New Licensing Terms For Greyscalegorilla Products

December 3, 2015 - By 

UPDATE: Thanks to all the honest discussion in the comments, we have updated our terms to make it more affordable and easier for our customers to update their favorite plugins and join us into 2016. Read more about the new changes here.

Greyscalegorilla has gone through quite a few big changes over the years. As any growing business, we have to.

This entire journey, of course, started off with just me in my bedroom seven years ago. Now, we have seven people in four different states all helping to make Greyscalegorilla the absolute best place to learn how to make beautiful stuff with Cinema 4D.

To help provide even more value for our customers and fans, we are announcing some new licensing terms for our software.

All Greyscalegorilla Plugins now include one full year of product updates and customer support. We are also adding new Team Rendering abilities with all licenses.

What does this mean for our customers? Here is an overview:

  • All Greyscalegorilla Software Purchases now include one year of free updates and customer support.
  • You can renew each year to continue to get updates and customer support at a special renewal price.
  • You always get to keep and use what you download. No DRM. No expiring software.
  • Team Rendering is now supported with single user purchases.

Want to learn more? Visit our License Page, or keep reading below.

Can I still use my plugin even if I don’t renew?

Yes. Absolutely. What you download is yours to use even if you decide not to renew. Your renewal adds another year of support and updates to your software.

What Does a Renewal Cost?

Light Kit Pro Renewal – $29 per license
HDRI Studio Pack Renewal – $39 per license
Greyscalegorilla HDRI Collection Renewal – $79 per license
Texture Kit Pro Renewal – $29 per license
Signal Renewal – $29 per license
Transform Renewal – $59 per license
City Kit Renewal – $29 per licnese
Topcoat Renewal – $29 per license

When Will Renewals Become Available?

Licenses will be emailed to our customers on Monday, December 7th 2015. If your license was purchased over 1 year ago, you will receive instructions on how to get ongoing updates.

All Current customers

We will be sending you all emails this week that will have instructions on how renew with the prices listed above. Thanks again for being an ongoing Greyscalegorilla customer.

New Product Purchases

Your new product purchase grants you access to one year of support and updates. After your year is up, if you’d like to continue to receive product updates and support for another year, you can renew at the renewal price.

You don’t have to renew to continue using our products. However, an active license will be required in order continue to get the latest product updates and customer support. You can renew your license at any time, whether it is active or expired.

Is Anything Else Included Other Than Updates and Customer Support?

Yes. You will also be able to download extra content related to your plugin. New HDRIs, New Textures, New Transform Presets, ETC.

Also, all renewed licenses will also add the ability to use our software on up to 10 team render nodes.

We will be sure to provide as much value as possible for our customers. We want this to be a “no brainer” when it comes time to renew next year.

What If I Purchased a Product recently?

Updates and customer support for that product will expire one year after your original purchase date. However, you will be eligible for the update price if you choose to renew. You will receive an email with instructions when your license is up for renewal.

How Do I Keep getting updates and customer support? What is the process like?

Near the end of your year, you will get an email with instructions on how to renew your license through our store. The email will include a link for your renewal.

What is the new Team Render License all about?

Starting today, if you use Team Render and Greyscalegorilla Plugins, You can now install our plugins on up to 10 Team Render Clients per license you own. Even more incentive to keep your licenses current.

REMEMBER, each person (not machine) on your team that uses our plugins will need their own license.

I already renewed at the old pricing? Can I get a refund?

Yes. Contact support and let them know. They will take care of your refund. Thanks for supporting us!

Does this Include X-Particles?

No. We sell X-Particles on behalf of Insydium. Their license is their own and we do not have the authority to change it.

Do you have a question that I didn’t answer? Please ask it in the comments below or stop by one of the live shows this week where I will be answering any questions you have about our new licensing directly.

I want this transition to be as easy and as clear as possible as we move forward on this journey together. I want to thank you again so much for being a customer and for supporting Greyscalegorilla. I am here if you have any questions!

Posted In:  News
137  comments
137 Comments
  • I understand that you need to make money and software is going the subscription route – but I own all of your products except for Signal Noise and with this new plan it will cost me about $600 per year to keep my GSG tools updated (if I update each year with the 30% break) – which is the same as I need to pay Adobe to keep the entire Creative Suite updated and Maxon to keep C4D updated. It seems disproportionate to me, especially since in most cases you do not add features or update your tools other than compatibility with the new versions of C4D (I realize you will be adding HDRIs to the collections so there is new value there).

    I also realize I get to continue to use the tools even if I do not renew – but it seems that Maxon sometimes breaks your tools with their version updates so then I would not be able to use them without a new purchase (correct?).

    Would you consider some sort of volume break for people with so many of your tools? Or what about a cheaper “no tech support” annual license (I have sent one simple tech support request in 8 years).

    • Thanks for the questions, Mike. I totally understand what you mean. We will add ways to get all of our plugins for one low yearly renew soon.

      As for your second paragraph, we will do our best to keep old versions up to date with current versions of Cinema 4D. But, big changes in C4D require big rewrites of our code and must be an exclusive part of new versions at some point.

      For the third question. We are considering that as well. We definitely want to give our best customers a way to renew easily and for less than getting things separately.

      Thanks again for the feedback. Keep it coming!
      Nick

    • I agree. It’s getting a bit steep if a customer owns lots of your products.

      • Thanks for the feedback, Juuso. This is a big reason we are having our 40% Holiday sale for an entire week instead of 24 or 48 hours like we usually do. We want to give our best customers a chance to purchase or renew at a substantial discount.

        • Nick,
          I am a hobbyist, I am also retired on Social Security. I have all of your products and would love to keep them up to date. But to pay over $600 to update them at 40% off is too steep for me. I will do a couple that I use all the time when playing but since I am not making money at this I cannot justify paying what I pay for an MSA to Maxon for plugins. They are great don’t get me wrong but I do hope you can lower the price for non commercial users. I had drop the Adobe Creative Suite as well keeping only the Photoshop and Lightroom bundle because of cost.
          Thanks for listening.
          Stephen

    • We think $600 was too expensive as well. Please check the new “UPDATE” section of this blog post and my new comment in this comment section for more details. Thanks again for your feedback.

  • salue nick.

    thanks for you explanation. cause i’m in the same position like mike h. nearly every GSG tool and i’m loving them and now all the changes so close to the holiday season …
    autsch … thats hurts my privat budget … so i have to see if i can capture the flag and can afford the deal and the changes at GSG. hope so …
    with regards from bauhaus.city.weimar.
    bh.

  • Hi Nick,

    Yes I have pretty much all your products, I hope there will be a loyalty discount on renewals

  • Love your products.

    Does this licensing arrangement enable render farms to more reasonably integrate support for HDRI Studio Pack? I was excited to upgrade to v2 but then disappointed when none of the farms I work with supported it.

    It’s always a pipeline thing…

  • It looks like I won’t take that route.
    Business wise, I can totally understand your decision.
    As a customer, anytime i can avoid this model, I quit and look for alternatives.
    Thanks for all you guys doing.
    Regard’s,
    J

  • Hi Nick,
    I’m with Mike on this, it’s a bit steep, especially as I’ve just purchased Signal, Texture Kit Pro, and HDRI studio.
    As Mike points out the entire Adobe suite costs about the same, and these are programes not plugins.

    Regards

    Nick

    • Thanks for the comment. I understand this seeming expensive when comparing to all you get from Adobe. But our license is much different. We will never take away your ability to use our software if you stop renewing. Adobe doesn’t allow that.

      • Sorry Nick but this festive turkey is not going to fly.
        I’ve looked at the comments here and can’t see a single one in favor of this plan.
        Personally I’ll think twice about using the plugins I already have, because I’m aware that if I become dependent on them, at this sort of cost it’s like digital crack, I’ll have to just keep shelling out.

      • Finally – what makes this a particularly bitter pill to swallow is that I shelled out $303 for 3 plugins a few days before you announced the 40% sale – I could have saved myself over a $100

  • Don’t think i understand. Why would I repurchase everything? You’re talking about an “upgrade” price right? If some of us have the “everything bundle”, woah. Plus accounting works differently for purchasing software vs upgrading. Purchasing new, is a harder hurdle than upgrading currently owned software. At least here.

    • Thanks for the question, Jake. Anybody that purchased before 2015 (I think that’s you if you have the everything bundle) will have no license key to upgrade. And, your ability to download updates will end Jan 1 2016. One reason we are having this sale all week is so that pre 2014 customers can get into our new license key system at a much lower cost. So while technically to our store it is a repurchase, it’s at a lower cost than a regular renewal which will be 30% off. I hope that makes sense. Let me know if it doesn’t.

  • Hmmm…. I’ve bought your very first plugin years ago, and kept buying them all. I know you need to pay your bills, but repurchasing plugins (even with a discount) on a yearly basis doesn’t sit well with me. Don’t get me wrong, the plugins have value and I enjoy using them all but I’m starting to resent being forced into buying software on a calendar basis. I didn’t like it when Adobe did their subscription BS (I’ve refused to go the CC route and have found other options). I don’t mind paying for major upgrades (1.0 to 2.0, etc.) if the upgrade offers additional benefit. But to rebuy the same software year-after-year is not a good direction in my opinion. I would suggest reconsidering this approach and perhaps create additional tools, plugins, addons, or scripts (even low-cost simple ones) to increase your cash flow. But it’s your business. It just doesn’t make me a happy customer. Good luck.

