Autodesk, the developer of Maya computer graphics software, offered new details yesterday about its transition from perpetual licenses to a subscription-only software model. The new standalone desktop software subscriptions will begin next year, on February 1, 2016. Customers who have purchased a perpetual license prior to that date will be able to continue receiving upgrades and support as long as they keep their maintenance subscriptions up to date.

Autodesk tells customers that the shift to a subscription plan allows them to deliver “an improved user experience and access to a broader portfolio of technology.” Among the benefits: a simplified installation/management/upgrade experience, flexible payment terms, and broader access rights across multiple devices.

While the strategy takes a page from Adobe’s playbook, which switched its Creative Cloud suite to a subscription model in 2013, Autodesk is distancing itself from Adobe’s heavy-handed approach. “We will partner with customers through this transition,” Autodesk exec Andrew Anagnost told Studio Daily. “We’ve seen other people do things like this. We don’t like the way other people have done these things.”

The subscription plan will be used for nearly all Autodesk products including Maya, 3ds Max, AutoCAD, and Mudbox. The notable exception is Flame, which will continue to be sold under its current license due to its hardware component. Like Adobe’s Creative Cloud, the subscription plan isn’t technically cloud-based. Customers will download the applications onto a local machine, and the associated user data will also be stored locally.

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Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi is Cartoon Brew's Publisher and Editor-at-large.