You can read the full details in Capture One’s official bulletin, though this offers so many alternative scenarios for existing users that they do become a little hard to follow – but perpetual licenses will no longer offer feature updates or even traditional upgrade discounts.
What is clear is that if you have or buy a perpetual license, you will only get maintenance upgrades and bug fixes, not the new feature upgrades which have been offered in the past. What’s more, updates for the existing Capture One 23 version will end in September 2023.
If you have a subscription, however, you will get new features as they are released, and not have to wait for Capture One’s annual version update cycle as previously.
Apparently this decision has been led by users who have said they do not want to wait for a ‘major’ annual update to get new features.
This does not sound like the end for perpetual licenses altogether, though, as Capture One says: “New perpetual licenses will include updates with bug fixes until the next version, but new features released after purchase will not be included. Upgrade pricing will no longer be available and will be replaced with a new loyalty scheme. More details will be announced on February 1, 2023.”
It sounds as if perpetual licenses will still exist, but as second-class citizens alongside subscriptions, so that subscribers get new features straight away, while perpetual license holders will have to wait for a new version update and then decide whether to pay to get it.
- Read more: Subscriptions vs single fee software
Subscriptions are not all bad. The cost of ownership may be no higher than a perpetual license if you take annual upgrades into account and, as Capture One says, it allows for a faster development cycle where users get new features straight away instead of having to wait for major version updates. This is the model Adobe has been using since it went subscription only, and it works very well.
Of course, what Capture One has to do is keep proving to people that it’s worth double the cost of a Photography Plan subscription. I think it is for the professional workflow options and the quality of its editing tools and RAW processing, but that’s just my opinion.