Autodesk this morning revealed new rental pricing for the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites as well as standalone versions of Maya, Maya LT, and 3ds Max. Starting September 16, options for monthly, quarterly or annual rental pricing will be available, in addition to traditional licenses.

Users of what Autodesk calls "pay as you go" plans will receive benefits similar to those offered to Autodesk Subscription customers: all of the latest product updates, access to some of the company's cloud services, and the company's Basic Support plan.

How much does it cost? There are a multiplicity of options (see chart, below), but for power users in the market for Autodesk's Entertainment Creation Suite Ultimate — which includes Maya, 3ds Max, Softimage, MotionBuilder, Mudbox, and SketchBook Designer — a monthly rental will be $525, a quarterly rental will be $1,315, and an annual rental will be $4,200. That annual fee is just about half the price of a new copy, which sells for $8,395 at the Autodesk website ($9,740 for a version with Autodesk Subscription and Advanced Support), and about 70% of the price of an upgrade, which starts at $5875. (If you're in the market for the Ultimate suite right now, note that a $1,500 rebate for new purchasers of a perpetual license is in place until October 25.)

Similarly, a copy of Maya that sells for $3,675, or $4,300 with Subscription, is priced for rental at $1840 annually. 

"We expect rental plans to be attractive across all the industries we serve, especially for freelancers, startups, or businesses that are project-based in nature," said Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk's senior VP of industry strategy and marketing. "This model allows customers to compete with the highest quality, industry leading software, while using only what they need when they need it."

Autodesk Rental Pricing

Product Monthly Quarterly Annual
Entertainment Creation Suite Standard* $360 $905 $2,890
Entertainment Creation Suite Premium* $425 $1,065 $3,415
Entertainment Creation Suite Ultimate* $525 $1,315 $4,200
3ds Max $195 $575 $1,840
Maya $195 $575 $1,870

All prices listed are U.S. only. Check with Autodesk for prices in other regions.

* ECS Standard includes Maya or 3ds Max, MotionBuilder, Mudbox, and SketchBook Designer. Premium adds Softimage to the above, and Ultimate includes both Maya and 3ds Max.

Adobe has been lambasted by a vocal segment of its customer base over the decision earlier this year to stop offering traditional perpetual licenses for new versions of its products, offering only subscriptions rather than the option to purchase and own software outright. As previously reported, by offering rentals in addition to perpetual licenses, Autodesk expects to avoid such criticism while addressing customers and facilities who only need extra Autodesk seats on a temporary basis, or who prefer to make a smaller up-front investment in the products.

"Autodesk launching rental plans will really help change the industry," said Will Cohen, CEO and executive producer at VFX facility Milk, in a prepared statement. "Having scalability — the flexibility to easily ramp up or back depending on the project — means we can better compete in the modern visual effects industry."

More detail is slated to become available at the following URL: