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Autodesk to Simplify Fusion 360 Licensing

Picture of Matthew Mensley
by Matthew Mensley
Sep 14, 2018

Autodesk will strip away the Standard and Ultimate editions of its CAD/CAM design software Fusion 360 in October, replacing its old two-tier licensing model with a single offering that includes all generative and advanced design tools previously exclusive to the Ultimate edition.

Wrapping your head around Autodesk’s labyrinthine software licensing structure can be a bit of a headache.

In a bid to simplify matters for Fusion 360 subscribers and, Autodesk claims, “put the ‘aid’ back in computer-aided design” by letting users leverage the full generative design toolkit offered by the program, Fusion 360 will shortly undergo a licensing structure change.

From October 7, 2018, the Standard and Ultimate editions of Fusion 360 will cease to exist, replaced by a single Fusion 360 subscription that offers everything that the Ultimate edition did.

This means that generative design tools, advanced simulation, and advanced CAM — including 3+2 and 5-axis machining — become available to all users of the program.

Precisely why Autodesk has decided to lower the barrier, we’re not sure. It’s possible that few users thought of the tools as worth the jump in price from Standard to Ultimate ($310 to $1,535) and so Autodesk is simply releasing advanced tools to more users, as detailed in a blog post announcing the switch.

Viewing the move cynically, you could reason the change is a handy excuse to bump up the price of the Standard edition (which it is — from $310 yearly to $495) and expose more users to these advanced tools which, to our understanding, are cloud-based and require the separate purchase of Cloud Credits to use anyways.

On the other hand, current Fusion 360 Standard subscribers can continue to pay the old price for as long they renew, and Fusion 360 Ultimate subscribers will see a drop of $1,040 from the current price of $1,535 for a year’s subscription. It appears to be a pretty sweet deal that’s respectful of the existing user base.

Fusion 360’s New Licensing Structure

Regardless of the reason, the new licensing structure is a reality as of October 7, 2018. Here’s how it breaks down and what happens to current subscribers when the switch is made.

Existing Standard edition subscribers will continue to pay their current rate of $310 a year, provided they continue to renew their subscription. The previously Ultimate features of generative design technology, advanced manufacturing functionality, and advanced simulation functionality all become accessible.

Subscribers to Fusion 360 Ultimate will continue to enjoy the product as they know it, with no changes in functionality. Going forward they will pay the new lower price of $495, following a complimentary two-year extension.

Nothing changes for Fusion 360 Early Adopters. The discounted price of $300 remains the same, as does the yearly bonus of 1,000 Cloud Credits.

Those using Autodesk’s Product Design & Manufacturing Collection or Product Design Suite bundles will benefit from the unlocking of the generative, simulation and advanced manufacturing tools with no other changes.

For existing Student and Educational licensees, things also remain the same. However, Autodesk notes that the generative design tool is strictly for commercial customers only.

Hobbyist and Startup licensees that currently use Fusion 360 for free can continue to do so with all but one of the additional tools — as above for Education, generative design is off-limits.

Auto-renewal for monthly subscribers will be deactivated on October 7, necessitating the user to reactivate it at the new price structure following the switch. There’s no word yet on the new monthly prices, but we imagine these will scale in proportion to the specific product’s yearly price.

License: The text of "Autodesk to Simplify Fusion 360 Licensing" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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