Pricing commercial tools, individual vs studio license


Can someone please help me out with some guidelines regarding pricing commercial tools/plugins?

I have a plugin for Maya that I want to sell (an overlap tool), with other ones planned, but I cannot decide how to best price it. I’m looking for some general guidelines that I can use for future tools as well.

  1. For an individual/personal license, what parameters should someone take into account when deciding a price tag for a plugin?

    I am looking at the competition of course, and similar other tools, but other than that I’m not sure how else to choose.

  2. How much more expensive should a studio license be compared to the price of individual one?

    I was thinking to add two extra options to Gumroad, “small studio” and “big studio”, but not sure how to decide how to price each one and what makes a studio small or big.

If anyone has any thoughts on this matter, please share them with me.

The most common determinant for size is annual revenue .

The number to plug in there will typically depend a lot on who you expect your customers to be (eg, for a tool that individual art freelancers or small studios might buy, you might thing of “are you earning over $100k / year” to distinguish between say a small indie studio and a bigger business, or you might go for a $1million/year cutoff if the intention is to identify big AAA production houses.

As an example, here’s the way Unity segments its customers:

Individuals, hobbyists, and small businesses using Unity to provide services to others are eligible to use Unity Personal if their respective clients, in the aggregate, have less than $100K of revenue or funds raised in the prior 12 months.

Unity Pro or Unity Enterprise plans are required for businesses with revenue or funding greater than $200K in the last 12 months, and for those who do work with them. Pro and Enterprise plans have no financial eligibility limits – everyone is eligible. Please note that the Enterprise plan is for larger teams and requires a minimum purchase of 20 seats.

Unity Industry plan is required if you create applications outside of games or entertainment and your company’s total finances exceed US$1,000,000. Unity Industry’s features, add-ons, onboarding, and support options are tailored to your needs.

Obviously this has something to do with the nature of what Unity does, but you can see how they are implementing the segmentation

It’s a good idea to include extra something – more features, support, assets, licensing clauses – to justify a higher studio price since as an individual you don’t have the bandwidth to actually try to verify claims. Some studios will try to skate buy on a student or trial license. In the Unity example you can see how the pricing and features line up

1 Like

Thanks @Theodox for your thoughts!

I think I will go with the annual revenue to differentiate between small and big studio. I’m thinking to treat a studio with a revenue below $1million/year as small studio, and above as big.

I want to keep it simple and only have 3 options: individual, small studio, and big studio. I don’t think a big studio will ever buy any of my tools, but just in case I think is good to have it.

The individual license will require an activation code generated and verified by Gumroad. The studio license will require no activation, it will have no DRM, which could be a good reason for a studio to buy to easily distribute the tools. I don’t think I want to deal with all the complications of licensing servers with node-locking and floating licenses. So, there will be nothing to stop a studio to redistribute the tools, or for a big studio to just buy the small-studio license. I’ll just have to rely on trust.

Regarding trials, I’m thinking to just do unlimited trial, with just a popup dialog appearing every time you open Maya. Maybe that will be annoying enough for people to buy it and support the development. If people just cannot afford it, they will still be able to use the tools for free when they need them, and with time maybe they will still get to buy them in the future.

@Theodox Do you have any thoughts on how higher the price should be for studios compared to the individual price, something like a multiplier?

Let’s say I price a tool for $25, what is a good multiplier for a small and big studio? I was thinking maybe like 10x for small studio, so $250, and 25x for big studio, so $625 (was also thinking 40x, so $1000 for big studio, but maybe that’s too high).

I’m not really sure… I hear small and I think a studio of 20-50, which could mean as few as 4 and as many as 20 artists depending on the place. It’s hard to judge. You could ask your customers when they buy how many seats they will be using – so that next time you have better data.