    • I’ve got all your software too. If you think people are going to willingly repurchase all the software again, even at 40% off, well that is wishful thinking. This strategy sounds like the beginning of the end of GSG. I hope you’ll reconsider this move and instead choose to find alternate sources of income as Vinny suggests.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Vinny. To be clear, you only have to update when you want to and are never forced to update to continue to use our plugins. Hope that makes sense.

  • I’ve got almost all of your software, which is great stuff! It would be really helpful if you could post a price for annual renewal of everything as a bundle, hopefully at a good price, in advance of the sale, so we could see beforehand whether that makes more sense than renewing piecemeal. I understand there is no free lunch. Well, except of course for those tasty tutorials!

    • Thanks, Richard. We are talking a lot internally about a way to get ALL of our plugins for one low price without having to renew every one separately or having to justify each purchase to a boss in some cases. We hope to have more to say about this soon. I appreciate you supporting us!

  • Hey GSG-Team,

    thanks for the time we had, It was a great ride.
    But I think I am out on this new business model.
    Since compatibility issues will probably force us to update every year, this is no option for me.
    Most of your products are very good (except Transform – it never transformed to what it could have been, still waiting on that update you promised)

    As a freelancer it is just to expensive for me.

    As an Employee I can´t justify it to my boss why I have to pay for “the same thing working” every year. I know this is not a fair reflection on the issue. But my Boss isn´t fair/logical, too. In fact he is an Idiot who doesn´t fully understand the concept of support, community ect.

    I know that all hell would break loose if we did the subscription and something with the GSG Products wouldnt work as expected. We are having the same issues with the Adobe Cloud Model right now…CC2015 is a mess but we still have to pay for it. Guess who is in charge? Of course, I am the one…

    Still love and support for GSG.
    May the force be with you.

    • Thanks so much, Frank. It’s good to get feedback from artists whose companies pay for the software. We are aware of this and want to provide enough value with our plugins so that we can help make renewing easier for artists and their boss. I appreciate the feedback.

  • Great products, have bought them all from the start but haven’t really seen any developmental leaps that would justify a subscription model (I’ll admit to bias – I loathe Adobe’s current direction with a passion and certainly won’t be playing ball with them).
    Happy to pay for upgrades proper as and when they deserve it / I need them, but annual payment at close to a re-purchase price?
    Sorry, I’m out.
    Not sure this model’s going to work out for you guys, but good luck.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Simon. We will be heavily updating many of our plugins in the next year. If you have seen Topcoat, Signal, and the new HDRI Studio, You will have a better idea on where all of our plugins are heading. We hope to prove that it will be worth the upgrade. We understand that the burden is on us to make an update worthwhile or nobody will update.

  • I think this all makes sense, I mean you’re not saying the plugin’s won’t work or anything. It’s just about getting the new features and the like. Many plugin makers and companies do this type of renewal and it works out okay. Besides you can get them at a discount which Nick doesn’t have to do but realizes that things are costly in life. I like the new model and I think it’ll be a smooth transition. You help so many people by just doing what you do and having fun Nick. Keep it up!

    • Thanks, Kevin! I appreciate understanding what we are up to. Cheers!

    • IMHO, an upgrade should be more in the range of 25%-35% of the initial cost. Not 70%. Cinemaplugins has this same business model, and they get a bad rep offering upgrades a this rate. There are always people complaining about it. Is that the kind of perception you want.

  • On what I saw on a year and a half of having some of your products, I don’t think there where real upgrades to the product, only small updates, that where more compatibility updates. Having to pay for that is a bit extreme.
    Why offer TopCoat to previous customers and then do that. It would have been so much more logical to have TopCoat at a regular price (that I would have paid without a doubt) but still be able to have those small updates for free, since these are updates and not upgrades.
    Big deception here guys.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Greg. If you look back on our past updates, I think you are right. We didn’t update older plugins like Light Kit Pro. We had to focus on NEW plugins to stay alive. However, the move to yearly renews helps us update all of our products as much as possible to provide enough value to make renewing every year a good idea. It’s definitely on us to provide that value. And, we think we can. I hope you join us.

  • Hi Nick and all,

    Add me to the list of folks who are shocked and confused by this move.

    As a (I thought) good customer, I bought most everything you guys sell.

    That you are asking folks to essentially rebuy your software at full cost every year and three months strikes me as wildly misguided.

    I compare this move to the way folks over at Red Giant handle things. They just updated their Trapcode suite, adding some great new features AND a new plug-in.
    Trapcode suite is $1000. The upgrade was $199 (less than 20% of the cost of the full package). This seemed fair and was an instant buy for me.

    You are asking folks to pay 70% of the original cost every year on the off-chance that you might update the software?

    Would you think that $2586.50 would be a good price for the Maxon MSA?

    I love you guys but you have seriously miscalculated here.

    Lance

  • Kent Albin (brollyus) December 4, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Big fan of GSG but…
    Shit. Nick, I own all of your plugins. So I need to re-buy all of them on the off chance that you update City Kit, Transform, or Signal? I see the advantage of a HDRI Studio subscription, but to blindly repurchase without knowing the future plans for updating is a bit of a stretch. I either need an idea of what updates are in the hopper or a much deeper discount to take that leap of faith (and I am a believer). I love topcoat. I wish to know which products have updates coming? If not that then a general GSG subscription for all future plugins. Help me

    • Brollyus!!! Thanks for the feedback. It really means a lot coming from you. There is no need to blindly purchase products that you don’t think will be updated. I know this is a leap of faith in a way. Trusting us to provide value. This is by no means mandatory for any of our plugins.

      I hope you understand that we need to continue to charge for our plugins in order to keep them updated and better every year. It’s ultimately up to us to prove that this new structure is worth it. If you look at our latest plugins, you can probably see the quality we are striving for for our entire line up. All of our plugins will be moving in that direction over the next year and into the future.

      As for a general one time per year update, we are looking into that as well. We have heard that a few times in these comments and we are trying to find a way to make it easy and affordable to stay up to date with all the new stuff we have planned.

      Thanks again for your thoughts, Kent. Thanks for taking the time to write this comment.

  • Hi Nick,

    I purchased most of your plugins. It’s been years! Now what can we say after all these years? Very few updates my friend. Citykit for exemple? lost in oblivion.
    You say we can still use the plugin even if we don’t pay for the subscription but WE WON’T BE ABLE to continue to use them as they often require updates for new versions of Cinema 4D. So what is wrong with the statement? That is very displeasing.

    Also I bought Transform plugin a couple of weeks ago and boy it doesn’t live up to pro work. I bought it to use it for a commercial and I went through all sorts of problems (mainly impossible to cache animations, settings reset!, chane in topology of objects, etc). Yeah I guess it works well if you put a sphere or a text like you do in your demos, but what about more advanced use? Everything falls apart. I planned to use it on a movie next year, I guess I’ll have to find something else. At that “pro” price I found the stability and useability far from beeing pro. But I guess I should pay a renewal next year while waiting for an update that will likely never come.
    As stated by others here and elsewhere, this movie is like digging your own grave. That’s such a shame as there are good ideas and things to exploit here.

    • Thanks, Chris. I understand what you mean about City Kit and Transform. We are planning on updates for both of those tools. If you are having issues with it, please contact support and we can work with you to make sure it works with your scene.

      I see what you mean about updates. However, new things in Cinema 4D rarely break our plugins. And when it happens, its often a small fix. We don’t want to punish any customers that want to update to new versions of Cinema 4D. We will make that transition easy, we promise.

      • Hey Nick
        Thanks for the reply. As for the renewing, you can’t deny the fact that people feel mugged. We bought your plugins and now we need to pay a subscription at insane price to keep using them. Yeah I know you tell us that we don’t need to and we can keep our current versions, but that’s a smart move to avoid admitting that new C4D versions require often requires new version of plugins, even if the features are the exact same.
        Then I am just wondering how on earth you could be confident about the promise of value for this kind of deal? I mean you almost never update your plugins so how could your existing customers be confident to pay again while only believing you would do big updates? Yeah, big updates, because when you pay 70& of the price each year you can expect quite the big update. I really think you lost your mind on that decision. I respect what you do and try not to make any judgement, but you can’t go on and on about how much you care about your customers, this “plan” proves it. I know you are growing, good for you, but I am not telling you I won’t pay anymore of your plugin because I am “shrinking” as business and life is more and more difficult those days.

