Sketch is going with a new licensing model (blog.sketchapp.com)
almost 7 years ago from Igor Stumberger, Product Designer @ 3fs
almost 7 years ago from Igor Stumberger, Product Designer @ 3fs
I'm not against paying for updates, but this post feels like a bit of an overcomplicated spin on a subscription model
Edit: my point being, a lot of people seem to be misunderstanding what this means for Sketch and maybe the post would be more easily understood if there wasn't so much beating around the bush
I agree, I think they just wanted to explain and justify why they're going with a subscription model (and overcomplicate it when writing), which I think is fair. The subscription model for updates works for me, but I hope this doesn't backfire in the community like in the case of Adobe. Then again you can still use Sketch after your "subscription" is over, you just won't get updates if you don't pay anymore...seems fair to me.
We still have Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo from Serif which are pretty good alternatives to both Adobe's Photoshop/Illustrator and Bohemian Coding's Sketch.
The Sketch payment model is better than Adobe's but at-least Adobe were upfront about theirs. They didn't spin it into something it's not.
But this is not a subscription. With a subscription you are locked in to having to pay for each year/month to continue to using the product. You can continue to use Sketch when your license expires. You just pay to receive updates.
It literally is a subscription, you're just subscribing to updates rather than access to the app. If anything it's closer than ever to a traditional (e.g. print magazine) subscription model.
To be 100% clear, I'm not against paying for updates. I just think the post is almost a bit defensive about what this change is and clarity suffers for it.
you're just subscribing to updates rather than access to the app.
So... it's not a subscription.
"an arrangement to receive something, typically a publication, regularly by paying in advance"
The thing you're receiving is updates. It's almost more worrying that people have come to look at subscription as meaning "it will be taken away when you stop paying". That's rental dude.
Rental implies you have to give it back once you stop paying. You will still have working software once your 1-year upgrade window expires.
You may have valid criticisms to their new licensing model, but one thing is one thing, and another thing is another thing.
Sorry, I wasn't trying to say the Sketch/Bohemian model is like rental, rather that the CC/Adobe (and similar) one is.
Bohemian is suggesting what sounds like a very sensible model, but have written about it in a way that means a lot of people are misunderstanding what it means for them (for the sake of avoiding the 'subscription' boogey man)
Your argument makes no sense. This IS a subscription model. Subscription does not imply renting something. Going back to Tristam's argument to a magazine subscription. When your 1 year ends and you decide not to renew, do you then have to return every magazine you got during that 1 year? No! Were you still signed up for a subscription within that year that you were paying for it? Yes! This is not that hard to grasp ...
I agree, the model is made in such a way that it makes it seem like you would be fine to never invest in updates if you are happy... however if you are working alongside other people then you are more likely going to have to be at the latest version at some point.
Incapability issues with Photoshop versions comes to mind and of course this is cheaper than it was to upgrade photoshop versions but seems silly to imply that there is a choice. There really isn't a choice if you work with a team of people with their own copies of sketch and/or use sketch resources such as UI kits or plugins.
Thanks for the feedback Liam but I think you missed the point of the argument happening in this thread. This wasn't talking about whether or not you would have to continue to pay every year, it was to prove that this is a subscription model despite some people's naiveness.
I think he meant its a shame that when people think of the word "software subscription" in general they think it'll stop working after you stop paying for it. Not every piece of software should be a Saas, especially when you're not using ongoing resources from the company.
That's a good example: when you subscribe to a magazine or newspaper (not sure how common this is in today's gadget filled world) you get to keep the old issues, you just don't get the new ones :)
I feel like people here don't realize you can keep using your current version of Sketch for free forever even after your "subscription" expires. So this is pretty different from Adobe's model.
You can keep using it as long as the (extremely fast moving) industry allows your version to be compatible. Within a year there has always/will always be a major update that breaks compatibility. If you use Sketch in a professional environment, then it now costs $99 per year.
As long as you work just by yourself and don't have to open other people's Sketch files...
People do realize that , but the big deal here is that in a short while, nobody will have the same, most current version of Sketch, and compatibility could be troublesome, which would lead collaboration (i.e. working remotely or freelancing) to become a nightmare.
