Capture One is changing its perpetual license and ditches annual release cycle but it’s not as bad as it sounds

Dec 7, 2022

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Capture One is changing its perpetual license and ditches annual release cycle but it’s not as bad as it sounds

Dec 7, 2022

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Capture One has sent out an email to customers stating that changes are coming to its perpetual license model. It’s doing a bit of an Adobe and switching over to a primarily subscription-based approach, with new features being added to the application as they’re developed and become available rather than doing a major update each year. This has a few implications for existing perpetual license holders, but it’s not really a bad thing.

The new method of updating the application regularly with new features and there no longer being an annual release cycle means that we won’t see a Capture One 24 being released next year. Perpetual licenses will not see new features coming, either, although they will receive bug fixes. Upgrade pricing is also going to be disappearing, too, in favourite of a mysterious “loyalty scheme” model.

The email states…

Hi [customer],

Over the past few years many of you have told us you want access to new tools and improvements sooner, rather than have them all in one ‘major’ version of Capture One Pro at the end of each year. That’s why we’ve been investing heavily in our technology to be able release features to you as soon as they are ready. Now we’re ready to fully embrace this approach.

From 2023 we will no longer be tied to an annual cycle for major releases. As a result, there will not be a Capture One 24. Instead, we will continuously release new tools and features on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Alongside this, we will also be making changes to our perpetual licenses from February 1, 2023. Here’s what’s changing:

  • 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.

Here’s how it affects you:

Happy with your current version of Capture One Pro? Great, there’s nothing you need to do.

If you do want to get our latest version, Capture One Pro 23, our upgrade pricing is open to you until January 31, 2023. By purchasing before this date you will receive all updates including new features until September 30, 2023. You can access this by logging into your account on our website.
You can find more details of the changes and how it affects you on this page.

Thank you as always for being part of the Capture One community. We’re excited to share our new products and features with you over the coming months, and hope you’ll enjoy using them as much as we have creating them!

Thank you,
The Capture One Team

In short, this gives both types of user – those who prefer the perpetual license model and those who prefer a subscription model – a solution to their needs. The perpetual license model will keep on working forever, without any updates – in the same way that you can still use Adobe Creative Suite CS6 today without paying another penny and getting no updates. For subscription users, though, just like with Adobe’s Creative Cloud, once you stop paying, you lose your access to the software.

The difference between Capture One and Adobe, however, is that Capture One doesn’t appear to be completely dumping perpetual licenses with this switch. If I’m reading the FAQ correctly, you can basically buy a perpetual license at any time, and whatever version of Capture One is current on the day you purchase the license, that’s the version of Capture One you get. And you can use it forever.

New features added to the subscription model won’t be added to your existing perpetual license version (although it’ll get bug fixes and optimisations), and whenever you see a new feature added that you think you need, you just go buy a new perpetual license and boom, you’ve got the latest version on a perpetual license. Exactly how the pricing will work out pricing for purchasing new perpetual licenses after your first, given that they’re scrapping upgrade pricing in favour of the “loyalty scheme”, is currently unknown.

The new changes are coming into effect on February 1st, 2023 and for existing Capture One users, upgrade pricing to Capture One 23 is available until January 31st, 2023. You will get all updates, including new features that are added to Capture One 23 until September 30th, 2023. Users who purchase a perpetual license from February 1st will not get any updates to their Capture One software except for bug fixes. More information on the loyalty scheme will also be released on February 1st.

Personally, I think this is a fantastic idea, and it’s what I always felt Adobe should have done almost a decade ago when they switched from the Creative Suite to Creative Cloud. This is a smart move for Capture One and one that benefits both types of customer.

You can find out more about the changes on the Capture One support website.

[via DPReview]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “Capture One is changing its perpetual license and ditches annual release cycle but it’s not as bad as it sounds”

  1. m4k3m3 Avatar
    m4k3m3

    Let’s call it what it is: They are releasing new versions whenever they see fit, not once a year. So what is the point of purchasing the perpetual version when they could release a new major version a month from that and you’re SoL. You used to have the upgrade option to cut down the costs when you wanted a newer version, that’s apparently gone in the future. Oh wait, there’s the “loyalty program” but even they haven’t bothered to think about it ahead of time, otherwise they would’ve released the information at the same time, not just seconds before the Jan 31 deadline to purchase the upgrade.

    I originally went from LR to C1 because I hated the subscription model. I don’t work in photography, I just shoot for fun. I don’t make a single cent out of it. Paying hundreds of euros per year for a single software makes no sense. I’ve only upgraded when there has been a good incentive to do so, and even then it’s been more expensive than I really could afford to pay. Now I’d need to pay >200e for the upgrade or roughly the same sum for a year’s of subscription. And how about switching to subscription? Well, I could buy the subscription license for 219e/yr. Or I could change my current license to the subscription license for a low low price of … 219e? Why the hell would I throw a perfectly good license away just to switch to this new money making machine?

    Now my options are 1) try to live with my current C1 for as long as it works (which isn’t forever as we’ve seen with CS, for example CS6 does NOT work well with Windows 10 anymore even though it was mentioned in the post), 2) pay the 219e for C1 subscription or 3) go back to LR and pay only 149e/yr for that *AND* Photoshop.

    I guess it’s back to Adobe for me unless I can find another software that works well enough and is cheaper. C1, it was fun as long as it lasted. I’ve been a customer for several years, but it ended with that announcement.