Autodesk has announced some significant changes to its pricing of Fusion 360 generative design tools.
The company has experimented with several pricing models for its cloud-based generative design exploration tools – pay-per-use, pay-per-compute, pay-per-result and more recently, introducing a pretty costly all-you-can-eat subscription model with its Generative Design Extension, coming in at $8,000 per year.
The latest update sees Autodesk slash some prices dramatically, down to $1,600 for the all-you-can-eat subscription (or $200 per month), but bump up the price on pay-per-use, with compute costs now at 33 cloud credits (equivalent to $33), up from 25 credits previously.
The good news for those interested in the Fusion 360 pricing pay-per-use model is that where Autodesk previously charged 100 cloud credits to do anything useful with a resultant model (export, conversion to t-splines and so on), this practice has been abandoned entirely. Compute is now the only charge.
“In the years since we first released generative design, we’ve created efficiencies in the software, optimised in the cloud, and, thanks to input from the community, become insightful about how our customers use the tool,” said Stephen Hooper, VP and general manager of Autodesk Fusion 360.
“Ranging from Airbus’s Bionic Partition to Hyundai’s Elevate walking car, and including SRAM’s lighter, stiffer bicycle parts, generative design has helped accelerate both futuristic and practical projects by our customers,” he continued.
“Experience and insight put us in a position to dramatically increase access to the technology and invite a much broader swath of Autodesk users to see what’s possible with generative design. Giving design teams of any size and budget an opportunity to explore it has been our vision since inception, as we believe it will be good for everyone.”
We’ve had our reservations about the pay-per-use model with this sort of tool for a long while now. On the plus side, using large-scale, massively parallel cloud-based computation to explore a design space and domain is incredibly powerful and could allow design and engineering teams to find new ways of working, new forms and new methods of manufacture – all of which make products more efficient.
But at the same time, making cost a potential limiting factor on projects could stifle freedom of experimentation. To experiment, we need to be able to work in an unfettered manner – and it’s hard to do that with an anxious eye on price.
Seeing Autodesk lower cost of adoption is great, but the bigger news is the removal of cost-per-outcome. That’s truly game-changing.