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Autodesk To Offer Pay-As-You-Go Software ‘Rental’ Licenses

New pricing options address calls from visual effects & games industries for flexibility, lower startup costs

Software giant Autodesk is shifting to pay-as-you-go “rental” licenses for much of its most popular software for visual effects, animation and content creation.

The new plans permit customers to buy monthly, quarterly or annual subscriptions to Autodesk’s Design and Creation suites, 3ds Max, Maya and the new Maya LT. Traditional perpetual software licenses will remain available. The rental rates become available Sept. 16.

“While rental is an Autodesk-wide initiative, it actually has particular importance in the media and entertainment space,” Maurice Patel, entertainment industry manager for Autodesk Media Entertainment, told Variety. “Productions can be short-lived, companies sometimes bring in a lot of freelancers to meet a deadline, so this kind of model is very applicable to that kind of scenario.”

With the pay-as-you go option, new startups will need less cash up front to get running with Autodesk software, and large companies that need to expand temporarily can buy short-term licenses rather than pay full freight for additional seats.

The rental plans charge 5% the cost of a perpetual license. Patel said compared with a subscription plan, which ensures the customer always has the latest software release, a rental would be as much as a perpetual license in about 2 1/2 years.

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“If you’re a large company with permanent production and permanent staff it’s still more cost-effective for you to purchase perpetual licenses,” said Patel.

Patel said Autodesk has often heard requests for flexibility from visual effects and games companies that have to staff up for tight deadlines. Games in particular, he said, are going to need greater access to top-flight computer graphics tools going forward.

“The next generation of consoles are going to give a level of quality where people will actually start trying to play the cut scene, as they say. Game quality is going to reach new levels.”

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