This is a controversial topic I know, but why not poke the bear a little bit. I believe it would be great if Rhino would offer an optional annual license.
The main reason people don’t like cloud based subscription models is that if you stop paying you lose access to the software. I don’t like this either. What I do like a lot about cloud based models is that you don’t have to wait 1 year, 2 years, 3 years to get an update for the software.
Both Fusion and Onshape introduce new and improved functionality on a monthly basis. This is really nice, that means if the developers at McNeel finish a great new feature they can release it and all the Rhino users that are on subscription benefit from this.
One company that I believe has a great license structure is Graebert, the company that makes the Ares Commander AutoCAD clone. Screenshot below.
-If you pay the annual license fee, your software will be continually updated throughout the year and you get access to support. This is actually a very reasonable $250 per year.
-If you don’t want to pay an annual license fee you can buy the full version install it on your computer and use it as long as you want and never upgrade if you don’t want or need to.
Imagine the following scenario. Rhino is installed on your computer and you are free to use it as long as you want, no changes there, same as it is now. User that are on the subscription model get new and improved features on a monthly basis. Yay. software Christmas every month!
Let’s say I can’t afford to be on subscription all the time. I have Rhino installed on my computer and can use it as long as I want. Rhino is releasing updates to the software on a monthly basis, I review the new features and they don’t improve my workflow. I simply keep using the one I have, but after let’s say three years Rhino releases a new features that would enhance my workflow.
I get back on the subscription model and the fresh Rhino install does come with all the new features that have accumulated. For some users this may mean they purchase an annual license once and hardly ever upgrade because it does what they need it to do. but for other users that are on subscription, they get upgraded features on a monthly basis. I know I would love that.
The reason I say this, is because I don’t understand Why we need Rhino V4, V5, V6, V7 etc. everytime we wait years to get one big batch of enhancements, many I’m sure having been done early in the development process and just sitting dormant until the release.
Get rid of the Version designations and just let Rhino be Rhino. You pay the license fee, you get access to Rhino for one year and the monthly updates that come with that. If you stop paying the annual fee, you no longer get access to the monthly updates, but you can continue to use Rhino until you see it fit to get back on subscription.
The benefit for users is that they get access to new and improved features on a monthly basis and don’t have to wait years for a batch of new features. The benefit for McNeel is that they will a much more consistent revenue stream to support the development and enhancement of new features. Just a though, but I know I could really get behind this model.