CGSociety speaks to the Entertainment Industry Manager for Autodesk Media & Entertainment, Maurice Patel. He answers questions about the new additional ways to use Autodesk products in the movie, game and other entertainment production arena.
Autodesk has just announced software rental options. What are they exactly?
Software rental options provide customers with the ability to pay for and use Autodesk solutions only for the time they need them – essentially to ‘pay-as-you-go.’ So if a customer only needs the software for a few months they can purchase a rental plan for that period. We offer three rental plans: monthly, quarterly and annual.
Customers can still purchase a perpetual software license if they want to. Rental plans are an option for those people who do not want to purchase a perpetual license, either because they only have a short-term need or because they want to reduce upfront costs. Customers can purchase a perpetual license. This allows them to use the software indefinitely. They can then choose to upgrade (or not) when they need. They can also purchase a perpetual license with Autodesk Subscription which provides them with customer support services and ensures that they have access to the latest software. This is the most cost-effective alternative for customers who have long-term production, and sustained needs. Our rental offerings offer additional flexibility to meet short-term production needs. And customers have the choice to select the term that most closely matches their production needs: monthly, quarterly or annual basis.
Why is Autodesk introducing rental options?
The technology industry is highly dynamic. In Media & Entertainment, we have seen massive changes this year – from the introduction of next-generation gaming consoles to the crisis in the VFX industry. We believe rental plans can help our customers adapt to those changes and manage their businesses more effectively. Many of our customers have been asking for greater flexibility to manage the ebbs and flows of production. We already have a highly successful subscription business that provides customers with continuous access to our latest software. For Autodesk, rental is a means to extend that already successful model by providing our customers with greater flexibility and greater choice when it comes to how they can access our software.
So is rental much cheaper than purchasing software?
It is definitely more cost effective to purchase a rental plan if you need the software for fewer than 24 months. Our rental plans are just under 5% of the cost of a perpetual license making the break-even point is about 2.5 years, or two years if you include subscription to stay current, as you would be on a rental plan.
How do customers choose what is right for them?
There are two important considerations: type of company and length of project. An established company, large or small, with permanent production staff and throughput should continue to purchase perpetual licenses as these will be more cost effective in the long run. However they can ramp up (and scale back) production as needed through the hire of freelancers and the purchase of rental plans. This will give them the flexibility to better manage production highs and lows. On the other hand, a small start-up can reduce costs and manage financial risk by beginning with a rental plan and then switching to perpetual licenses once their business is more established. For anyone who just needs access to our software for a single project, rental will often be the most affordable way to complete that project – especially if it is of short duration.
What happens if I do not renew my rental plan? Do I lose my projects?
No. Autodesk rental plans are a means of licensing software not a service per-se, although some plans might include cloud services. Whether you purchase a rental plan or a perpetual license, you still download and install the software on your computer. Your projects and data reside on your storage. If you do not renew your plan you will not be able to run the software but you can still either send the project to someone who has an active license or renew your rental plan (at a future date) to access the data yourself.
Is rental available for all Autodesk products?
The rental plans are available primarily for Autodesk Suites. However, for Media & Entertainment customers, we will also be offering rental plans for 3ds Max, Maya and Maya LT. Softimage, Mudbox and MotionBuilder rental options are available only through the Entertainment Creation Suites.
Are there any differences in the software depending on how I license it?
Both software rental plans and perpetual licenses offer the same full, commercial versions of Autodesk software that you install on your desktop. You also have similar maintenance and support options whether you buy a rental plan or a perpetual license with Autodesk Subscription. The primary difference is that when a rental plan ends, the software stops working until you renew your plan or purchase a new rental plan. With a perpetual license if you stop renewing your Subscription you will lose the maintenance and support benefits; however, your software will continue to function. Regardless of how you buy, you will always retain ownership of your work and the files you created within the software.
When and where can customers buy an Autodesk rental plan?
Now. You’ll be able to purchase a monthly or annual rental plan directly from the Autodesk E-Store. You will also be able to purchase quarterly or annual plans from an Autodesk Authorized Reseller.