|Author||Topic: Paid updates poll|
Posted: 15th November 2004 08:07
I'm trying to do a bit of market research and see what people thinking about paying for major updates to software. At the moment all the updates of our software go out for free . I was under the impression that most people though that paying for updates was a terrible idea and caused a lot of bad feelings i.e. people wouldn't buy any of our other software
However , in these post , http://www.kvr-vst.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=59759 and http://www.kvr-vst.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=63339 , I have had people say that I should charge for majopr updates (in this case for Kubik) , as it gives a guarantee that there will be an update , because it now makes economical sense for me to carry on developing that plugin
I stress there will not be any mandatory charge for the next version of Kubik (I am thinking of other options about it though) , but I would be very interested to here people's thoughts about paying for updates
So in that spirit I've put up the poll , if anybody has any other ideas about any other ideas about udpates payments and possible options, just let us know.
Jon : COFX
Posted: 15th November 2004 08:18
I would support software updates as long as the added features and improved the synth.
Reaktors model is good. Small updates = free, larger updates = fee.
Posted: 15th November 2004 08:23
I have no objection to paying for a major update as long as the gap in between is a long time (and as long as minor fixes are free). What i object to is dev's releasing stuff every six months and expecting users to pay for it (steinberg....)
Also, i dont think you should have to pay for fixes. A bug is the developers fault. So its unfair to charge the user. But for extra features - yeah why not charge
Posted: 15th November 2004 08:24
*looks at results*
Oh, great, I'm a like-minded individual! Seven all alike.
I haven't any of your products at present, but might do some day. The gypsy palmist was unclear on certain aspects of my future.
Whether Concrete or other, I figure it's money that keeps developers from running out of ramen. For a major upgrade, I think it's quite reasonable to charge. The cost should be commensurate with the goshwowieness of the upgrade.
Whether I'll be able to buy any given version upgrade is an entirely different question from whether I consider it righteous to reap rich rewards for the moil of one's mighty muscles.
Right-of-decimal-point updates, no.
 And what Paul_FX said too, about bugs and time spans.
Posted: 15th November 2004 08:25
I have no issue with paying for major updates, so long as the previous version has been made 99.9% bug free.
The part that pisses people off is when you have paid for V1.5 (for example) only to find it has a critical flaw and then the next thing you know V2.0 is out as a paid upgrade before they fix V1.5!
I should point out I am definately not referring to anything you have done Jon, you truly are the king of bug fixes and customer service! But it has been known for companies to push on developing projects without getting the bugs out of the old ones first.
I think that you should charge for major updates (I'm going to regret this if you decide to charge for Microdicer! ). Your prices are very reasonable indeed and the offers you do are incredible! I don't think many of YOUR customers would begrudge you a few quid!
Posted: 15th November 2004 08:27
Hmm, that's the most emphatic poll I've seen yet! 100% for paid upgrades?!
Who'da thunk it, eh?
Posted: 15th November 2004 08:30
Of course I voted for #1, but then, I really got annoyed of NIs tactics lately.
They're charging money for things that should've been released in "intermediate" updates (costfree that is) quite often.
A company doing it like that defenitely won't encourage me to buy anymore products of them, be it new versions or updates.
Posted: 15th November 2004 08:47
I have no problem with a paid update policy, but I will say that I avoid dev's who carry bugs over to the next update unfixed. I mean if I paid for working SW and then I have to pay again to get it to work, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
That's why I don't own any NI stuff...
Posted: 15th November 2004 08:48
Agreed. When I think of the stuff Propellerhead put into 2.5 -- and it was a free update, though it really should've been called 3.0 -- then I see the improvements in a few products... well, those get my "insufficient goshwowieness factor" buzzer and I pull the lever that operates the trap-door.
not a toon... but I play one on tv
Posted: 15th November 2004 09:13
Paid upgrades are fine IMO if:
- they offer enough new functionality or such (I don't care if the previous release was only 6 months old),
- the previous release got all necessary bugfixes.
As long as the bugfixes are there, why should anyone have bad feelings about a new upgrade? Either you think it's worth your money or you don't.
Posted: 15th November 2004 09:29
Paid updates are fine if it's a substantial upgrade.
If a dev was asking for money every time they fixed a bug, I wouldn't be so pleased. I also don't like it when devs don't release bug fixes for old software just because they've moved on to the new version.
But in the end, you're a business, and you'll need to make money somehow. If you want to charge, nobody's business telling you to do otherwise.
Posted: 15th November 2004 09:41
Some interesting points been brough up , thanks for the messages. If I was to summarize what people have said it seems that paying for major updates good , paying for bug fixes bad . Would people agree with that ?