We can artificially follow their old model.
We can pay the $99 fee every two-years. I can't imagine Sketch blocking off updates that weren't paid for?
It's just $100, if you use it as a tool to make $, you can earn your investment back in a few hours and yet the ROI is MUCH bigger.
Nobody wants to work for free, if you want the next shiny update, you have to pay. If you don't want it, use whatever you have and chillax. It's very simple. Just don't write an Medium about it.
"It's just $100" if you receive in US Dollars. In my case, I get paid in Brazilian Real, which is about R$ 340.
Simple fix: raise your hourly rate.
Oh! So simple! Because here in Florianópolis, Brasil, clients do value Design and pay well for the work! ... Even though I'm a student, I'm somewaht confident with my work, however, if I charge more than R$ 50,00/hour — which is more than most of my coleagues charge — I can't get any jobs.
Another quick fix: work for US clients or relocate to different country.
That's my plan! :)
Even though your solutions sound and are logical, relocation is easier said than done. And it is also easier to say to get better/US clients. It just doesn't happen like that. So much more involved.
I know, I'm from Czech Republic, imagine how hard it was for me but it is totally doable if you are a do-er.
haha, "relocate to different country" best quick fix solution i've ever heard XD
Tomorrow on DN: A medium article about this
Yep, title: Should designers pay?
I think a lot of issues stem from that "If you don't want it, use whatever you have and chillax".
I can't see any situation where you are fine using software that is months or possibly years out of date. Sure, people should just pay for updates, that's fine and yeah it is a small percentage of your overall income so deal with it. However suggesting that the old versions of their software is acceptable is like Apple standing on stage announcing the next version of OSX and one of the benefits being "you can stay on Tiger if you want". Sure people can, but who's interest is that in?
I'm having a problem seeing some opinion in your comment, but I'm not suggesting anything, I'm saying either pay or deal with it bro. Simple as fu*k.
Speaking of value of old versions, ever heard about Android?
Btw Tiger is pretty badass.
Yeah and Androids version fragmentation is no problem at all...
I know its simple and I agree with your point, you want updates and cool features continue to pay.
My issue I had with the original post was that it didn't go into detail or concerns regarding what sort of customer of theirs you are if you don't pay. But since posting my comment I see they have updated their article to include a few points that answer questions I've had. That was my only issue was that they needed to clarify a few things which they have.
The comments in this thread are hilarious.
If Adobe did this (and they did), the people who defend Bohemian Coding would call out Adobe. Yet—because it’s Sketch—they jump to defend it.
This community is full of double standards. Sketch is upheld as a holy application that can do no wrong. A bug in Photoshop? THIS APP IS THE DEVIL. Fuck Adobe. The same bug in Sketch? Ah well, that’s just Sketch! Let’s hug it out.
My opinion on the new licensing model is irrelevant to this thread. What is relevant is the inconsistent attitudes and double standards of this community.
Sketch is a small team (12 people? 15? small.) and a bootstrapped business. Adobe has 11k+ employees and is publicly traded. They are held to a different standard for that reason.
It's hilarious that you think Sketch and Adobe are so comparable.
You fly on two planes, one built by a large boring company, one by a small fun company. Which one are you more upset by when the engine fails mid-flight?
You use two programs everyday to make money. Which do you complain about most when the program crashes, invalidates old versions with minor updates, and general causes havoc everytime you upgrade?
The difference between the two companies is a strange emotional attachment to these companies that provide similar services and products, providing subjective feedback rather than objective criticism.
"You fly on two planes, one built by a large boring company, one by a small fun company. Which one are you more upset by when the engine fails mid-flight?"
If we are going to use comparisons like this, let's be more realistic;
You are flying with an airline operated by a fortune 500 company who employs thousands of technicians, engineers, designers, mechanics, pilots etc.
You are flying with an airline operated by a startup comprising of 15 people who have maybe 5 engineers, 2 pilots, 3 designers, and a handful of other staff.
Now, the plane is delayed, and arrives late due to issues with the landing gear, which causes you to miss the last fast train home.
Who would I be more angry with? That's easy, and if you can't figure out why, then there is little point continuing the conversation.
