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Vectorworks - End of Perpetual Licensing?

If true, what does the message in this tweet portend for Graphisoft product?

Think Like a Spec Writer

AC4.55 through 26 / USA AC25-6000 USA

Rhino 7 Mac

MacOS 12.6.5


I read some time ago that Vectorworks is ending perpetual licenses, yes. It doesn´t bode well for the future of Archicad licensing. Perpetual licenses were an important part of our office choosing Archicad, and a change on this would make us rethink our software strategy.

Windows 10


Really surprised VW has taken this path. It had crossed my mind GS could do the same with AC, and it also brought home the vulnerability of the licensing arrangement, particularly the soft key version. With the hard version you should be on solid ground, but if GS pulled the plug on maintaining soft perpetual licences you are basically screwed. The point of perpetual licences are they provide a safety net for any business that can't sustain the costs associated with a rolling licence, for example through financial difficulty or planned redundancy e.g. retirement and the need for on going data access. First hint of a change from GS and I will go back to a hardware licence.  

Apple iMac macOS Ventura / AC26UKI (most recent builds)

I think we're already seeing the seeds of this being planted. Most recently when you're notified that. even though you have purchased the full license and faithfully upgraded or kept up on subscription, even for 30 years, they can render your software inactive and only run in demo mode unless you re-authenticate. Guaranteed that will one day be transitioned into having to be on subscription to run; softkey or not. The question is, what can we do about it now? Do we have a legal standing to always run the last version we paid for perpetually?

Rex Maximilian, Honolulu, USA -
ArchiCAD 26 (user since 3.4, 1991)
16" MacBook Pro; M1 Max (2021), 32GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, 32-Core GPU
Creator of the Maximilian ArchiCAD Template System

Eduardo Rolon

I don't know what is the winning scenario here besides pissing-off your most loyal users for a small cash grab.

If you need to force your users to update you already lost.


Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
AC26 US/INT -> AC08

Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram, OS X 10.XX latest
another Moderator


BlenderBIM progress has been going well though still early stages


As someone who is way more comfortable in freeform 3D apps (MODO, Blender etc) I've got my eye on this one


Not convinced of the creditability of the tweet - is there anything official from VW? But looking at AC I would find it as a very gutsy move given the current situation with weak releases and underdeveloped/neglected functionality. Perhaps they would feel bold enough in conjunction with a release of the new background tech they keep alluring to. But I think that the perpetual licence and the sunk cost it entails has tied up a lot of users, especially small-mid, and that would definitely change with traditional subscription approach.

@thesleepofreason wrote:

Not convinced of the creditability of the tweet - is there anything official from VW? 

It's happening. I have had numerous emails promoting last chance to acquire perpetual licences. The perpetual licence has gone from their website and the following link explains more. Sounds way too pushy for me and the annual cost is a big chunk against the previous perpetual licence.

I might just wind up my business or look at cheaper options if GS pull the same stunt.


Apple iMac macOS Ventura / AC26UKI (most recent builds)

They even have an option in which you give up your perpetual license in order to receive a discount on the annual suscription. This is not looking good. Diminishing returns for everyone.

None of the reasons they write about are valid or user focused and definitively not "innovative". This is just a stupid money grab.

Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
AC26 US/INT -> AC08

Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram, OS X 10.XX latest
another Moderator

Instead of expanding the market through a better product lets milk our current loyal customers until everything comes crashing down.

@DGSketcher wrote:

@thesleepofreason wrote:

Not convinced of the creditability of the tweet - is there anything official from VW? 

It's happening. I have had numerous emails promoting last chance to acquire perpetual licences. The perpetual licence has gone from their website ...


Considering the page you link to says that perpetual license are available until 1/1/2023 in my market... the fact that you cannot purchase one (or even see the pricing for a perpetual license on the last 2 days that they are available) on their web site on 12/30/22 just furthers my disdain for this company.


One of the forum moderators
AC 26 USA and earlier   •   macOS Ventura 13.6, MacBook Pro M2 Max 12CPU/30GPU cores, 32GB


Please give choice to a consumer. Please do not go to Adobe way. Or AutoDesk way whatsoever.

We do have a subscription, a subscrition of pcs 9 licenses. And we have had it for, what, at least ten or twenty or more years or some, I can't remember. But it's our choice. It's not mandatory to have that, not mandatory by any Graphisoft specific order. We could drop it today to not to update if we wanted to. And that feels good. Thanks for that.


It's about trust, I think.