        As for Transform plugin. I really apreciate your effort to help me on my scenes, but let’s face it: it is useless. It’s not a matter of settings to improve what I am trying to achieve (there are not much settings to begin with) but the limitations to use it in pro situation requiring complex setup. It just doesn’t hold up. It’s buggy to begin with. In my previous job, how many times did I have to reinput the settings because they reset? How many times did I have problems because I had to refresh and refresh and refresh the objects for transform to be taken into account? How many problems did I have trying to avoid the problem of topology changes of my models which were visible in render because Transform did some weird interpretation of it? I think I can easily say I lost 2 full days of work trying to think up some old tricks to avoid all this. Fortunately I was clever enough to find solution and could deliver what I promised my client but let’s face it I will never use it again in pro work except if it’s for a cube morphing to a sphere or a simple text.
        This is such a shame because I really wanted to use this plugin for other projects, as it is a setup of already included options in C4D but apreciate the shortcut it offers.

        I think you had my sympathy but you really lost my faith in you and your product. Good luck for you on your new business model.

        • Hi Chris. Thanks for being a part of this discussion. Please read my new comment below or check this blog post’s “UPDATE” section for details. We make it a bit easier and more affordable to stay updated. And as for Transform, you can decide at any time to renew. Thanks again!

  • Big disappointment…

    I have to say that I always loved your stuff, especially when I started with C4D, your tutorials and plugins helped me to improve my skills. It is extra disappointing to see that the one person who did not put money making licensing techniques before sharing creativity, so I am very saddened that this is history now. I think this kind of licensing is unaffordable for all “beginning” freelancers because its not only your plugins but a yearly license for almost everything now. I think this is another step to the destruction of freelance creativity because it isn’t affordable anymore.

    Sorry to hear you made this step.

    Wim

    • Wim. Thanks for the feedback. I’m sorry to disappoint. I want to be sure that our plugins are affordable for sure.

      As for our sharing and creativity. None of that is changing. We are and continue to be the best place to learn Cinema 4D. The community is growing and we are even doing more live shows just to answer questions about peoples projects. We posted our 300th free tutorial this year as well. All of that will continue. But we also need to be sustainable as a software company. This was not a quick decision and it was not easy for us. And I know this won’t be the right fit for everyone. But, we also need to pay a growing team that is helping me make these amazing tools.

      Please keep the feedback coming.

      • Sorry to say, but that money should be earned with those tools and not with annual fees. And of course it is reasonable that after a major update that you need to pay for that update, but this is the other way around you have to pay annually in case there will be an update…

        And with the destruction of freelance creativity I ment all those starting freelancers who are unable to earn anything because they have to pay al those annual fees for almost everything on top of C4D itself.

        And I am almost convinced that when you started with your tutorials at your attic, you thought the same way about this.

  • I’m a casual user of C4D studio, but I’ve made enough money to keep it updated every year, and buy the cool plugins that you guys make. I love your entire effort & tutorials – thanks for all your great work.

    This is my world – I dumped Adobe CC and am now using great apps like Sketch, and what I had previously bought from CS6. I cut the cord on Verizon FIOS cable and now just stream from AppleTV. I’m using Office 2011 (student version) for Mac, not renting Office 365.

    Everyone is going to a rental model, and everyone else is determined to avoid it. And so it goes.

  • Like every other loyal customer out there, I am really disappointed in what maintaining your products is going to cost me each year. I own five of your products and at a 30% discount, that is going to cost me over $450 a year (30% off of the original cost of $650).

    Actually, as 3 of your products were purchased before 2015, then I need to spend $300 now just to insure that I can keep up with the $450 annual license cost in the future. And exactly what new features am I getting for this $300 cost to buy again what I already own? How many more presets have you added to Transform in the last year? New buildings to City Kit? The versions have not changed for quite some time (v1 for Signal and 1.2 for City Kit and Transform) so I have to conclude that the pace of development on these plugins is rather limited. Please prove to me otherwise for Transform, City Kit or Signal if I am wrong.

    Considering that the Studio MSA only costs $650/year for a $3600 program, you have to ask if what you are charging is fair for loyal customers who own multiple products. Also, Maxon provides Cineversity along with that MSA and are certainly providing more new features each year than GSG is (and you know how critical we are of the pace of development with Maxon…so that is saying something).

    Sorry, but I can no longer afford to be a GSG loyal customer given this new licensing model, particularly as a hobbyist. You are becoming just too expense. May I suggest you consider professional vs. non-professional licensing options for individual and/or bundled products and price these with an eye to maintaining customer loyalty over the long term than driving us away now. Better to get a little each year than $0 now and forever. I want you folks to be successful and certainly will not begrudge you the ability to generate license renewal sales, but what you are charging is just simply way too much.

    Good luck and have a nice day!
    Dave

    • This is a great read, Dave. Good points here. Thanks for taking the time to respond with so much thought to it.

      I know what you mean about some of our products not being updated. Looking back, I can totally see that. However, this new renew model puts the burden on us to provide value for all of our software moving forward. Expect new files, updates, presets and more for all of our plugins. Topcoat and HDRI Collections already have this licensing and we decided to add it to all of our plugins before it got confusing for our customers.

      It’s a good point about the price of Cinema 4D every year. We are looking at a way to renew to get all of our software at one low price instead of one by one.

      Pro vs non pro licensing is an interesting thought. We will keep that in mind, too.

      Thanks again for this. We are listening and want this to be successful for us AND our customers.

      Cheers,
      Nick

  • Wow! That’s quite a radical change in your license policy. In the past there were quite some free upgrades, where I thought “I would have paid for that”. On the other hand – as others have mentioned – some of the plugins seemed to be forgotten. City Kit, Light Kit Pro, Transform and Texture Kit Pro. I can’t remember when they got their last upgrade despite some compatibility stuff. Talking Texture Kit Pro: no upgrades, even with the material change in R16, too many tiling textures that are hard to be used on larger areas, nothing… Now, in my point of view, paying 70% every year again in advance, just for the hope / chance that a product might get upgraded after so many years is totally not cool. I want to see in advance what I get for my money. Lots of software companies switched to some sort of subscription model. So far, none of them managed to keep up with their promises about new features, in my point of view. Adobe went the sloooooow line – only the Kelby guys seem to be impressed about “new” PS-features being re-introduced after they were taken out a couples of releases earlier… I totally agree to pay for new features. If a software company doesn’t get the money automatically, they HAVE to deliver to convince people spending money for upgrades. So how do you plan to convince people? I hope not by just mentioning “big things are about to come – trust us”… Cheers, Joe

    • Thanks for the feedback, Joe.

      I hope we aren’t trying to talk anyone into upgrading that isn’t comfortable with it. Just to be clear, upgrading is not mandatory. We are extending our Holiday Sale to five days next week as a good faith gesture to our oldest customers to get them into updates. For people that have used Light Kit Pro, or Texture Kit Pro for years without paying for updates, for example, we hope this is an easy decision.

      About the roadmap for our products. Your right. We can be more clear about what we have planned for each piece of software. If you look at the new HDRI Studio, HDRI Collections, Signal, And Topcoat, you will see the quality and the direction of where we are headed with Texture Kit Pro, Light Kit Pro and Transform. 2016 will be a big year for us. We know that the burden is on us to make it worth your while or NOBODY will update next year. We think we will provide that value.

      One more note. I totally understand anyone that wants to wait to see what we have in store with older plugins. There is no reason to renew next week if you aren’t sure about what we have in store in the future. However, as new versions come out, and if they are worth the price, we hope you will join us again.

  • So I may be one of the only ones who actually likes a subscription model (not Adobe’s but in general). Done right, it is a great way as an artist to control costs and know exactly what am going to spend and when in order to remain current. But this is not done right. I agree the cost is way out of proportion with what you are getting the more products of your I own (hence the more loyal customer) the bigger hit you want me to take. You want me to take advantage of your “sale” to pay $600 right now to have access to the exact same products I already own and have paid for. Absolutely nothing new. Now that would give me any updates you make in the next 12 months free, but what are we talking here? Unlike Maxon or Adobe or Autodesk you don’t update all of your products with new features every calendar year and I don’t expect you to. So a couple of your plugins might get a update but I could buy those again outright for a fraction of what I’ve paid for my subscription. You would have to offer significant updates with cool new features to not one or two but most if not all of your product line every year in order for this to be even close to a good deal. You guys are a small team. Is that even possible? Based on what we’ve seen, you are more likely to put your limited resources into creating awesome new products which wouldn’t even be included in my subscription and I would have to buy anyway.

    I completely understand your need to re-think your economic model as you grow. You absolutely deserve a better more consistent pricing model to compensate you for all the amazing work you guys do. And I think we, your loyal fans would win in this situation by giving you guys the resources to create even more awesomeness. In principle a subscription based approach could be exactly what you need and could serve your customers well. But not this one. It’s not that bad deal for a new customer but your existing customers are feeling stabbed in the back and rightly so. I pay Maxon less than 20% of my original investment every year and I am guaranteed a fairly significant update every year for that. You are asking a 70% fee for nothing right now and the vague promise of “some” new content in the future. Maybe a way to better grandfather your old customers in or even an all inclusive “club” subscription where I pay you an annual fee and I get everything you do for the year including updates, content, and new products. But this implementation of subscription that you propose is way too one sided.