Sketch's files may not be compatible if you don't upgrade yearly, which means plugins won't support too (I've seen so many plugins which say compatible 3.6+)
That was already an issue it's just the boundary is now your own subscription date and not the arbitrary date the major version was bumped.
Plugin's requiring a certain version is on the plugin developer, not Bohemian Coding. If it's a paid plugin and you're not willing to pay for the most recent version of an app you use regularly enough to want a plugin for it, you are not their customer.
Are Sketch files backwards compatible? If not, then what's the point of holding on to an older version of the app?
Some perspective. Sketch $99/12 = $8.25 per MONTH. Adobe single app plan = $19.99 per MONTH (but more likely you have the $49/month plan). InVision Pro plan = $25 per MONTH.
Time spent in Sketch, 90% of the day. Time in InVision 8%. Time in Adobe, 1%.
Still looks like a great deal to me.
I really don't see the point in making all of this fuss.
Buy Sketch 3.0 -> get updates for n months -> stop on 3.9 -> no more updates
Buy Sketch version x -> get updates for exactly 12 months -> stop on version y -> no more updates
I agree with you Daniel. The only difference is that Bohemian Coding wants to reduce the variable "time" between each version, to monetize more imo.
Sketch 3.0 April 2014 → Sketch 3.8 Today → 2 years
Sketch W.X → Sketch Y.Z → 1 year
If i'm right.
Oh yeah, but that's not what people are complaining about!
Sure, it seems like price will double for people who want to have Sketch always up to date :~
I’m sorry to say, but this is just ridiculous! I am a student and certainly not willing to pay 99 dollars a year for this. I’m paying 120 a year for the full adobe suite, that would be much of a better value…
Enjoy your study discounts while you can
Sketch offers a 50% discount to students.
Maybe whether it's OK or not depends how much cash you have? Sketch 3 was $79 with up to 2 years of free updates, it went up to $99, and is now is $99 a year.
I'd rather it was still $79 once, then $49 every 2 years for major version loyalty upgrades, and free minor updates. That's "fairer". The price and terms have become worse, not better.
You'd rather pay less than more, got it.
Agreed. The "fairness" argument really fell flat on me as well. Subscription feels like you're trapped in something you can't get away from. Although, I'll admit I'm still a little fuzzy on how exactly this is all working.
Yeah, I agree. I was expecting them to do something like that, only to be disappointed when they updated the post.
I'm planning on upgrading every 2-years and see how that works out (unfortunately the team I am on isn't all on Sketch, or even Adobe's CC just yet.)
So instead of $99 every two years it will be that every year... Nice subscription model Bohemian (Sketch)
If you prefer to pay $99 to Bohemian every two years, you are free to do so. The Sketch version you already have will work until probably the nth version of Mac OS makes it incompatible. Isn't that what most people are doing with their Adobe CS6.
Works in theory, but if you are part of a team or work alongside others you will all be expected to be at the latest version to avoid issues. Not moaning, their software they can do what they want, but the argument of "just use the old one" falls flat when there is a compatibility issue between a designer, developer and manager.
They haven't exactly been clear on that aspect of their payment plan. What is to stop people from upgrading every two years? Wouldn't that defeat the point of Sketch going this route in the first place?
I guess it really depends on how many people feel slighted and will wait 2 years to pay that $99 price.
Hello I'm a designer and I have important opinions on this to share with you all.
Hello, I'm a designer and I think you wrote this sassy comment because everything you wanted to say had already been written.
But seriously, people (designers) should be allowed to openly discuss the future of the tools they need to make a living without getting mocked.
Everything can just improve from a living, active and open discussion.
I actually understand what Bohemian is trying to do here. rather than stall a feature just to justify a major version release as a paid upgrade, they are already integrating it to the app so we'll get the feature now rather than later.
I don't feel like this is Adobe way of doing subscription. If you stop paying Adobe, you can no longer use the product but with Sketch you can keep the Sketch version you bought as long as you want. This is similar to people who are still holding on to their copy of Adobe CS6.
I think it's fair to get a number of major free updates until you are required again to pay for a new license.
