13. August 2013 12:19
by Daniel Harris
This is something I’ve been thinking about ever since I saw there would be a new Visual Studio release in 2013… Is there a chance we could see a subscription model become available later this year?
With the next release being just a year after the previous release, I’ve seen some developers complaining that they are being priced out of using the latest version.
With what looks like the introduction of a yearly release cycle, how are developers expected to afford to keep using the latest version?
In my opinion, a basic subscription model could be just the answer.
What about MSDN Subscriptions?
One existing way you may say, is the purchase of an MSDN Subscription. However, in my opinion the pricing for this is still going to be too high for many independent developers, and smaller companies.
The lowest priced option is Visual Studio Professional, at over £1000. The renewal cost to keep your subscription is currently around £675 per year.
MSDN includes many other benefits and access to other software, but for many developers access to all these extras just isn’t needed, and isn’t always affordable.
There are always the free editions available of course, which offer much of what a hobbyist or independent developer would need at no cost, but this could be great for startups and other small companies that want to keep up to date with the Microsoft stack.
The cost of 5 MSDN subscriptions or just 5 Visual Studio Pro licenses can soon stack up when you are just trying to get started.
Why I think it is likely we will see a subscription model this year
As well as my reasoning above for why an MSDN Subscription isn’t for everybody, there are a number of other reasons I feel we will see this happen:
A yearly release follows the trend at Microsoft for trying to be more agile - With more frequent software releases, there needs to be an affordable way for people to upgrade
We have seen the introduction of Subscriptions for Office with Office 365 over the last few years, in my experience this model is extremely convenient and very affordable
Team Foundation Service, the cloud based TFS is available under this model, as an alternative to purchasing up front
We are seeing a general shift towards subscription models with other companies such as Adobe taking their software towards a subscription only model via Creative Cloud
I am not lucky enough to have any sources, so this all just my opinion and a prediction of my own. I’ve yet to see any rumours or discussion of a Subscription model, but to me it would just be a common sense move from Microsoft.
I was fairly surprised to see a release so soon after 2012, especially with all of the fantastic changes we have had delivered via NuGet and the quarterly updates throughout the past year.
What do you think?
As a developer do you think you would be interested in a subscription model along the lines of Office 365? (Ideally in my opinion at much lower cost than an MSDN subscription, but without all the extras)
What sort of pricing would you like to see?
Have I missed some news somewhere that this has already been announced and I’m just way late to the party with this prediction? Let me know in the comments.