Subscriptions, The Plight is Real

ARTCollaborations News   •   March 3, 2018

Over the last few years, a new trend has occurred with software manufacturers. Many now offer Subscriptions as either the only way to use their software or they offer it as an option. To those who offer it as an option, THANK YOU…no really THANK YOU! Did I mention THANK YOU! I can understand having it as an option for large companies, those who may only need the software temporarily, to help with development costs while working on the software, etc. That said, having it as the ONLY option seriously inhibits others, like myself, from wanting to use the software anymore. There is something to be said for paying endlessly and, in the end, owning “Nothing”. That 100% does NOT appeal to me.

Not All Subscriptions are the Same

There are lots of companies that have went to Subscriptions (either as an option or as the only option):


(I know there are more but those ones come to mind)

That said, not all subscription services are created equal. Some are done in a way that I find actually inviting and useful to everyone. The company that comes to mind here is Allegorithmic. I despise subscriptions with the purple passion of 1000 flaming suns, but Allegorithmic is the exception to what is a pretty firm rule with me. So what makes their Subscription Service the exception? For me, that answer is pretty easy. They have worked their subscriptions in a way that adds benefits without “taking away” anything. I love their subscription service for the following reasons:

1. After you pay for x amount of time, you actually OWN the software (Big one for me, if this was not the case, I wouldn’t Subscribe to them either)
2. You get added benefits as they have included materials from Substance Source as part of the Subscription and to make that better, those materials are not “on rent” either. Whatever ones you choose monthly are yours to use even once the subscription ends.
3. I have NEVER seen a company that does as much Development and offers as many updates as this one does (making it well worth giving them a little something every month so they can keep doing so)

To say I am a fan of their ideas on what a subscription should be and how they have administered it would be an understatement. Personally, Allegorithmic probably has a customer for life as far as I’m concerned. Dear other companies, PLEASE look to this one as the example of what a subscription service can be.

What Option Do I Have?

I know it can seem like in certain cases, there just is no choice. If you need the software, and there is no purchase option, then you have to do what you have to do. I, myself, have found myself pondering that dilemma. What do I do when it is software that I need or use frequently? What I have found is there are companies that are popping up offering alternatives that may work for you if you are tight on monthly funds, aren’t sure from one month to the next what you will have money wise, or for those who just can’t get themselves to pay endlessly and risk losing access in times of financial hardship when you may need that access to the software the most.

For those interested, here are some alternatives to big titles that I have found:

Alternative to Adobe Photoshop – Affinity Photo ($50.00 to Purchase), GIMP (Open Source – Free)
Alternative to Adobe Illustrator – Affinity Designer ($50.00 to Purchase), Inkscape (Open Source – Free)
Alternative to Adobe InDesign – Scribus (Open Source – Free)
Alternative Modeling Applications – Silo ($129.00 to Purchase), Hexagon (Free BETA),  Blender (Open Source – Free)

What Will the Future Hold…

With more and more alternatives popping up, I do wonder if eventually we will see more companies either scrap the idea of subscription, offer purchase options as well as subscriptions (rather than only), or possibly move to something similar to what Allegorithmic has done. Only time will tell, but I think as more and more people search for alternatives, companies may have to rethink their strategy since I think it makes some software inaccessible to certain groups of potential customers.