realflow I will not fall for their ruse again, 1000 bucks a year and I have only seen two minor updates in the last 16 months. Come two more months I would saved money by just waiting for an upgrade. Or even better I may just rent from here on out.

This trend does nothing but leave a bad taste in the users mouth.

Because frankly I am getting sick and tired of dropping thousands of dollars a year on “maintenance” when it used to be only hundreds and we saw a lot more bang for our buck.

by Marc - January 11, 2013 5:34 pm

I totally agree. But at least with RealFlow it feels like real upgrades. Like it felt with Maya in the old days.

The 3ds Max development is really sad to look at in my opinion.
Nothing but “pretty” new Interfaces that will even slow down your workflow and Plugins/Scripts bought to turn them into “features”. (NodeJoe, Polyboost etc…)

by Nildo - January 12, 2013 4:05 am

Lol this is insane…in my case i have only started to use max13 this month..was on max 2011 ever since..paid for max12 didnt use it, max 13 same thing…

I will not be subscribing this year.

by zBRUSH DON - January 12, 2013 4:32 am

Out of touch, look at zbrush free updates, and they make good updates.
Autodesk do nothing, just bundle some free stuff like Alembic and its an update, no no no, and mudbox is no zbrush

by Johannes Schloerb - January 12, 2013 6:52 am

I privately used to have a subscription, as well as the company I mostly work for, but we let it expire after just two terms, as we hardly ever use the most recent version. It’s always too unstable to rely on until at least SP1. In fact we’ve just recently moved on to MAX 2012.
IMHO there is barely any advantage in today’s “major releases”. Compared to the huge advances that have been made with each new release in the good old times (MAX1 to MAX3 era), it is ridiculous how they always just implement third-party tools and then just mess around with the interface for no reason other than let it appear to be “new” – while it is mostly a pain in the a$$ for the long-time user then to find most basic functions.
Pay more for that now? No, thanks!

by zwischendrin - January 14, 2013 4:23 am

Poor Autodesk. I think it’s time for the Federal Trade Commission / Bundeskartellamt to take a look at this company. It’s a bit like Adobe controlling the market and playing with it’s customers. Just yesterday I quit our 3D Studio Max subscription.

by Jean-Francois Yelle - January 14, 2013 8:08 am

For a starter, the recession is affecting everybody. Autodesk is trying to get to its growth targets the best it can. The push for a subscription model seems quite obvious to me.

I think the anger is due because these changes in the business model and pricing happen at the same time of a bigger change in the 3D products life cycle (Max and Maya are on the same boat). The products are now mature (mostly complete) and adding features is no longer an sufficient incentive to get the user buying.

Adobe has been going through the same problem. As a corp that is used to sell a new version to each legit user every couple of years, just how do you adjust to the new deal where what you have is enough?

Apple (HW and SW together) has been dealing with this through programmed obsolescence… Blizzard has been very efficient with its WoW subscription model (involving a client/server solution – I think it’s called “cloud”).

by SuperRune - January 14, 2013 11:59 am

My anger is due to the fact that I feel like I’m forced to be on an upgrade cycle that feels completely random in term of actual usefulness – a cycle that keeps on getting more and more expensive.

My subscription invoice is due in February, and I haven’t got a clue about what I will get for my 1800 dollars! There have been some bugfixes, but otherwise all my subscription has given me is an interface that keeps getting poorer and plugins that I have already purchased. My 2013 box is still in its wrapping, and for the next project I will actually try to downgrade to 2010 or 2009 – since I haven’t been able to find video card drivers that give perfomance in 2011 and 2012.

Adobe had done some great things the past years, Photoshop has seen some major improvements – and Premiere and AfterFX works wonderful together. You feel like you’re actually paying for something when you buy a new CS package. Autodesk has been very clever in monopolizing the business, there simply is no alternative at the moment – but I’m ready to jump when an alternative arrives.

by Steve Green - January 14, 2013 12:45 pm

What they seem to be ignoring is it’s not necessarily the end users they need to be worried about, it’s the third-party developers and scripters.

If they don’t stay current, then gaps may start to appear in functionality and the product regresses in usefulness in certain areas, which in turn puts off more customers.

Max’s strength is also a vulnerability.

by Jean-Francois Yelle - January 14, 2013 3:59 pm

Steve, I’m exposing the same concerns on my technical blog!
The 3rd party developers need some help on better organizing and ensuring all plugins and their software are coherent and stable.

A pipeline built on any DCC (digital creation content software) is a very delicate system that need to be locked once production has begun on it. I don`t understand how subscription work in that context and to back me up, I have seen many users holding on specific max builds for years.

I also witnessed a _disastrous_ spontaneous update to a max patch during a 50M game production cycle. (It corrupted about 50% of the game assets). If I would have been the technical director, I would have been breathing fire.



by Karlis Stigis - January 14, 2013 5:49 pm

A problem starts when company have to pay more money in salaries for marketers then programmers and actual developers. That is actually ironic, because they want to sell more.. so have more marketing people, but then they have to pay them.. and then they have to make product more expensive.. and then.. everyone goes open source. ;) I like those programs.. and I now they are kind of a little bit beter, maybe they have some some special features, but.. Blender has it’s good sides also.

by JohnnyRand - January 14, 2013 9:19 pm

I am glad someone other than me brought that up. I don’t like being the one to say get rid of a particular group of people at a company. This is pretty obvious though and a point well made.