    Sorry for the rant. I love you guys like brothers and I can’t imagine working in C4D without your tools. You never cease to amaze us with what you come up with next. I completely understand your need to change your business model going forward, but I don’t think you thought this one through very well.

    • Hearing honest feedback like this from our biggest customers, like you Chris, is great. But we are listening and appreciate the feedback. It looks like the big issues here are the cost and the not knowing what we have planned for each plugin. I do like the idea of a low cost renewal every year that includes all current and future plugins. We don’t have the ability to do that for next week, but that could be a good idea for our biggest fans long term.

      Id say if we haven’t proved our plan or provided enough value that you take a wait and see approach to each plugin. Then decide as we update if the updates are worth it at that time. We will offer more ways for old customers to jump into a renewal in the future without having to pay full price.

      We are definitely working hard to make this fair for both sides. Thanks for giving us your feedback as always, Chris. We are listening and trying to decide what is right for our customers and for our business to continue.

      • Just as a side note to you and every other software vendor in the industry: the holidays are the absolute WORST time to buy cool stuff like this. Nobody is going to buy me software downloads as a gift and I have presents to buy for spouses and kids and family and can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on cool stuff for myself right now, even with a big holiday sale. Just a pet peeve of mine.

        Thanks for listening and caring about your customers feedback, Nick. Your genuine connection with the community you have created is one of the things that makes you guys special. Whatever you end up doing, know that we all want GSG to succeed and keep surprising us with great stuff. If we didn’t care, you wouldn’t have any comments here at all.

        • That means a lot, Chris. We are already talking internally on ways to help our oldest and best customers upgrade after 2015. Maybe we time sales with big upcoming updates to allow our old customers to get in at that time? That way customers can take a “wait and see” approach and still get a discount if they decide it’s worth it down the line.

          Thanks as always.

          • I’m not trying to pile on here, Nick, but I can’t stop thinking about this. You are getting a lot of feedback and that can’t be easy but you hit the nail on the head. There are really just two main issues with your new plan.

            The first is the price of the subscription is too high. When the industry standard is 15-30% of the original purchase price for annual maintenance and that is from companies that put our a new feature release every year, I don’t see how you can justify a 70% fee (and nobody’s fooled by the 30% OFF. We can all add.) especially when it doesn’t seem like you can realistically offer significant new features for every product every 12 months and still work on cool new ideas. And nobody here wants you to waste resources adding meaningless features just to put out a new version to justify an annual subscription (I’m talking to you Autodesk!). You need to rethink what keeping me as a paying customer is worth to me or some sort of declining tier with the more products purchased as has been suggested or an all in fee that gets not just updates but new products as well. Most people with pay more for new things than for updates.

            The second and I think really unrelated issue is how you deal with existing customers. Requiring a subscription for all new customers to receive updates is totally fair. If I had bought your products in February of 2015 and I now know that to continue to get updates after Feb 2016 I need to pay the subscription at that time is also in line with what I would expect. But telling people who bought your products in previous years to re-buy them again, even at a discount, is crazy talk. My cost to move to your subscription service is much higher than someone who has only been a customer for 10 months. So in a sense you are saying to your oldest customers “we have been giving you free updates for years and now we want you to retroactively pay us for them in addition to paying us for any future updates.) You can’t really be surprised by the negative reaction to that, can you?

            For example, let’s say Maxon looked at their numbers and saw that their sales of new seats of C4D is not keeping up with inflation and they need to figure out how to get more money from existing customers in order to remain healthy. So they come up with a new subscription plan that instead of costing the 17% of a new purchase that is does now will cost double that (let’s say 35%). That would not be a popular move and people would probably grouse at having their annual maintenance double in price even if there was the promise of additional updates or content. But most of us would probably understand the economic reality and go along even if we’re not thrilled to do so. But if they also announced that in order to even be eligible for this new maitenence plan, you need to buy C4D all over again. Even with a limited time 40% discount, I can’t image you or any one else would happily pony up $2500 for the product you currently own just for the right to pay annually for future updates later.

            The solution is pretty straightforward I think, and not too different from where you are. Whatever plan or plans you determine is fair for an annual subscription is fine but for existing customers is should work like this:

            New customers: your purchase price includes 12 months of updates. After that you pay XX% a year to continue to receive them.

            2015 customers: your purchase comes with 12 months of updates from the day of your purchase. You will be notified prior to your 1 year anniversary and receive the opportunity to continue for the same XX%.

            2014 and before customers: your free updates for any products expires on Dec 31 2015. After that, when a new update comes out for one of your products, you will have the opportunity to purchase that new version, along with 12 months of future updates for the same XX% subscription fee.

            I think the vast majority of the negativity is the apparent high percentage of the cost of the subscription plan regardless of number of products owned (in comparison, I pay Adobe $50/month for every program they make current or future). And the reaction to asking older customers to buy their products all over again without even a current update to entice them. I appreciate that you are not forcing anyone into this new plan and we can all just keep what we’ve already bought and not give you another dime. But in it’s current form, that’s exactly what we are all going to do, which defeats the purpose of you trying to establish a more reliable income source to support GSG in the future. I think there is a solution here that will both give what GSG needs to grow a remain vital and will entice your customers, old and new to jump on board with you.

          • Chris. Thanks again for all your feedback with this. We thought a lot about all this feedback. Especially from you. And we decided to change our pricing and terms to allow you to update at any time and for a much lower price. Check this blog post’s “UPDATE” section for details or read my BIG comment below. It’s almost as long as your post. 🙂

            Seriously, thanks again for your honest feedback. We are listening.

  • All of my products (five of the GSG plugins) were purchased prior to 2015.

    So… just to make sure I’m getting this right… I will need to repurchase all of those products before the end of this year (at a discount) in order to be able to purchase additional license updates in the future.

    What are GSGs plans for additional costs to licensees that skip a renewal cycle? Will discounted renewal not be an option?

    While I understand that GSGs new licensing structure is a proven way to generate an annual revenue stream I’m not sure (at least for me) that the cost reflects the value.

    Unfortunately, with all the other license renewal BS and the holidays, having to spend an additional few hundred dollars next week is not a great option for me.

    Would’ve been nice if GSG gave a little advanced notice on this, and I really don’t understand why 2014 and earlier customers will be penalized with having to buy the plugin license at full price if purchased after next weeks “sale”.

    It was a “2014 and earlier” customer who sold me on the value your plugins, and I, you guessed it….another “2014 and earlier” customer have talked up your product to other C4D users over the years who likely influenced other users.

    That’s not to say anyone is due a handout, but rather a little advanced notice, and assurance that the annual premium will reflect the upgrade value.

    Thanks for listening.

    • Thanks for writing in, Bob. We are listening. I hope I answer some of your questions below.

      We decided to make all licenses new and old to include one year of free updates and support to make it easy to understand for our customers. So that means that pre 2014 customers are technically out of renewal period. 2014 and earlier customers will have until the end of the year to download any updates. We are offering the holiday sale as an easy way to get back into our license system for less than a regular renewal cost. Also, based on feedback from this post, we will also be adding other periodic sales over the next year to allow our best customers to renew then without needing to pay full price.

      We aren’t trying to penalize anyone. Our early customers are our favorite customers. (no offense new customers). They were there from the beginning of Greyscalegorilla and we have been giving free updates and support to them for in some cases up to 6 years as we grew into a real software company. We are only asking these early customers, like you, if you would like to join us and support us for another year. I know it won’t be for everyone, but we hope that it proves valuable to you.

      Thanks again for your thoughts, Bob.

  • I agree with others who have posted. Whilst appreciating your need to grow as a Company. I also have used many of your products for several years. I am not commercially productive any more just a very enthusiastic retired person who loves making C4d stuff for fun. The subscription route will be a killer for me. I have already had to cease upgrading Microsoft and Adobe products and have had to stop C4d at v15. I have a fixed limited income and certainly wont be able to buy service every year. Such a pity . . . .

    • Just to be clear Michael. You do not have to update every year. And we will never remove any software from your computer like other subscription models you mentioned. Just wanted to be sure you knew.

      Second, thanks for supporting Greyscalegorilla! It means a lot to us. We hope we prove that we provide enough value, even for a couple of our plugins, for you to update.

      Cheers,
      Nick

  • Really, this could all go away and help GSG if the subscription price was scaled down depending on the more products you own. First off, 70% is too high a starting point, but imagine if it went down by 10% of the purchase price for each additional product you own and was completely FREE if you owned ALL the products! Also, you need to eliminate the need for people to make repurchases of their existing products purchased before 2015 — that is just a non-starter and does more to hurt customer relationships than help it.

    Now, in this plan, this is what happens:

    1) For loyal customers who own most, but not all, or your products, they will be diving in to purchase what they don’t own with your 40% discount just to avoid the need for a subscription cost. I imagine that would create a big influx of cash during this sale and instead of asking people to purchase what they already own, they are buying what the don’t own (which makes for happier customers)!

    2) For loyal customer who do own ALL of your products, they will buy whatever new product is released in the future just to stay ahead of the subscription costs. Look at your customer base and ask yourself how much revenue that would generate if every new product generated a 100% adoption from all your customers!

