At the recent World Press Day Autodesk announced the demise of Autodesk Viz and their intention to “encourage” Viz customers to move to Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2009. It’s a subset of 3ds Max 2009 optimised for architects, designers, and visualisation specialists. As a Viz subscription customer I was interested to read this “encouragement” was the opportunity to give Autodesk more money (based on the US pricing in the press release):
From March 31, 2008 to July 17, 2008, existing Autodesk VIZ 2008 software Subscription customers will be able to cross-grade to 3ds Max Design 2009 for US$249**. During this same timeframe, Autodesk VIZ 2006, 2007, and 2008 customers who are not on Autodesk Subscription will be able to cross-grade to 3ds Max Design 2009 for US$895**, if they purchase Autodesk Subscription for 3ds Max Design 2009.
Autodesk Subscription will be available for purchase simultaneously with the product purchase or upgrade. The Autodesk suggested retail price for Autodesk Subscription for 3ds Max or 3ds Max Design will be US $495* per year.
* International pricing may vary. ** International pricing may vary. This promotion only applies to Autodesk VIZ purchases made prior to February 12, 2008.
Here is the justification for Subscription from the Autodesk website in my region;
Simplify your technology upgrades and boost your design productivity with the complete software, support, and training package from Autodesk® Subscription. With Autodesk Subscription you get the latest releases of your Autodesk® software, incremental product enhancements, personalised web support direct from Autodesk technical experts, and self-paced training to help extend your skills.
An email arrived recently addressed to “Dear valued Autodesk® VIZ Customer” including this statement:
In the coming months, we will be working to manage the transition of VIZ customers to 3ds Max Design. As part of this transition, all Autodesk VIZ development efforts are being transferred to 3ds Max Design, and there is no plan for further development of Autodesk VIZ software.
Given Autodesk decided to kill Viz and transfer all development to 3ds Max Design surely “the latest releases of your [my] Autodesk® software” is now 3ds Max Design?
While 3ds Max Design is a far superior application it would have been decent to recognise the subscription commitment by migrating current Viz Subscribers with no cross-grade fee. I didn’t decide Viz was inadequate or choose to upgrade my Viz to Max. Autodesk killed Viz to simplify their code-base for development and other business reasons. Viz users wanting to remain compatible with the latest partner applications (Revit, AutoCAD, Inventor) have little choice other than cross-grade at a price. Not exactly my idea of encouraging valued subscription customers.
I'm not sure what I'll do as it will depend on the final regional pricing. If it follows the US model, as I expect, I'll drop my personal Viz Subscription and recommend the same for most of them at work. If that's the case Autodesk's attempt to "encourage" this Viz user by charging for a migration I didn't want/need means they'll probably loose a few “valued” subscribers. The price of killing Viz…