So if you have a horrible bug, that prevents you from using the application, you need to pay 99 dollar just for the fix.
Horrible bugs should and are being constantly fixed by Bohemian. Don't pretend they're some kind of evil corporation with shitty quality standards for their software.
I am not doing that, but what if your licence has been expired? You won't get any updates from them...
Generally speaking, software-breaking bugs are fixed for older majors.
Regardless, in the old versioning model, if you didn't buy Sketch 4.0 your version 3.8 wouldn't get any updates either.
They've said elsewhere specifically that this will not be the case
Must have overlooked it. My bad then.
Emanuel Sá clarified it on Facebook on one of the comments.
"No updates will be left broken, our system will allow us to release an update to situations like the one Frans mentions without requiring the user to buy another subscription."
I think we all (for the most part) understand that. It's just....why are they being so shady about it in their blog post?
Call it what it is.
Noo please dear God no ads!
Honestly, if it was always up to date and didn't interrupt my workflow, I'd be down for that model.
This is great. If it means they can up their QA and release great new features on a regular basis, I am more than happy to pay a measly $99 per year for that.
That said, I hope they fix Symbols and Styles, like soon. Because, you know,
Let’t not kid ourselves here: Sketch is buggy as fuck.
So are humans. We die from stupid reasons.
Nothing is perfect.
I think Bohemian Coding found the perfect business model. It has the best of both worlds; subscriptions and pay an amount once.
$99 for Sketch + one year of updates is a more than fair price. If you're satisfied you don't have to buy another year of updates. You can pause or stop paying, and still use Sketch. This is a huge advantage over Creative Cloud. Where the software is useless after your subscription ends.
Paying once for an app and never pay anything again isn't a business model that works. I'd like Bohemian Coding to continue existing and working on improving Sketch every day.
Agreed, but it's unfortunate that there's no backwards compatibility. Users with old versions will be forced to upgrade as soon as they try to open files that are newer. Which works for Bohemian just fine, it just weakens the argument that you can use it with no issues after your subscription ends.
This is so not cool, Bohemian Coding.
I can just agree:
We think a fairer approach is for everybody to get the same period of free updates, no matter when they purchased the app.
Because, let's say they would release Sketch 4 traditionally with a $99 price tag, but you had just purchased Sketch 3 six months ago and then feel the need to get 4, you would be paying 99/6 months vs. a user who has Sketch 3 already for 2 years which is 99/2 years: which means the cost/productivity revenue is way less. It just doesn't make sense for a user buying high numbered version software and I think the devs realized that and actually came up with a very clever subscription model that actually rocks, because no matter when you get the software - you GET THE SOFTWARE (which you can actually use as long as you want) & 1 year of FREE UPGRADES.
Don't confuse this with Adobe's way of subscription, which basically says: "If you stop paying us, you won't be able to use our software AT ALL anymore !"
BUT to be fair, I must add they should then probably half their price to $50. Why? Because traditionally as they wrote themselves on their blog, they would release a new version every 2 years. Which means when you had bought the app on release, you would pay: 99 / 2 = $49 per year & we still could use it after 2 years.
If instead of $50 the new price of the subscription model will still be $99 for the software & 1 year of free updates, it's just a hidden price increase on Sketch.
unless Bohemian offers backwards compatibility - of which they don't currently. I'm so sick of the subscription model. Sad news.
Hate on me as much as you want but Sketch is not good enough to cost this much. It's pleasant to use but the quality is not where it needs to be. I hope for them they use the money to improve the quality of their software, but IMHO affinity is already in a better place and improving rapidly.
Thanks for the Affinity reminder. I see Affinity as a great replacement for PSD and AI. But I am worried that at $49 bucks they'll have a hard time feeding their devs.
They’ve been in the software business for longer than most people on DN have lived. Pretty confident they won’t go out of business too soon ;).
I would gladly pay double for affinity, quality is worth it. My beef with Sketch is how incredibly buggy that app is.
So they're going with the Framer model.
I wonder if they had been talking to the Framer team and realised that it makes more economic sense to do it this way...