    So this is what I am thinking (given that GSG currently has 8 products):

    Number of Products Owned Annual Subscription (% of purchase price)
    —————————————— ————————————————————-‘
    1 to 2 products 40% of the cost of all products
    3 to 4 products 30% of the cost of all products
    5 to 6 products 20% of the cost of all products
    7 products 10% of the cost of all products
    All Products FREE

    Do the math and what you will find is that the annual subscription price using this model is pretty consistent within each bracket and that subscription price is only slightly more than the average cost of your products. So it is in everyone best interests to BUY EVERYTHING you have – especially when you are offering a 40% discount.

    In my own situation, taking advantage of your 40% discount, I would gladly hand you $200 next week to buy the remaining 3 products I don’t have to avoid the $450 subscription charge in the future. I am happy because my money is going to buy something new and saves me money in the future. You are happy because you are getting $200 that you will definitely not be getting from me with your current plan. I am also now motivated to buy future products whereas right now, Topcoat will be the last dollar you will ever see from me.

    Again, better to get a little now, than nothing in the future.

    Think about it.

    Dave

  • Sorry to hear this. I too have bought most of your products and supported GSG on Patreon. I don’t mind paying a resonable price for upgrades, but this is a dealbreaker for me. I’m out.

    I know you say, that unlike Adobe products, your plugins will not stop working when the subscription expires, but since they are plugins, they will eventually expire as C4D evolves.

    Bye for now, and good luck to you all.

    Mikael

  • Just imagining how folks would have viewed this hypothetical email from Maxon:

    “To help provide even more value for our customers and fans, we are announcing some new licensing terms for our software.

    We have decided to start charging $2586.50 for the MSA each year.

    We promise to update the software regularly. We just think you ought to have to repurchase the entire package at full price every 1 year and 3 months. Because that is a LOT more money for us.

    Hope you love the changes!

    Your Friends,

    Maxon”

    Can anyone see any difference between this and GSG’s unfortunate new idea?

    Lance

  • Hi Nick,
    Also owning & loving some of your plugins from early on, I am a bit baffled about the planned changes in the licensing plan. I agree with most what the others have said, and also think the yearly update Prices of 60-70% are way too high, also having to “rebuy” a plugin I already own sounds really odd and leaves a bitter taste. As already mentioned Red Giant is doing it perfectly well with their upgrade policy. and they even give -40% on Special occasions ontop of their low upgrade prices.
    I can understand why you are doing this, but maybe you can find a better solution.
    Like charging less for just Service updates (making an existing version work for the new C4D release) and a little more for real feature updates (with more functionality/presets, etc).
    Hope you really think this over, all the best,
    Viktor

  • Yeah, I’m not crazy about this model either. I hate subscription models, and just won’t do them. I bought/upgraded the complete Adobe Create Suite for many years, but the last money Adobe saw from me was for CS6. I’m hoping to stretch that out for at least another year or 2. *crosses fingers*

    • Thanks, Mark. Just to be clear, we won’t ever take your software away the Adobe does. You get to keep what you purchase.

      • alexandre Dachkevitch December 7, 2015 at 2:39 pm

        “we won’t ever take your software away the Adobe does. You get to keep what you purchase”.
        except i won’t be able to use it with team render, if i read well. it’s not exactly what i bought,
        i m so sad you take this road, as a freelancer i just wait the end of the year and look for what i can offer. i wont be able to follow you on this road.

  • Hello Nick,

    Thanks for the great software/plugins! I own six of your products. For me Topcoat and HDRI Studio are awesome! But with this business model I’am not happy. I read all comments and I’ll hope you and you’re team will come up with a good and wise proposal that will work for you and you’re team and for us, the users.

    Thanks anyway for the good work! love the effort you put in.

  • Wow, that video sure didn’t help.

    Just to address one more thing. Nick says that folks like me who have purchased most every plugin over the years are their favorite customers.

    And yet their way of showing this is to give them the EXACT same price as new customers who have never bought a thing.

    That is an odd way to show how much loyal customers mean to you.

    Again, I have always loved GSG and I have certainly supported it. It would be hard to imagine a new policy that screwed over loyal customers any more (well, maybe charging 100% for a 6 month license).

    To pretend that the model of updating a product and charging for update (a little for little updates, more for major ones) is something that unimaginable is disingenuous at best.

    I’m sure I’m not a favorite customer any more…but then being a favorite customer doesn’t seem to mean the same thing to me as it does to GSG.

    Lance

    • Hi Lance. I’m sorry you feel this way. We gave our loyal customers 6 years of continued support and free updates to our plugins. But, we simply cannot sustain that moving forward. Thanks so much for being an early customer and supporting us in our early years.

      Also, we will have other periodic sales throughout the year as we introduce new versions of our plugins. This may not change your mind it sounds like, but I did want to clarify just incase.

  • I think sometimes if you want your company to grow you have to take brave, big decisions; now many people are complaining about your decision Nick, to complain is easy and you have to face that.
    Only one thing I’m thinking about: maybe is not very nice to change the terms on products that people already bought at some terms. You can’t change your given word, it’s a matter of honour people feel this, belive me I’m italian…XD
    You could just apply this new terms to the new products and let the old terms on the old products. Very simple, and then will be up to you to and your team talent to make new valuable stunning plugins people will buy.

  • Nick, as much as I understand that the plugin market is rather limited and cannot easily pay for a large team, I think you guys have probably received some suboptimal business advise from some recent MBA graduate here.

    Or otherwise -since you know this market very well- you simply don’t care and see this as the only way to feed a larger team off a rather non-growing customer base.
    I get it that you most likely have much more existing customers than new ones coming in each year. So it makes sense for you to go after them and try turning them into cash.

    I employ people (in a very different field) and I understand that salaries and benefits are the most costly thing. But in every market each hire needs to pay for his costs and add profit. Your new hires force you to change your business model quite extensively and you take a big bet hoping it pays off.
    That worked for Adobe because they offer the actual program and not an add-on.

    At 70% repurchase price I won’t renew a single license. I will use it until it breaks and then move on. I would have accepted ~20%. But you did the math and your new people are obviously much more expensive.

    • I agree with you. And obviously nobody can run a growing business from free updates, but 70% is way too much. I won’t renew either

      Even Adobe did not charge 70% repurchase price, compared to the price of the entire “Master” package.

  • Bad story for me 🙁
    I’m not so professional that I can afford an update every year.

  • Just got the email and it’s over $600 if I want to update the plugins next year, and that’s with a 40% discount. No way I’m shelling out what I would normally pay for the Maxon yearly upgrade or Adobe suite upgrade on these plugins every year. I understand you guys want to continue to stay in business and I would love to purchase your products but not at these prices and not based on this yearly model.

    It’s hard to justify an upgrade expense on a product that hasn’t been upgraded yet.

  • Hi Nick,

    I’ve been a GSG plugin user for years now, and just purchased the new set of licenses for the upcoming year. I totally understand the need to update your pricing model as your business continues to change and grow. Your users are also business people and we’ve all shared similar struggles about how and when to adjust rates for cost of living, healthcare, new equipment etc.

    I’m happy to keep paying to maintain an updated piece of software, and I always have been and will continue to be an enthusiastic evangelist for GSG products. I would just like to echo the sentiment that 70% of the full price each year seems a bit steep. Most software that maintains a permanent license / subscription update model charges significantly less for yearly maintenance than it does for the initial purchase (like the MSA as others have mentioned, as well as other high end software like NUKE). I’m sure you’ve done careful number crunching to maintain a sustainable business with the new pricing model, this is just my 2 cents. Looking forward to seeing what’s coming up with light kit 🙂

  • I don’t understand what all of the uproar is about. It sounds to me like you’re basically just still selling the plugins as normal and giving the option to renew. If you guys update things enough to justify people upgrading (or “renewing” as you’re calling it) then they have the option to do so. You’re not requiring anyone to upgrade or taking the plugins away if they don’t renew. Am I missing something or this essentially the same thing as offering “versions” of plugins that people can choose to buy or not? If the value is there, people will buy it. Do all of you actually expect a company like GSG to give you free products/updates for the rest of your life? They’ve been doing so for SIX YEARS! In what world is this a viable business model? If you want GSG to make good plugins that you can use, then you need to be willing to pay for them. Just like you wait to see what features C4D will be adding to decide whether it justifies the upgrade cost, you can do the same thing here…

    Most software that is still operated on a system that sells “versions” charges for you to upgrade. I’m not sure what special setups you have with those companies, but I’ve never paid 20% to upgrade! The upgrade price is typically 60-70% of the full version. In addition, I recognize that most of those are “full software” and this is “just an add-on” but considering Cinema 4D costs $3,500, I think this is priced accordingly. You don’t have to buy anything!! Wait until the updated features justify the cost and then upgrade, just like you would with any other plugin, software, etc. Do you get Adobe CC for $600/yr? Yes, but that’s MANDATORY. Nick is saying that if the current version works for you, you have no need to pay to renew. Again, if it’s worth it, then pay it. If it’s not, then don’t!