AC25, Rhino6/7+Grasshopper, TwinMotionMac Pro 6,1 E5-1650v2-3,5GHz/128GB/eGPU:6800XT/11.6.5 • HP Z4/Xeon W-2195/256GB/RX6800XT/W10ProWS

The moment they do this, it will be a very sad day for everyone, including GS. Hope their shareholders are able to see doing this will be a very wrong move in the mid and long term, because the competition will be very strong in the near future, so it wont be as difficult to ditch Archicad for something newer and sexier, as it is now.


And they are technically already doing it, but you get to keep your last version if you stop paying which is barely fair enough


I think the intent to move to subscription was floated to the VW users in August. Nemetschek's share price spiked at that time. Since then it has taken a dive along with a general downward trajectory over the past 12 months. All the share value that was probably built on goodwill gestures during the pandemic e.g. offering support for working from home seems to have evaporated. At what point will they learn that successful business is built on happy customer recommendation, not just maximum cash flow.

Apple iMac macOS Ventura / AC26UKI (most recent builds)

So it's done under the pretense of facilitating a continuous development cycle and lowering the cost for intermittent use - two characteristics of opensource applications. I guess they have realised the rising threat. But is there any evidence that these companies have a genuine interest in moving to such a user-centric development process? Without it, it is hard to not be cynical towards such moves. And considering the gap between the current situation and what is being alluded to - it's hard to not see it as an endgame move.

I don't think that is the true issue. We are already on a continuous development cycle when we pay yearly for upgrades and they have not been able to deliver. 

Previously upgrades were on 18-24 month release cycle then they promised that with yearly fees upgrades will be faster (which has been a huge lie) and now they say that you can use the software as long as you pay based on the same reasons.

This is not being cynical, this is calling BS to the BS'ers when trying to make us hostage to their software.

Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
AC26 US/INT -> AC08

Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram, OS X 10.XX latest
another Moderator


Hi, just writing to keep this on top, as this forum structure likes to hide this kind of topics rather quickly. 

Checkout Vectorworks forum. Users arent taking this well


By the way. Vectorworks still keeps a forum structure similar to the old Archicad Forum... it was nice to see 😢

The VW forums are good.

The basic sum up is that they are "FORCING" users into subscription and of all the justifications they think up are basically lies. Continuous improvements, release when ready, not having to do a Big release are problems they themselves created and promises they will never be able to keep since a group of users will always be left out of the improvements.


I don't see most AC users quitting their SSAs even though the last versions have emphasized "upgrades" that do not apply to a majority of us, though we are up to a point that everybody is protesting the emphasis on structure. So "forcing" us into sub only will just p'ss-off your most loyal users and very likely will not generate more revenue since the ones in older versions are a relative minority.


VW uses as another selling point that subscription revenue is up but their analysis is flawed. If you think it thru the benefit of having subscription licenses is that I can add seats as I need temporarily without the upfront investment. This is a benefit to our offices and NOT as VW indicates "an indication that our users prefer subscription".


The continuous improvement lie implies that you will have continuous Beta running which means that most long time users will drop out ( I already spend too much time here, in GDCP and in the Beta) since I can take a little time off to try stuff but Beta testing is not my job. Also imagine what would have happened if GS had removed Attribute Manager for the new one in one of those updates. In the end GS can stager their updates within the existing SSA as they have tried and failed to do in the last 2 releases by indicating that certain bugs or fixes will be released in SP1 and SP2.


The yearly marketing Big Release excuse is another stupid lie. They do it because they want to not because they need to. AC is professional software not the latest version of WOW, Destiny or Call of Duty. Be professional in your marketing and start from the point that AC since version 17 (Building Material Intro) is basically feature complete and from now one the strategy is to plan for:

  • BIG Feature every three to five years (ex BMATs, Structure, MEP, Interface)
  • BIG Evolution of features every 2 years (Column, Beam, Stairs)
  • Bug Fixes, OS Compatibility, Speed, Small Evolution on a yearly basis.

Some users will upgrade once every 3 years but you can raise the price to adjust like it is done now.


Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
AC26 US/INT -> AC08

Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram, OS X 10.XX latest
another Moderator

Exactly. The suscription concept works really well if you suddenly find yourself with a lot of work and you need temporary seats. If that situation, that is, having a lot of work beyond your normal historical workload, extends beyond a certain point then you BUY more seats, if not, you revert back to normal, until another work peak arrives. Having this flexibility IS CRUCIAL for survival, especially in volatile markets, at least for a small office like many of us. I guess im not alone in this. Forced suscription without the ability to have a perpetual license would disrupt all this for thousands of small offices that chose Archicad.


I find it next to impossible that Graphisoft doesnt know what kind of architectural offices buy their product and how much they need and value this flexibility. wether they care for it will be seen quite soon. Im counting they keep doing the right thing on this one.

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