Pricing Transition with Autodesk Software

It is that time of year that my Autodesk subscription is up for renewal, so it makes me think about the latest pricing system that Autodesk has been implementing lately.

I had been on the “Subscription” plan for years, but that name was changed to be called the “Maintenance” plan in 2016.  The new “Subscription” program is entirely different than the old subscription program even though it has the same name.  Yes, that can be confusing.

As part of the (previous) subscription plan (now maintenance plan) I have been using the “Autodesk Building Design Suite Premium” which included:

  • AutoCAD
  • AutoCAD Architecture
  • AutoCAD MEP
  • AutoCAD Raster Design
  • Showcase
  • ReCap
  • 3ds Max
  • Navisworks Simulate
  • Revit

By changing and going with the new Subscription plan, I am being transitioned to the new “AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction) Collection” package.  This package includes 26 different software packages for a range of disciplines from Architects to MEP engineers to bridge design engineers to civil engineers.  (See list here)

Some impacts of the change include:


  • More software packages available to users
  • Navisworks Manage is now included versus just Navisworks Simulate
  • Dynamo Studio is now included


  • Many software packages that will never be needed or used by most users since it includes multiple disciplines.
  • My understanding is that under the new subscription plan the seat will be assigned to a user versus a computer.
    • This can create issues with multiple part-time users needing to use the same computer at different times.
    • Each need to use the same login ID (Named User).
  • Subscription price must be paid every year or software will quit working on the computer.
    • Small firms will no longer be able to wait to upgrade and also keep using their software until they upgrade.
    • Previous subscription plan was a “perpetual” license, which meant that you could essentially use it “forever” once you paid for the software version.

Times change and methods of paying for software also changes.  While Autodesk allows users to stay on the Maintenance plan (formally Subscription), that is a temporary situation.  It will be phased out and Autodesk is making it more expensive every year to stay on it until users are forced to change.

My Concern

I have a fear that many firms will be adversely affected with the new Subscription pricing system when we inevitably have a downturn in the economy.  Companies may not be able to afford to pay for the license during a particularly bad year and will then lose the usage of their software.  During bad times, a company will likely see a reduction in employees, so they will not need all of their software licenses.  They will likely reduce the number of seats on subscription during the downturn, so they will need to pay a premium to back to the original number of seats that they used.

This will also affect sole proprietor Architects and Engineers as they retire.  In the past, they could continue to use the software for miscellaneous projects after they retired.  This will no longer be the case for them.

Please talk with your Autodesk reseller for more information about the changes and for pricing. This article is by no means a complete evaluation of the new subscription pricing.

See more information from Autodesk here.


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