    I must be completely missing something on this issue because I honestly do not see what the big deal here is. To me it sounds like you all want things given to you rather than paying for people’s hard work to create these plugins that you all rely on and MAKE MONEY with! You’re all completely against spec work, yet you get mad when a company like GSG wants to actually make money off of their products.

    • Thanks, Rich. This means a lot! We did a lot of thinking and thought it was a good direction to go for us and our customers. Maybe we weren’t clear enough about our plan, but I appreciate this comment.

      That said, we are listening to all feedback and will always do our best for our customers. I know this is a big change for us from our past, but it’s not much different than most other software vendors.

    • hey rich…
      i agree with most of your points, especially if you say that “You don´t have to buy anything!”

      I think GSG really helped to make C4D what is today..no doubt.
      So there is nothing to say against GSG is changing the terms of pricing, i will still buy the new plugins (even with the new pricing).

      …but if i bought something (before) the new pricing it is a bit different…and this is what i think most of the people here are upset with.

      correct me if i am wrong…

    • If a new release of C4D NEVER broke one of GSG’s plugins or libraries, I would agree with you. No big deal. But that won’t always be the case and paying 70% for continued compatibility with future C4D is a bit high. Plus having to pay 60% now for plugins purchased prior to 2015 to insure that I can pay 70% later to preserve that compatibility does not make any sense.

      We are not begrudging GSG future revenue streams for supporting their products. That is not the issue. The issue is how much they are charging as it is way out of the norm of what would be expected. By no means do I feel that they don’t deserve to be compensated should a product not work in a future C4D release. In fact, I even made a proposal for an alternate licensing cost structure in this thread, but the formatting in this message board does not support tables so it came out messy. As such, I don’t think anyone read it.

      So i re-posted at the C4D Cafe here for better reading:

      http://www.c4dcafe.com/ipb/forums/topic/90780-gsg-new-licensing-terms/?do=findComment&comment=610437

      I want GSG to be successful. I want them to continue making money. I want to continue to be a customer, but unfortunately I just can’t afford to anymore giving this new model of theirs.

      Dave

  • Nick,

    Really sorry to see that you are doing this in this way. I totally get that you have expenses. I myself have sold software online and and in retail stores for over 10 years and know that free updates can sap resources. I think your justification that a yearly renewal is the only way you can stay whole is disingenuous. Having me pay ahead for possible future updates is ridiculous. I do believe that you are a creative force, but I urge you to seek other advice on your business. Believe me it can go bad quickly when sales dry up.

    I recommend you charge for updates when they come out, at a reasonable price, not 70%. If people don’t buy them then you should not be working on those products or you should add more features so people will update them.

    Trying to get me to buy the products I already own for 40% off makes me feel like you think I am stupid. I am choosing instead to think you have been given some bad advice. Hopefully you will really look at all this feedback.

    By the way, the only way the burden is on you is if you charge a fair price for updates as they come out. Then the burden is on you to actually create software people will want to pay for. If I prepay for work you have not done you have no incentive to actually listen to what i want, you already have my money.

    Please reconsider, I like your stuff. I don’t want to see your software go away. Not only are you doing something that financially affects all your customers, the way you are doing it is creating such bad word of mouth you are losing your biggest supporters and the people that recommend your products.

    Good luck.

  • I think if you introduced this new pricing model along with updated versions of all the plugins, it would have helped it make more sense for people.

    • Hi John. Thanks for the feedback. Rather than wait for each product to update, we decided to do this all at once. I know it’s not ideal. But, you can also wait until we have an update in the future and decide to renew then. We will also be having sales during big launches to help with that transition.

  • Hi Nick,

    Sorry to hear that. I don’t have much to add, most has already been said by other commenters. Price, update cycles, loyal customers etc.

    What strikes me the most is that I do recall a few videos, blogs or other statements on GSG (even the store?) that “the plugins have, unlike other software, lifetime upgrades”. Or am I making this up? To me thats misleading customers and a pretty big no-no (and possibly even illegal).

    You should have done this kind of licensing waaay earlier, or right from the start, because it isn’t a bad idea apart from the price setting. Now you’re just breaking promise with all of your (early) customers.

    • I too recall Nick saying you’re upgrades will always be free. This certainly factors into your buying decision. I don’t think any expects you to give free updates for software forever, there are certainly ways around doing that.

      The main point here is the renewal rate. 70% is just over the top. It is no where near typical of what the industry charges for major upgrades to software, no less minor ones for plugins.

  • Nick,

    Been a big supporter for many many years, and I’ve even talked to you at NAB about how much you and your products have done to break the stigma of getting into Cineam 4D. Every time you come out with a new product, I’m on board purchasing it because I know that it supports you, the site and your business…AND…it speeds up my workflow.

    I don’t have anything bad to say about you (my fellow Chicagoan) or the site, but spending $600 a year to upgrade plugins, I can’t do that, man. If we were talking about software, that would be one thing, but plugins? No! The only time it makes sense to me is if there’s a version update…like the latest release of Red Giant Trapcode Suite AND that came with a brand new plugin.

    For me, I think this will mean the end of my business relationship with GSG, or, in the immediate future, reduce the amount of plugins I use.

    Sorry, dude, I just can’t support a subscription model for plugins.

    Best of luck!

    All the best,

    Ben

  • “You could just apply this new terms to the new products and let the old terms on the old products”…(posted by Elia)

    … this is really what GSG should have done…

    it would have been really that easy and all the people that ( by buying those great plugins back in the days somehow supported GSG) would have been happy.

    i don´t have a problem buying new plugins with new terms…even with annual updates/upgrades that i have to pay for…

    I don´t understand why i should pay for an update (> not an upgrade for new new features which is a big difference), since the code has to be written anyway for newer C4D Versions and exists for people that will buy that plugin.

    As a software or plugin developer i offer a product that should work, and if there are issues i should fix (update) them…because the customer paid for a working plugin…many of the plugins are used in production and the people need them for their job, and in the end to earn money to buy new plugins ;-)…but not to pay for plugins that they already bought!

    I bought a tool that worked when i bought it…what else will you put in to make it (in the core) better?…i don´t need X-more presets.

    It feels like i bought a car some years before that is still driving and that i´m in love with, but now the manufacturer says i need to pay each year to get that car going…maybe i´ll get some new shiny color or a new radio, but the car that i bought still just brings me from A to B.

    ________________________________

    dear nick campell and team….especially for those of us that kept supporting GSG over the years this step is really not comprehensible.

    Even if i believe it is too late for you now to change anything in your decision…nobody would be worry if you do….

    all the best and keep up that great work you do!
    …and thanks.

  • this is nothing compared to all the $$$ i owe GSG for all the FREE training over the years and all the knowledge and work i’ve gained from it.

    happy to pay for the upgrades, can’t wait to see all the new features!

  • Oh, Nick.

    I’ve been on board with you since R12, and I have purchased and happily used four of your plugins since then. I totally understand the need to keep the lights on. I will pay for things that I find value in. To wit: I just purchased XParticles on the Black Friday sale, and I made sure to go through GSG because I assume you guys get some kind of affiliate cut.

    But here’s the truth: you guys haven’t done enough with the GSG plugins to give me faith that plunking down close to $400 every year will be a good value to me.

    I know you have said that it’s on you and your team to prove it going forward, but you should have already done that. If I was used to major updates and ongoing tutorials with older plugins this would be much easier to swallow. I’m sorry buddy, but I can’t justify a purchase this size with the hopes of future awesome updates and content. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

    As others have said, you probably should have looked a little more closely at your pricing model before doing something this drastic, or you should have simply overwhelmed me for the past year with all the awesome upgrades you did to City Kit, Texture Kit, etc. The value just isn’t there.

    If you had come in with an introductory upgrade price of 10-20% for the first year, I would have purchased the upgrade, because I run a small business too and I know how it is. That gives you some extra operating income so that you could go crazy over the next twelve months proving to me that your plugins are a super awesome, evolving, vibrant set of tools (like others have said – the Trapcode Suite is a great example). Now, however, you will sadly get no money from me over the next 12 months, and I’ll watch quietly from the sidelines and- who knows? – maybe you’ll convince me next year.

    Final thought – I think of GSG as a tutorial website with some neat plugins on the side. If operating income is super tight – have you ever though about charging for some super amazing, multi-part tutorials? I’d happily pay $20 or even $30 a pop for a long, premium tutorial series that absolutely blows my hair back.

    Good luck man. And I’ll be watching, but not opening my wallet just yet.

    -Denny

  • Nick said:

    “it’s not much different than most other software vendors”

    Really?

    Can you point out any plug-in vendor who charges 70% for licenses of this type?

    I buy A LOT of plug-ins and I can’t think of anyone even close.

    It’s the 70% , Nick. It’s WAY outside of what other vendors do.

    Hey, feel free to say you just decided to make folks buy the software all over again every year and three months–that is certainly your right. I get it. It’s more money for you.

    But saying that it’s similar to what other folks in the industry do just isn’t true and saying so is insulting to the intelligence of your hapless customers (remember them?).