Jon : COFX
Posted: 15th November 2004 09:48
In effect, charging for bug-fixes is tantamount to lying about the real price of your product. At least IMO.
It's kinda like 'okay you can get working SW for $99, but wait, you'll need to pay another $29 to get it to work....'
Then again, this is a loaded question, because I'm sure there are cases where charged bug-fixing is warranted and necessary. I just can't think of any. But of course, there's sometimes a thin line between bug and feature...
Posted: 15th November 2004 09:49
Posted: 15th November 2004 09:52
Bug fixes should be commensurate with the product you've already purchased.
New features are not (usually). Lots of new features often add up to a new product. Double the feature set of Kubik, it becomes something far different from Kubik v1. No way for you to do business without revenue coming in. Some feature additions are nice for free, though, helps sweeten the deal between seller and buyer.
Crazy scenario would be the "free updates for life" for Fruity. But then most new instruments are sold as seperate products to counterbalance.
One scenario I like is software sold up to a certain version. So you buy in at v1.x which is good until v3.x is released. Happy medium between paying all the time and never paying again.
Posted: 15th November 2004 09:53
I have no issue paying for a major update as long as it is adding new features and realistically priced.Something like 5-10% of the full product with a ceiling of say 20% of full cost if the update is adding major features,new instruments,sample content etc.
However i do expect all bug fixes ,stability and compatibility issues etc. to be free ,we should not have to wait for a new version before advertised components/features of the original actually work as promised by the developer.
Posted: 15th November 2004 09:54
Another thing I highly dislike is when dev's one-up their product, seemingly just to rake in the revenue.
Posted: 15th November 2004 09:56
Well, is it a one-upping that gets you a much superior instrument/effect?  In a way you can use, that is. If so, I don't mind so much. After all, I can always just not have the money. (In fact, that's a better than even bet. ) Still got the previous version.
Posted: 15th November 2004 10:01
I don't mind upgrade fees neither, provided that they yeld significant improvements featurewise, GUI etc.
Lately I have to say that Steinberg has pissed me off a bit with their quick 1>2>3 on SX and SL. Of course no one is forcing you to buy the new version if you're happy with the old one. Yet, when you first made a major investment in say SX, you don't want to be way behind so you'll have to shell out big time to upgrade version 1 to 4.
Else I'll find 20-30 dollars to Jon or Renè any day.
Posted: 15th November 2004 10:06
Well depends on the dev, but as an example, Tassman went from V2 to V4 with improvements that IMO add up to one solid paid update, not two...
Posted: 15th November 2004 11:04
More or less: yes.
Still, from "nice" companies (whatever that means) I'd expect something more before they'll be doing a version jump that you have to pay for.
Battery might ne the perfect example here: I do know that the last version 1 is rock-solid, working as expected too - so all the bugs have been fixed. One *could* say there was no need for anything else to be thrown in for free.
Still, there's so much utterly annoying things which IMO wouldn't require a pay-update but could perhaps be expected. Just a few examples:
- The non-resizeable sample load box (under Windows that is).
- The need to allways check the "in kit preview" box once you were loading a sample.
- The incredibly uberlame modulation scheme.
I won't list all the things I can think of because that's beyond the point - but IMO it's clear that all of those issues could've been adressed without any new version numbers, let alone pay-updates.
I will gladly pay for anything adding something substantial, but I really don't like to pay for something that wasn't there in the first place allready, just because the application wasn't tested properly (or released in a hurry, or not maintained properly).
Of course, I DO know that you can't fulfill all your user's wishes before releasing a new version number, but there's certainly a line between not taking care at all and fulfilling at least some of the "most wanted annoyance fixing" requests.
For example, in case of Battery, I would've never asked for filters per cell on a free update (which is what a lot of people were crying for at NIs forums) - to me these are very well justifying a new version number. I wouldn't ask for any other substantial change either - but I actually DO expect a sample based application to offer a proper sample loading dialog without having to pay extra money for it. Even in case it's not ecactly a bug it's still a major letdown.
IMO these are the (small but important) things that make developers/companies look greedy instead of getting some "Hey, these are fine folks, they actually care!" perception.
In the end, it's not THAT much I have to pay for Battery 2, but it'd make NI a WAY better company in my perception if they'd just managed to throw in some annoyance fixes before releasing it.
As said, NI is just an example here, other companies might be of the same sort. And again others might just be the opposite.
Posted: 15th November 2004 11:41
Paid updates are good so long as they bring new features/improvements, not just bug fixes.
If you buy something and it is not working as advertised (e.g. it has bugs), you usually have a legal right to either have the problem fixed or your money back. This is why bug fixes should always be free.
However, I think most devs should charge for substantial upgrades. A lot of free "giveaways" eventually equals one big upgrade. Better to first fix all reported bugs, then take the time to listen to user feedback, and finally make an update worth spending money on.
There are other things better suited to be given away freely, such as the occassional sound/patch collection or interesting/inspirational tutorials.
Please note that I am speaking generally here. It is not my intent to accuse any devs of anything, least of all ConcreteFX, whom I have a very good impression of.
Posted: 15th November 2004 11:45
I came in at T3 and haven't upgraded, so can't comment on that one. I do wish AAS would learn the joys of backward compatibility. >_<
Posted: 15th November 2004 11:48
You never tried to use it with Sonar using drum maps,I see...
Your summary was right on the money,Jon
Posted: 15th November 2004 11:51
payable updates should depend on
time, not on releases !!!
i think 2 or 3 years FREE updates
independent of the amount of releases.
all other is sucking and tricking.
and you feel like a second class
a few weeks later. and you say:
i don't want to feel like that, so i don't buy
it anymore, i will buy another product:
product-hopping is a better
feeling than update-hopping.
selling a version 1 today and releasing a version 2 tomorrow without the chance to update free for a longer preriod than 6 months is bad.
paying for new products or addons is better than to pay for updates.
everything with a price more than
50 $ should include the right to
keep it in an actual condition
regarding bugs, os-compatibility and
a nice solutions is to make
price 1 = 29 USD = no updates
price 2 = 49 USD = 1 year updates
price 3 = 99 USD = unlimited updates
so you know today what happens tomorrow with your money.
you as a customer are included into
Posted: 15th November 2004 11:53
Nay, I say! Have you ever read one of your EULA's?
They say stuff like (paraphrased):
"We're not saying that this software will work as advertised, and you don't have the right to hold us accountable in a court of law if it doesn't. And if your use of this software breaks your machine, crashes your hard drive, or corrupts all your precious .wav's, tough tittys.... You can't sue us! Oh, and by breaking the seal on the CD case, you agree to this blatant shafting."
Posted: 15th November 2004 11:56
No, it isn't. If v1 got all necessary bugfixes and v2 has enough new features, all is fine. Get v2 if you like the deal. Stick to v1 if you don't.
We don't want to slow down development, do we?
Posted: 15th November 2004 12:56
I acually don't like this model, because I think none of the price levels makes sense from the customer's POV. On one hand, if you spend more than the minimum, it's anyone's guess what your extra money is buying you. Could be loads of useful new features, could be features you'll never use -- even features that add to the CPU load and make the product LESS useable for you. And on the other hand, if you pay only the minimum, you might be stuck with bugs and the need to pay more just to get what you thought you were buying the first time. IMO, these are both unacceptable risks.
I agree with the common sentiment in this thread that major upgrades should be paid and bug fixes/maintenance upgrades should be free. But I'd add two points:
1. The fee/free distinction only works when developers are quick to fix bugs and keep the "free" side of the equation flowing. If bug fixes slow down, you end up paying for new features whether you want them or not, just because the bug fixes are part of the same paid package.
2. Demo versions, with the same feature set as the paid version, are important in this model. If you're buying (a license to use) a particular version, rather than free upgrades for life, then you have a right to test how well the current version meets your needs before you buy. This way you get a product that does what you need, you get bugs fixed for free, and when a major upgrade comes along with a price tag attached -- whether 6 months later or 2 years later -- you can decide whether you want to invest in new features or continue using what you've already paid for.
Posted: 15th November 2004 14:26
don't want to echo what I said in the other thread but..
i have no problem with it. ideally there'd be free updates within a version, and paid updates to the next 'left of decimal' version.
Having lifetime free updates (DiscoDSP), is super cool and feels great
but it's never ever been a factor in something I want. I want it for what it is, not what it might become.
And if the options are 'if I charge for updates, this product will have a future, but if I don't, it won't', I see there being nothing to lose with charging. If people don't want to upgrade, they simply won't, and those that see the value will pay their part for the new features.
that said, it would suck to get v2.0 of something, as a paid update, only to have bugfixes and a new skin, or even just more patches. Unless you are getting new waveforms, new wavetables (yes I'm thinking of Kubik here) at least, and probably new features, paying to get some patches that use current waveforms/tables/samples and a new skin is gonna leave a bad taste in the mouth.
I know there's a list of a million great new features for Kubik, and as amazing as this synth currently is, there's lots more that can be done with it. I'd have no problem paying to get cool new features into Kubik.