Both teams are based in the Netherlands, they've openly declare they're friends and they've been working together on some Framer + Sketch integrations. So yes, I'm sure they were influenced by the Framer team.
But honestly, I think this licensing model makes sense. These are great tools and I'm willing to support the people building Framer & Sketch. Also, I like that if I need to stop paying for a year or two I still can continue to use the tool for as long as I want.
I'm not overly concerned. I can quickly recoup the $99/year I'll spend on Sketch. It'd be different if they said "Pay us $99 per year or we'll deactivate your license." They're not doing that; if you want to upgrade, pay the $99. If not, wait until an upgrade comes around that you're interested in using, then pay the $99.
I get they need to get revenue. Why can't they just stick with the major versions you pay for? If you already have a license for 3, you get a discounted upgrade price. Then just offer 4 free to anybody who bought 3 within a month or two of launching 4.
And if you bought it six months before? You're still getting the short end of the stick compared to those who bought it at 3.0.
I think it would be fair if the renewal price is 50% of the initial purchase, since basically when you renew the license it's just for the new features / bugfixes not for a completely new product.
I have no problem with this as long as they make file backwards compatible. Not all of us are working in an ecosystem where you can make your team-mates subscribe to something just because of your workflow. If I get it right, with this model if you created a file in 4.0 and your coworker is on 3.8 - they first have to upgrade the license even to just access the file. Not having Windows compatibility was already bit of hassle - but one that I could afford. I still love sketch but this might, just might make me re-consider Adobe.
When they start fixing all the pain in the A.. bugs than i am ready to pay for it. If this does not happen i will give Adobe XD a chance it looks promising and they develop it for the designers.
By that same token, you could buy any of the old Adobe apps and keep them forever. You would have the same problems with dated software, you can't open files created by anyone with the newer version, compatibility issues with new OS versions, bugs that never get addressed, etc.
So now, Sketch costs as much as PS (the PS photography plan which includes LR, PS and a bunch of other mobile/cloud apps is $100/yr).
Now having said that (only to highlight that BC did the same thing Adobe does), I think $100/yr for a design tool that you use to earn your living and create almost all of your work is a perfectly reasonable price.
If this enables BC to create a better sketch, then by all means, use the same pricing model Adobe has.
I think they should solve the issue for open files from a new minor version in a old version of Sketch before switch to this kind of business model, they way it is today would be impossible to work with other people after your subscription ends. And $99/y is almost the price of the Photoshop + Lightroom combo. Maybe they'll drop the price just a little bit.
This is basically what they were already doing. Buy 2.0, and get free updates until 3.0. It's just time-based now instead of arbitrary version-number based. I think this is more predictable for us and for them, and makes a lot of sense
Good for them.
Sketch is at the center of design tools that spawned and shook up the design ecosystem.
Not that it should be "all about the money" - but, as other players (Invision for example) who I really appreciate as well - as these players have way higher upsides on the back of their product, it must be frustrating.
I've been using Sketch for a few years now and easily spend 6 - 8 hours a day using it.
The three to four thousands hours I've spent using Sketch for that $100 investment are a steal.
Finally, believe it or not - the new pricing schema and approach may make it easier to convince larger organizations to switch to Sketch.
Anyhow, I'm happy to invest more into a product that is the center of my life .
I hope this gives them the resources they need to take Sketch to the next level.
I think I'm ok with this. A lot of people seem to be mis-reading the model in thinking it's a purely subscription model like Adobe's. In reality, they're just streamlining their release process so they don't have to hold onto large feature upgrades for the major version release. If they continue to deliver with feature updates, then the consumer isn't really losing much value.
It would also be nice to be able to pay a larger amount up front to maybe get unlimited upgrades forever (Alfred and Arq have this model and I have bought into both).
Windows user :|
What's your level of FOMO at this point?
We need Affinity to release an UI focused application.
If I have to pay 99€ for a new app each year or 99€ a year for a subscription-fee, doesn't change so much. What's is important IMHO, is if I'm satisfied of the product and so if it's worth the price. Obviously I'm happy if I save 99€ in my pocket every year, but personally I have no problem to pay yearly for a good and useful product. Are you? This is the only good question you have to make to yourself.
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