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PSA - Do not purchase perpetual licenses! Get the annual subscription instead.

New Here ,
Sep 15, 2021 Sep 15, 2021

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When I was purchasing my licenses recently, it was kind of unclear what you got for all the packages (maybe I'm just stupid), but I wanted to make sure anyone else thinking about purchasing any substance software knew all the differences between the offered packages. This will be referring to prices for the Indie licenses, but it looks like a similar pattern was used for all offering levels.

I'm not sure why perpetual licenses are offered, unless they are just a trap to overcharge customers for less software? Or, perhaps, it's just for them to be able to say they sell perpetual licenses in an era when many large software companies are moving to the less popular subscription method only when they clearly don't want you to buy them? The bottom line is, if you buy perpetual licenses you will get access to less software and it will cost you more money. There is literally no reason to buy perpetual licenses because you can convert the annual subscription package (which includes more software and access to Source) to perpetual licenses at any time. To me, whatever the reason they are offered, it is borderline predatory practice and doesn't sit right with me at all.

In my case, I was really only interested in Painter and B2M, and on top of that, this is software I am not even going to be using every week, or every month even (I am usually programming, but I do a lot of 3D work as well as a secondary skillset), so by default I obviously was not looking for a subscription of any kind since I didn't want to be paying for something every month that I didn't use every month. So, I went ahead and purchased a perpetual license for the 2 packages (Painter and B2M) and called it good. Painter cost me 150USD, and B2Mcost me 100USD, totalling 250USD.

The software is great, but I decided I might like access to Substance Source to help me get better base materials to work with. Odd, I can't seem to find anywhere where I can purchase monthly downloads for it. After speaking with support, I was told the only possible way to get access to Source was through either the monthly to annual subscription methods (where you would have to purchase licenses to the main software packages - you cant just get Source by itself). Clearly they are trying to herd everyone over to subscriptions when they could easily just allow you to purchase 30 downloads of Source a month as a separate item. This is when I looked into the prices a bit more and realized perpetual licenses aren't even meant to be sold, they are just there so Substance can say they offer them - my stomach sank as I realized I had spent more for half the software.

It turns out, I could've spent 240USD for the annual subscription instead, and that would give me the same license for Painter, B2M, AND Designer, AND Source, AND Toolkit for less money. On top of that, at any time at all, you can convert all of those licenses to perpetual licenses for a 50USD fee - totalling 290USD for perpetual licenses to ALL of that software (except Source, which requires the active subscription).

What this means is, you can wait 11 months or so and then convert all of the software to perpetual licenses. S0, for those 11 months, you get Source and you get all software updates for free, and then you still end up with perpetual licenses for Painter, B2M, AND DESIGNER.

Let's compare that to just buying the same licenses individually:

Annual Sub turned Perpetual at 11 months gives you:

-Perpetual License to Painter

-Perpetual License to Designer

-Perpetual License to B2M

-11 Months of access to 30 downloads a month for Source

-11 months of access to free software updates for all software


TOTAL: 290USD (You get everything for this price)

If you buy perpetual licenses for everything available instead:

-Perptual License to Painter (150USD)

-Perpetual License to Designer (150USD)

-Perpetual License to B2M (100USD)

-ZERO access to Source

-For 12 months, you will get updates to the software for free

TOTAL: 400USD (You still lack access to multiple things for this price)

So, in my case, I could spend 10 bucks LESS and get access to MORE software and access to Source, with the option at any time to spend 50 bucks to convert ALL OF IT to perpetual licenses. Wow. OR, I could give them more money and not get access to source (or toolkit?). Hmmmmmmm....

To their credit, they issued me a refund so I could get rid of the pointless perpetual licenses I had purchased and switch to the annual subscription plan instead, but I am still left wondering why they would handle their store this way. Why not just not offer perpetual licenses at all if you can't fairly price them? Why bar owners of perpetual licenses access to Substance Source with NO OPTION to get it other than to buy extra unneeded licenses and full subscriptions?


  • Perpetual licenses are a complete rip off and waste of money

  • You can get access to double the software + source for an annual subscription which you can then convert to perpetual licenses anyway, resulting in more perpetual licenses for less money








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Community Expert ,
Sep 17, 2021 Sep 17, 2021

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Your post is a word for word copy of a post on Reddit - almost 4 years ago! If you are going to post here - please create your own.

The information is now incorrect in terms of prices, and package content. In addition, the option to convert to perpetual license is no longer offered. I am not an Adobe employee, but see the answer from Adobe in this thread :



For current pricing see here:




I agree with "your" post though that the subscription is good value and IMO is worth it for the access to Assets alone - almost making the software free 🙂 Everyone's milage may vary of course.







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