Today I got an interesting email question: “On your blog you seem to suggest that SpaceClaim is overpriced. Do you really think this is true? What value would you put on it? I believe it is good…for instance most of your plug-ins are almost 200.00. Just curious.”
Plug-ins have to be “overpriced” because the target audience is just a minor fraction of the total install base of the base application, not like the 4 million that SpaceClaim is targeting. So plug-in developers have to try and recover all their costs with a far lesser number of customers and then manage to make a profit. I know of plug-ins that cost more than the application they are made for. This may sound ridiculous but in cases when you expect to sell only a few licenses, you have to distribute your costs over fewer customers, thereby driving up the price.
Coming back to SpaceClaim, it doesn’t matter what it costs them to develop, market and support their product. If the customer does not see enough value addition, he is not going to dish out the dough. The same goes for our plug-ins, or for that matter, for anything under the sun.
If SpaceClaim marketed their product as a designing software to be used by engineers (which I believe they very well can), as opposed to a modification software to be used by the “extended development team”, a price of $2000 per year may sound reasonable. It is worth wondering why a company would spend more per year for a modification software for their marketing executive as compared to a designing software for their engineer. Who adds more value to the design?
Taking SolidWorks for comparison, a SolidWorks annual subscription costs $1300 according to their ROI calculator. However, unlike SpaceClaim, there is also a one time license cost of $5000. After 5 years the cost of ownership of SolidWorks and SpaceClaim equals and thereafter SpaceClaim becomes more expensive.
According to the SpaceClaim blog, “At $1700 / year, they’ve priced it so that it’s reasonable for this to be just another tool in your toolbox. To unstick a model. Or to simplify your models for FEM. Or to run at design reviews. Or for a design manager to keep on his laptop.” It actually adds up to $2000 a year with the Data Exchange package. I think the phrase “for a design manager to KEEP on his laptop” says a lot.
With SpaceClaim marketing their product as a pretty tool to be used now and then by people here and there, in my opinion, for many companies, the price tag may not match the value addition.
Just my two cents 😉