    Lance

    • Lance, that’s a bit too harsh. Honestly, I don’t mind shelling out the 70% for a significant upgrade that is essentially a new plugin with all the old functions but much more. I did that with X-particles when vs 3 came out. But there is only so much you can change in a softbox…

      That being said: If GSG would make it compatible with Octane and Vray – different story. But AFTER it comes out. Not upfront.

      Nick, I would like to add that I learned tons from your tutorials (most of the little I know) and I really appreciate what you do. But while I buy 3D software, plugins and photography gear I don’t make a cent with it. Often I could but I don’t because other folks live off this work and I’m very comfortable in a different field. I do this for fun and for me only. That’s why ‘customer support/potential updates’ don’t cut it for me. I Need to see an upgrade that is worth the money first.

      Let your new coder deliver a significant upgrade of one of your plugins first, introduce it for 40% off for one week and see if your coder can deliver to a crowd. If it’s any good it fly off the shelf. Then pay him. Provide service updates for free until he delivers another mouthwatering upgrade and charge again. No one will complain.

      Just my clueless $0.02

      • Frank…

        What GSG is charging for a “yearly maintenance fee” is the not the same as paying for an update. Case in point…Red Giant recently released Trapcode Suite 13 which retails for $999…to upgrade from Trapcode Suite 12, it costs $199 which is roughly 20% of the retail price. Between v12 and v13 was roughly 3 years of free updates…in this example…$200 to upgrade to the newest version of the Trapcode suite is WAY worth it not just for the amazing updates to Particular and some of the other plugins but also because of the NEW plugin Tao.

        GSG isn’t following what other plugin developers are doing…they’re following more what Maxon is doing in in offering up their MSA contract, and this is a beef that I have with Maxon as well…Pay us a premium to purchase our software, and then pay us a premium to maintain it.

        In Maxon’s case, it’s actually a pretty good deal because you’re getting a new version of the software every year with some great enhancements with each new version.

        In GSG’s case, they don’t update all of their plugins on a regular basis to justify the 70% upgrade fee they’re charging. Even Maxon’s MSA less than 20% of their retail price. THAT’S why everyone has a beef with this new subscription model.

        It’s not about the subscription model…it’s about the PRICE. If GSG were to have come out and say, “Hey, we’re switching to a subscription/maintenance pricing platform, and to our valued customers who’ve been with us since the very first product, you get 80% (or 90%) off for life!” THEN that would be a different scenario.

        I own almost every product they make, and for me to renew them every year, to stay up to date with all of Maxon’s releases, I have to pay over $600 per year…that’s not a “Thank you for supporting us for all these years!” That’s a big “F@#$ You!” to customers who’ve stuck around all these years.

  • Hi Nick.
    I’m really disappointed in this approach, too. I think over the years I’ve brought every product except one. There is no way I could afford to continue under your new subscription model.

  • Hi Frank,

    The upgrade price for X-particles (from 2.5 to 3.0) was 28% of the full cost. Not 70%. I know because I bought it (I think I actually got it for less because I bought it immediately).

    And there was a free 3.5 upgrade included. That is the way that folks in this industry do business with their customers.

    Nick, I’ll ask again, would $2586 be a good price for the Maxon MSA?

    I don’t mind paying for a great update. I bought almost all of GSG’s plug-ins. I would be happy to pay a reasonable amount for great upgrade (even more that 28%).

    But paying 70% for the vague promise that some plug-ins might be updated at some point is ludicrous and insulting,.

    Lance

    • Lance. I appreciate your comments in this discussion a bunch. We thought a lot about what everyone said and decided to change our terms. Check my big comment below or check this blog post’s “UPDATE” section for details. Thanks again for talking through this with us.

  • I can understand what you are trying to do, but frankly asking me even to pay $315.00 which works out as $AU436.08 at xmas is just crazy. And that’s with 40% off! You would have to be updating these seriously with added functionality etc every year and I haven’t seen that happen with most of your plugins. I am sorry but you lost me and it seems many of us agree.

  • Sorry had to write again. I read most of the thread again here, and I have to say that someone mentioned you may have had bad advice. Well I think they were right. This sort of PR disaster, and I’m sorry but I really don’t see it any other way to describe it is very hard to come back from. You burn so many people by this sort of ill conceived plan, and those people most burned are probably people like me who have followed you for a long time and bought plugins from you. I guess I have a few and that’s why to upgrade is so expensive. And of course I don’t need to upgrade, but as we know new updates to C4D usually mean plugins will need updating too. So I particularly feel very, very badly about this. They are plugins with a very limited use let’s get it straight. I am not paying a subscription to Creative Cloud, which even though I was adverse to it at the start, is actually ludicrously good value for money when you consider what you get for the price per year. And they constantly seem to be updating ( new Photoshop seems way faster or is it just me). Let’s take a look at X-Particles. They make upgrading ridiculously easy because the new features are astounding. It’s turning into a monster. So I really don’t mind giving them my money, within reason, because the product is just so good, and it expands greatly what C4D is able to do. Oh yes and the last update was free!!

    Unfortunately the same cannot be said for your plugins. I like the look of Topcoat and it hints at what you are trying to do, so I guess there might be changes a foot. But essentially it’s a front end for the reflectance channel. It provides no new functionality to Cinema 4D, simply a somewhat better user experience. Regarding your older plugins like Transform and HDRI Studio again these don’t provide added functionality, they are simply a bit of a better way of working. Having said that I don’t think I have used Transform in ages.

    More worrying than what the plugins are however is the lack of innovation and updates. My past experience with your plugins has been one of pretty much stagnation. There seems to be no real momentum and changes made to your plugins, and no wow moments where you go, I gotta have that new feature. I think they are valuable don’t get me wrong, but they are not essential, because ultimately their main USP is that they make C4D a bit easier to use, rather than add functionality.

    I do wish you well. You have always been a champion of C4D and your contribution to the Cinema Sphere( no pun intended) is huge. I have to say re reading my post it’s harsh but really I think you have to see that this move is a terrible one for your business. Rather than improving sales etc I think you just managed to kill most of your loyal customers stone dead, and no doubt some new ones along the way

    all the best

    Richard

    • Thanks so much for this thoughtful feedback. We have been lisening to all this and decided to change our terms to make everything more affordable and easier for our current customers to stay updated. Check this blog post’s “UPDATE” section for details.

  • Hi Nick,
    i am a long time customer and buyed all of your tools since years. Personally i dont like subscription models. I will pay and use – finito.
    This is a deal breaker for me. Sorry.

    Jürgen

  • Hey Nick,
    I´ve got all your plugins way back. I also remember that it was said, that it is a lifetime support! This licensing-model is far over the top. Sorry, but I just can’t afford this and I am not willing to support an annual subscription-model for plugins!

    Tom

  • In my mind,…The price of the subscription is too high AND telling old customers who bought your products in previous years to re-buy them again, even at a discount is not super fair.

    I can live with a “normal” fee, since you need to make money ( as we users), but I was suprised when hitting update all your products for -40%, price tag was high for plugs I already have purchased….

  • Hi Guys,
    this has been making an interesting read. I have just paid for my MSA in the UK and its cheaper than the GSG licence I am looking at because I own all the GSG plugins?

    I think this licence introduction has been really poorly handled by GSG, (sorry guys) my immediate reaction to the correspondence was confusion and disbelief. Surely you wish your loyal customer base to embrace your licence model?

    I also think the timing has not been thought through, being a Freelancer December is never the best month and we all have a list of licences to renew which have been budgeted for. The GSG decision is a surprise that no one expected and therefor you are getting a pretty negative reaction. There is a very clear response, we would be happier with a more sensible deal and that this would be rolled out later so we are able to budget for such. Giving such short notice and expecting us to be held to ransom with discount deadlines is unreasonable.

    I really hope you will think carefully about the comments here by your customers. It’s not easy making a U-turn on a decision but a more considered plan would be welcomed by all I am sure. We had a similar situation with pricing on the GSG drive with the way you costed it initially and listening to us you did come back with a better deal for independents. I will hold off until the dust has settled on this and hopefully you will respond with a better solution.

    • Thanks, Mitch. We thought carefully about it and we decided to change our terms to make it easier and cheaper for our customers to continue to stay updated. Check this blog post’s “UPDATE” section for details.

  • Chiming in here,

    I’m not sure where people are getting “subscription” from. I see that coming up a lot in here. What’s been laid out here is simple. It’s Paid upgrades, not a subscription. That’s it. You’re not logging into an account and checking out a license, you’re not renting your software. If you don’t need or want to upgrade, you don’t have to. Wait until your plugin gets that update you want and get the upgrade then. What is nice is that you are given the opportunity to upgrade for 2016 at a huge discount, IF YOU WANT TO. Freedom of choice.

    Having had run a plugin company for five years, I can attest to the financial burden of developing tools that people get upgraded for free. This makes the ROI on developing updates/features very low. Paid upgrades makes the developers work harder to earn that fee. Simple.

    Please ease up on the “subscription” rhetoric. It does not apply here.

    • Agreed that no where is “subscription” actually mentioned, but c’mon…to keep your plugins up-to-date, you have to pay a yearly fee? Po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe.