This reminds of that damn gold mining TV show, gold rush Alaska. SO the first year they are out there digging a little hole in the ground finding a little gold, enough more than likely had they stuck to it. Next years solution? Make the gold mine 10 times bigger to find 10 times more gold BUT it is also 20 times more expensive. WTF ?!

Why do companies not balance on strength of current. Why must they always expand out of the britches just so they can go buy bigger pants. I just don’t understand. Leverage quality not quantity.

by resty - January 15, 2013 3:45 am

Bugs Bunny: “Thats Autodesk for you Folks !” *music*

Autodesk does have crappy upgrades for both Max and Maya, XSI is the only one that gets something useful and not just piar.
They probably did so because they bought Naiad and will integrate it in their trinity. They did so with dat physics and XSI so maybe they will do it without rising the price much or renaming Naiad? One can only dream though…

Also it seems that XSI IS the best tool outhere. I guess it has some very well made API because Max and Maya are getting less stable, have some regressions. While XSI is getting better, fixing bugs and adding new usefull features.

by Steve Green - January 15, 2013 4:25 am


most of my work these days is short turnaround (a couple of months at absolute most), but when I was working games, with 18month development cycles it was pretty much unheard of to change versions during production.

You might have a couple of versions running to R&D the current version, but in most pipelines subscriptions don’t really make much sense.

Sure it means AD get a chunk in advance and is easier to plan ahead, but it didn’t stop them making redundancies even after Ken was bigging up how well Max was selling in previous years.

It’s just a flawed system of development overall, hiring and firing on the basis that we didn’t sell quite enough this year is fine for a product which finishes (like a film), but for an evolving product which needs continuity it seems short-termist and self-defeating.

As long as shareholders take priority over customers it’s not going to change.

by David Rees - January 15, 2013 2:25 pm

We have 11 users here, using Max since 1999, and I agree that the ROI on recent versions is so low as to be negative; ie: AD introduces interface changes and bugs that cause us a productivity loss that is never regained, like the viewport switching bug, or removing colour from icons. The value of features is also low, IMHO, and we paid for subscription for versions we never used because they were so bad, like 2011 and 2013 (I’m not a fan of any Max release since 2009). Now we have to waste time to vote on SATs so AD will fix bugs they introduced, then pay them for the upgrade! I’m really pissed, more every year, and as a user, I don’t give a shit about useless additions like Gepetto that only exist to excite new users. Well, that’s my rant. Hopefully they’ll listen, but I doubt it -that viewport bug is 4 yrs old, so I don’t think they care about anything but $ale$

by Steve Green - January 15, 2013 3:51 pm

Regarding Geppetto – from all the stuff we saw about adaptive animation, the only publicly available demo has had very simplistic crowd simulation, but the original Siggraph (2006!) demo made it sound like it was going to be more ambitious.

I really don’t know what they’ve been doing all these years with it.

by Gemma - January 15, 2013 7:35 pm

We were having problems with Max for about two years. A year ago we switched to Softimage(formally XSI), even though its ADSK ( I have a lot of gripes about ADSK), it seems Autodesk have left Softimage alone with the programmers/development team in Singapore. I occasionally tinker around in Max at work, but that is usually when I am rendering in Softimage. Like a previous post stated, Softimage has bugs like all software but it is very minimal. I love Max, I was a fan girl of Max for a while but I have moved on. Thanks Autodesk for ruining Max and Maya. Please leave Softimage alone.

by SuperRune - January 16, 2013 4:44 am

Softimage looks really really interesting. The only thing holding me back from doing a proper evaluation is the fact that Softimage is also under the Autodesk umbrella!

by David Rees - January 16, 2013 8:18 am

I’d seriously consider switching to something like Maya (Nurbs support would be useful for me), but Max’s big advantage for me is the selection of renderers -everything comes out for Max first (we’re excited about Corona (renderer and beer!)), so switching software is too big a hurdle for now. I pray that AD start reacting to threads like this, and commit to quality improvements (seriously, have you seen AD’s SAT site and the things you have to vote on for them to FIX?!? It’s a wishlist for fixing bugs- wtf?).

by Johannes Schloerb - January 17, 2013 12:50 am

Wasn’t there an announcement some day, that Frank DeLise is going to take over again? What is his view on this?

by spacefrog - January 17, 2013 2:29 am

There are similar thread going on currently on cgsociety and the area. Frank has actually took over, but seems to operate the ship in a different, more silent mode ( my impression ), less hype building than in the past. I miss more public statements too, but from time to time he drops a short message of assurance, which sound quite reasonable…
There’s some london userevent coming up where he will make an appearance, so for people arround that area it would be good to appear there and make there points…
Frank posted in those two threads recently–3ds-max-design-2013/3ds-max-2014whats-coming-down-the-line/page-4/

PS: i think the subscription pricing change is out of Frank’s responsibility, so i doubt bombarding him with this issue at the event makes much sense. Better would be direct Max development related issues IMHO

Here’s the link to the event, were frank will appear ( 6th feb. 2013 )
As it seems NDA’s have to be signed, so there might be some real info be given there…

by JohnnyRand - January 17, 2013 5:07 pm

The pricing change affect all of autodesk products, it is not just limited to Media & Entertainment division.

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