Avid announced their Pro Tools Support Plans yesterday hoping as many Pro Tools users as possible will buy into them.
Although as is the case with so many Avid announcements so many questions remain unanswered, most of all for those who have already invested in Pro Tools 11. There’s already a pretty ugly thread on the Avid forum the DUC gaining momentum. Community member Nigel, a long time and loyal Pro Tools owner wrote;
This is very confused, and hares are in danger of running, but Avid’s communications this time are even more opaque than we’ve experienced previously. I’m astonished that Avid continues to fail to appreciate how unclear information causes massive ripples of discontent and is very damaging to its reputation.
Why does Avid have to be so cryptic in their product announcements? It leaves too many unanswered questions.
There’s a clear reason this announcement has been made now, which is (other than dot releases) the Pro Tools product features Avid have been pushing as part of their ‘Everywhere’ plan are not going to be here this year and now are cited to appear ‘sometime in 2015’, according to a comment from Avid yesterday on this blog. Sometime in 2015 means anytime between 3 months and 15 months from now.
This leaves customers with some options to consider.
First there are Pro Tools owners who don’t own Pro Tools 11 who will think that as the next version of Pro Tools is so close then why should they upgrade now? It’s a valid point, especially if it’s the same cost each time. Then there are Pro Tools 11 owners who have already shelled out for Pro Tools 11, that means there is no new version of Pro Tools for them to buy anytime soon.
This leaves Avid with a big problem. When it comes to Pro Tools, Avid have nothing new to ship, other than the current version of Pro Tools 11, which as we have already said is less attractive to would-be buyers with the next version on the horizon. If people aren’t buying Pro Tools 11 or upgrades then this means Avid have less cash in the business.
As one Pro Tools user wrote on the DUC;
Lets be honest here. Avid are rooting around at the back of the drawer and at the back of the sofa looking for something to flog. Somebody has to pay for the Lawyers/accountants Sorry it just the way i feel. (sic)
So in essence the new Pro Tools Support Plans are Avid’s way of getting users who are stalling to get on the Pro Tools 11 bandwagon, and to pay up front for a Pro Tools version that has not yet shipped. They are doing this by heavily discounting the current upgrade cost to Pro Tools 11 with the promise that sometime in the lifetime of your contract you’ll have a support need that can’t be handled by anyone other than Avid, and the incentive that you’ll get the Cloud stuff in the promised new version of Pro Tools sometime in the 15 month window. In other words if you don’t currently have Pro Tools 11 you can bet $199 (Native) or $599 (HD) now and get an upgrade to Pro Tools 11 with the possibility of the getting the next version of Pro Tools during the lifetime of your plan. That is of course if you want the new features Avid have been previewing for most of 2014.
One of the flaws in the offering is that there seems to be little benefit for those Pro Tools owners who have already paid out for Pro Tools 11, in other words early adopters to Pro Tools 11, the really loyal customer base. These are the people who put our for Pro Tools 11 when there were few AAX plug-ins, incompatibilities and buggy early versions.
What this latest Avid idea seems to be saying is that investing early in Avid products will not be rewarded, in fact entirely the opposite. If you had held out until now to buy Pro Tools 11 then not only will you get Pro Tools 11 cheap, you get upgrades and most probably the next version of Pro Tools as well - way to go Avid.
One other DUC contributor said;
Deja vu. Predictable. Pathological. Entirely unreasonable par-for-the-course. Recalling that we’d been through this for the extraordinary stitch up on CPTK (about $1100), then the furore around the ‘buy back’ for PT11-HD native, another $600. Did all that, but no more. PT11 clearly has still much to deliver on outstanding promises, yet for those who already recently paid for the upgrade path, there is yet more costs? Another $599? Get real.
If you are late to the Pro Tools 11 party then this offer is possibly a good deal, it gives you a cheap version of Pro Tools 11 with the promise that you won’t be hung out to dry when the new version/s of Pro Tools arrive. However for those who invested early in Pro Tools 11 it’s an almighty slap in the face for making the early commitment.
The moral of this story seems to be this - that investing early in Avid does not pay. Hold out until Avid need your cash then you should get a bargain.
Note: You may notice a new contributor called ‘PTE Team’ this is where an article has contributions from several members of the Pro Tools Expert Team.