      I’ve been calling it a “maintenance” fee, and for software, I get it…for plugins…doesn’t make sense, and this is coming from a freelancer perspective…I don’t have the insight that you’ve had running a plugin operation.

      That being said…being a freelancer is the same as running a company just at a smaller scale, and my return on investment (as it is for most freelancers) does not justify 70% of the retail price to “upgrade” any one plugin ESPECIALLY since the updates we’re talking about are minimal if at all.

      For instance, I have yet to use City Kit or Transform on any project, but I bought them because they were reasonably priced, and I have benefited from the GSG free tutorials, so I wanted to offer my support in the form of paying for the product. NOW if I WANT to use either of those plugins beyond this year, I basically have to buy them AGAIN to get the “update” that will allow me to use it in later versions beyond R15 with the “PROMISE” that there will be an update in the coming year, but no guarantee.

      I’m reminded of the Whimpy cahracter from the Popeye cartoons: “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!”

  • Last thing I’ll say ‘cos some of this is getting harsh.

    Just my opinion of what I’d like to happen.

    Apart from bug/feature fixes, forget free upgrades altogether, small fee for C4D version fixes, larger (but nowhere near 70%) for new feature upgrades.

    Charge for the more major tutorials, that was mentioned earlier, think this isn’t a bad idea at all.

    Maybe not so popular an opinion but the plugins themselves are quite inexpensive. Most of them pay for themselves after a couple of hours work. Maybe have another look at that.

    I realise all this is pretty much the exact opposite of the new intended business model (and I know precisely nothing about running a business), but speaking personally, I’m never going to go for subscriptions of anything, but something like this would work for me.

    And you know what? Several years later (especially considering all the free stuff / tutorials we’ve had) I think one thing we can give Nick a pass on is a rather rash promise about free lifetime upgrades. I mean, c’mon…

  • Hello Nick,

    Does this included Gorilla Drive?

  • Hello Nick,

    I can’t help but feel a little cheated. One of the main reasons why I went with GS Products is because I did not have to pay of updates like the competitors. I would only bought Transform (great product) if I knew a lifetime update could change.

    I completely understand why you need to change the licensing plan. Just sharing feedback. Thank you for everything.

    -Samuel

  • First off… I’d like to thank you guys at GSG for all you do! That being said, I can’t justify paying such a high percent for the upgrades. I would pay a very small amount for an upgrade to keep the plug-in working in new C4D versions. I would pay a fair rate for upgrades that had great new features.

    Also, what about combining HRI Studio Pack, Texture Kit, Light Kit and Topcoat into on plug-in. Maybe call it something like “Polish”. One upgrade price and less of a burden to add new features all at once.

    I would pay for your tutorials if they were short and hyper-focused. I really like sites that I can go to to quickly solve an issue. I do love your tutorials, but often don’t have the time to sit through the whole thing to get the little bit of info I’m looking for. Sometimes it is hard to figure out which of the tutorials is best to watch for the problem I am trying to solve.

    Thanks for doing what you do. I appreciate it.

    • Hi Chris. Thanks for the feedback. Based on all this discussion, we decided to change a few of our terms. Check this blog post’s “UPDATE” section for details. I really appreciate the honest feedback.

  • Dear Nick (and Team),

    what happened…?

    When i read all those comments it seems that you have made a lot of people upset with that new pricing policy…

    …any general statement after so many…let´s say…not positive comments?

    Did you expect such a negative feedback?

    I am sure you read all those comments and probably you can understand what many people are complaining about….

  • Thanks everyone again for all the great comments and discussion. I really appreciate all of you who are bringing your opinions and concerns here to be discussed. Some of you even brought your own thoughtful business models to share and talk about. Honestly, I love it. We are listening and taking all of this into consideration as we move forward with our new plan.

    Many of the comments here stem from our biggest and best customers who own all or almost all of our products and want an easy way to renew every year. I did the math and I totally agree that there needs to be a less expensive way for you to stay up to date without paying that much each year.

    There was also a lot of discussion and email feedback about the holidays just being the wrong time to do this. Many of you are budgeting for the year and feel like we sprung this on you. I get that too. More heads up would have been good idea.

    Because of this discussion, we are announcing two main changes to our new terms.

    First, new update pricing for all customers no matter when you purchased our software. Check the “UPDATE” section of this blog post for new pricing details.

    Second, you can now renew at any time. It doesn’t have to be this week or even before the end of the year. Wait to see if any updates are right for you before deciding. If we come out with something you need, update then at the renewal price.

    All purchases and renewals include one year of updates and customer support. Current customers, look of an email this week with your renewal links.

    I know this won’t solve everyones problems. No solution will be perfect for everyone. But I think that this will help make it easier for our biggest and longest standing customers to stay up to date with all their favorite Greyscalegorilla Plugins.

    Thanks again for having a discussion with us on how to best move forward. We are listening.

    • This feels much more respectful to customers like me who’ve been with you since your first product. As I’m sure it was hard to listen to the griping, thank you listening and responding!

      Now I just need some time to pass so I can get the sour taste of your initial post out my mouth before renewing.

    • Hey Greyscalegorillaz….you are listening!

      It is great to see that you are able to make this step and reconsider your plans…

      I am sure a lot of people will appreciate that!!!

      And as you wrote.. „No solution will be perfect for everyone.“
      …i just can add „When too perfect, lieber Gott boese.“ (Nam June Paik)

      all the best
      daniel/dkmnews

  • Hi Nick,

    This is a real shame. No point repeating what everyone else is saying here. I just hope all’s well at GSG and that this new pricing structure may not be a symptom of panic.

    All the best,

    • No panicking here. We are just updating our pricing so we can stay around for a LONG time. Also, check the blog post under the “UPDATE” section. We updated our terms to make it easier to update.

  • Spartacus did no see Nicks last entry so he is therefore out-of-date. Look forward to reading the updated changes… 🙂

  • Thanks Nick!

    The new policy is possibly TOO generous.

    But much appreciated.

    Lance

  • Also–it doesn’t appear to have promulgated to your shop or maybe you are planning a new renewal email. My email renewal link still has the old policy prices.

    Thanks,

    Lance

  • Thank you for being open and responsive, I think you have made the right choice. For me the new structure changes everything.

  • Hey Nick,

    It’s gotta be hard to go back and change your plans, but I definitely appreciate you guys being willing to take a look at what the market is telling you and adapt accordingly. I think the new pricing model is great. You guys have built up so much goodwill over the years that it’ll take more than a pricing snafu to lose me as a customer.

    I think you may have also convinced me to go from four products to five (or six?). Topcoat is looking mighty attractive right about now…

    -Denny

  • Yeah, this is all good. Back on board.

  • Hi Nick

    Takes a big man (ape) to admit they were wrong and so a big thank you for the renewal email you sent me and the new pricing and update structure. This is completely realistic in my opinion price wise and allowing to update at any time just makes budgeting for these things a lot easier. I look forward to seeing the update versions of the plugins, because if they are anything like Topcoat then we have great things to look forward too.

  • Hi Nick,

    Good stuff!! Looking forward to purchasing more products!! 🙂

  • HOORAAYYY!!!!

    I can be a GSG customer again!!!!!

    Dave

  • Nick, you ARE the Gorilla!!!!

  • As I potential new user of c4d, and these plugins, I’m rethinking it.

    Why I’m rethinking it, is mainly because of the cost, but also become of a business strategy.

    That strategy is not what you first think, is not like so many have pointed out the Adobe cc route.

    No the strategy I don’t like, is where GSG has lost contact with it’s customers, this SHOULD have been a discussion. Because then there is nothing to ‘lose face’ or ‘backdown’ over.

    After looking at GSG for the last 6 months or so, it was appealing because communication was a two way street. And that’s what should have happened here.

    I feel that many creatives are no longer prepared to be dictated to by large corp’s, many are and found alternatives to what they offer.

    To me it’s sad to see GSG go this route, because I believe the future is talking to your customer, them actually being a part of the business, rather than this imaginary wall, that too often alienates and disenfranchises creatives from your products and company.

    In some ways i think THIS, what kind of company do you want to be, is more important than price.

    Sadly after reading all, yes I read ALL the comments, I think GSG has severely underestimated the ‘feeling’ of it’s customers.

    I’d urge GSG to revisit what kind of company it want’s to be, to review without emotion what it’s customers and friends are saying, and revisit the business decision, make this a discussion rather than a dictate.

    Well done for Nick to appear here and answer the anger, frustration and disappointment. Too often company reps don’t bother, they know how the customers will react and would rather ignore them.

    That Nick IS a step in the right direction. 🙂

    PS If you do change your mind, don’t view it as the customers won, and you lost. No, Rather view it as you had the wisdom to see…

    “that something was rotten in the state of Denmark”, and you have the courage and insight to act on it.

    Hamlet told that to King Claudius but he didn’t want to listen, he, Claudius, ended up due to his machinations, and by ignoring the populous, indirectly poisoning himself. Who said Hamlet wasn’t relevant today.:)

    What you don’t want is people saying … “alas poor GSG, I knew it well.”

    That my friend is up to you…

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