Also, one more thought - if 'point releases' (right of decimal) are free, and include some new features for the users, it makes paying up for the MAJOR new version even easier to stomach: "hey look at the cool free updates I've been getting so far, nothing wrong with paying for v2.0, I'm sure i'll get treated just as well as it evolves". You know.
|Green Red Brownell|
Posted: 15th November 2004 14:47
Hey all... I think I started the original thread, so I guess my views are already known. Thanks to everyone else for chiming in with their views. It's good to know what others think.
Here's the short version of my opinion:
Buying software that has "free updates for life" worries me, for 2 reasons... I worry that there won't be any more updates (and so I'm tempted not to buy it in the first place), and I don't think it is necessary to have such a policy to sell software direct. Most commercial software has a paid update policy... developers have to eat. It *is* possible to strike a good balance between what should be a free update, and what should be paid. People in this thread have given many good examples.
The only downside that I can see in a paid update policy is if a developer includes both big-fixes and new features in, say, a V3 release. Really, this should be 2 separate releases: a bug-fix release for free to V2 customers, and a paid upgrade to V3. But, because it is expensive to test 2 separate releases, some developers just bundle it into one. This kind of policy screws the V2 customers, and creates ill will.
My main reason for raising this issue was a post of Jon's that mentioned that Kubik was the most "work-intensive" plug that he had ever made. He said that he was proud of it, but also wondered if it was worth all the effort, economically. Like, was it the best use of his time? These are certainly concerns that anyone trying to make a living off their software *has* to address. We all understand that. And, if Jon has to work on a new product in order to pay the bills, instead of upgrading Kubik, then we Kubik owners lose.
So, since I heard the seeds of doubt amongst the pride, I felt we should try to demonstrate that there was a win-win solution. Fix bugs for free, and save major enhancements (maybe starting with V3) for a paid upgrade.
As I have said about 5 times already... I would feel far more positive about Kubik if there was going to be ongoing development on it. I would *far* rather have a paid V3 update, than no V3 at all. That way, everyone wins. I want Kubik to rock as hard as possible, and I think Jon isn't done yet!!!!!
Just placed my order. I haven't tried it yet, but if it is as good as most people as saying, then I would certainly be happy to have the V2 upgrade be "donation-ware", and I would donate. I believe in supporting small, innovative developers, so they stay in business to code another day!
Thanks Jon, for hearing me out!! Thanks, everyone else, for backing me up.
Eh, not so short... I need practice in word frugality!
Posted: 15th November 2004 14:53
THAT'S the point!
You're just building up WAY more trust towards a company giving you something cool without having to pay each time.
Fixing bugs is just normal and expected, offering certain "maintainance" updates is something else allready, but offering some new functionality/features/goodies without having existing users pay for it is what makes a company special.
Has been getting less and less during the last few years though, at least for the big players.
Posted: 15th November 2004 15:02
bad example of paid updates :
Posted: 15th November 2004 15:09
imageline (modular approach)
fxpansion (cant even tell BFD 1.0.5 and 188.8.131.52 are the same hehe tons of new features)
Posted: 15th November 2004 15:20
No problem if....
1. price is very reasonanble
2. only for major upgrades
3. not if i the product i buyed was told 'free upgrade'
'cause maybe thats' one of the reason i buyed it
Posted: 15th November 2004 15:43
Just come back in and seen all the posts. There is a lot of interesting ideas here. I'll need to read through it all in more detail before making any decisions.
The time-limited updates is an option that I hadn't though about , however being a relatively new company if did a two years free updates than all the updates of all our software would still be free , but interesting neverless
Please keep posting and using the poll , I'm still interested in people ideas both for and against . Also it's instructive to hear of people's bad experiences with updates , it'll give me something to stir clear off
Jon : COFX
Posted: 15th November 2004 18:17
It's simple for me.
If I really love the instrument and there's a major upgrade - then I would be happy to pay for the upgrade.
To me it's not just about paying for the upgrade in question it's also about encouraging the developer to continue with a product you love.
Some software I'd be quite happy to pay for a major upgrade for:
Cool Edit 2000
It's the tools I choose to work with and I'm not interested in them vanishing - or becoming incompatible with the next OS, and in some cases I still want the product to go further.
So I want the developer to be rewarded financially by the effort. I want these updates to be viable for him and if it takes a small monetary sacrifice from me to do it then I'm OK with that.
I don't like the idea of someone (especially a one-developer shop) constantly churning out new products with a free updates for life policy because it's the only way for the business to remain viable. The older products never get updates because it immediately limits his/her revenue.
You end up with all these 'coulda, woulda, shoulda but didn't' products that were good at the start but just missed their potential.