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Is a Creo subscription a waste of money?


Is a Creo subscription a waste of money?

I've just dished aout another couple of grand to PTC for my Creo subscription and installed Creo 6, but am not quite sure what I am paying for. Yes, the live FEA looks great, the addative manufacturing tools might be useful, but I can't afford another kidney to pay for those modules.


What is new with the standard package, apart from a bit of menu polishing and a new right-click toolbar? The extra 5% on the subscription cost didn't go unnoticed either. I don't even get the rendering module without relinquishing the slightly less rip-off deal that I signed up for with my subscription license.


What about sorting out all the half-baked functionality? Why is the menu manager still there?


Are PTC trying to make me move to a competitor?




Well, that would be an opinion. I would consider it a valid opinion.

Prior to subscriptions, the "maintenance" was basically optional. You could just not renew and still use the software. PTC would attempt to "punish" entities who didn't continue on maintenance with higher reinstatement costs but it was common knowledge that those were negotiable. I always figured that PTC considered it a failure on their part to not keep a customer on maintenance, LOST REVENUE.

With the prevalence of software subscriptions these days (not just PTC), software companies are attempting to regain that lost revenue stream by simply leasing the software to you for a time. Once you've developed a mess of data, you will be hard pressed to stop paying.

I'm not sure if the subscription model is here to stay or if it is passing fad or ???

I believe it will entice customers to "re-evaluate" yearly which may be bad for continued subscription revenue.


These are all just my opinions and do not represent my company in any way, shape, or form.

Stephen, thanks for bringing some much-needed objectivity into my argument.


I'm more than happy to pay for a service, but it appears that there is almost an active business model within PTC to only offer improvements where they can get more money from customers, and doing as little as possible everywhere else.


It's a real shame, as Pro/Engineer/Creo has some great cabilities in there  somewhere, but it is rapidly falling behind in terms of value for money.



I have a hard time disagreeing with anything that you have said.

I am not a fan of subscriptions, yet, and maybe never will be!

We looked at converting from maintenance to subscription licenses his year. The cost of maintenance was 2/3 the cost for a subscription with the same functionality. Actually the subscription had more functionality, but those 'extra' modules are not ones we use anyway. The only plus to a subscription is you get more functionality in the bundles than the last round of purchased bundles.

With subscriptions, your IP is locked into Creo if you let the subscription lapse. By owning licenses, you can always retrieve your data, even if off maintenance.


Despite PTC wanting to eliminate the Menu Manager in Wildfire, there are still some functions that the programmers have not figured out how to put into the WIMP interface of Office. that makes 11 releases of Wildfire and Creo since PTC announced their intention and still failing to deliver!



I certainly am not a fan of the subscription payment either.  Unfortunately some one higher up decided to update all of our seats to subscription.


There are a couple conditions which leave you in a potentially disastrous condition.

1) If our small company can't afford maintenance there is no way to keep working.

2) If PTC ever goes belly up what will happen with those holding the no longer valid subscription seats?


If you slice it up for what you get and what you lose we don't end up any better. 

23-Emerald II

We have 2 Creo license servers. When we discussed switching, I told management that we needed to keep 2 licenses on maintenance so we would also have access to the IP we have created, even if we freeze at some release of Creo in the future.

We did end up buying 4 additional seats of Creo for a contract job, 3 Advanced Design and 1 Advanced Design Plus subscription bundles.


Since I use a network load of Creo, all licenses use the same install location, I just have different batch files for launching the owned versus subscription licenses. I do have all 3 shortcuts on my desk, but no one else does or knows that I do.

BenLoosli and pimm raise some very good points.


We are a very small company with a single seat of Creo and made the move to subscription a few years ago; we had let the maintenance lapse as it was very poor value for money and there was an offer on subscription that was a similar annual cost without the capital outlay.


We still have a Creo 2 perpetual license, but that is not much use for any new intellectual property.


Despite the serious risks with subscription as presented above, I could accept them more readily if I thought I was getting something for my money. I'm not naive to corporate realities but instead, I am left with a feeling that PTC is only interested in the bottom line, and not in advancing design and engineering software, or serving existing customers.


Excuse the nostalgia while I wipe the tear from my eye, but I can't help feeling its a bit of a shame. I bought a student licence of 2000i with so much anticipation as to what I could engineer, and now can't help feeling a wee bit cold. Complaining aside, is there anything we can do as customers? I've got mountains of PTC data and years of blood sweat and tears,so mutiny is not that easy. But perhaps there is another option to make PTC listen..?


The only way you will get PTC to listen is to buy a LOT of licenses.

And besides, just like years ago, when PTC bought Windchill, all development and maintenance went to that line...PTC just bought Vuforia (a couple years ago), I'm pretty sure all money will flow towards IoT development.

To be honest, CAD isn't a growth market. There really aren't going to be tons of new customers. It could be, if they invented the next big thing, but...

Iot is a growth market. Makes sense for a Corp to invest heavily, unfortunately to the detriment of Creo.


Again, this is my personal opinion and not those of my company

23-Emerald II

Even owning a lot of licenses it takes a lot to get PTC to listen!

A prior company owned over 700 seats of Wildfire (at the time) and about twice that number of Windchill seats. We were using very few of the Windchill seats as most sites were still utilizing Intralink 3.3. In those days PDMLink did not exist and Windchill really was one big toolbox of things that COULD be done. Along comes Windchill 7 and PDMLink! Lo and behold, it can actually do something OOTB, well almost. My division of large PTC customer decided to do an implementation of Windchill using Global Services quick start program. Get PDMLink up and running in 6 weeks, what a joke, it is 9 months! Along the way we discovered that PDMLink didn't do certain things we felt were needed. Customized code speced out, written and tested...and an additional bill from PTC for the modification. We had 12 of these mods needed before going live. PTC put 8 of them as standard in Windchill 8! Along about month 6 of the implementation, we decide we needed another change. Request submitted, PTC speced out the scope and submitted the change notice and cost. Being so late in going live, multiple cost increases, etc. management said enough! CIO, Corporate Engineering Windchill leader, local project manager all go to Needham and have a meeting with Jim Heppleman. End result was no more price increases or charges for changes. 


It sometimes takes more than just a large customer, it takes a show of force and a bat to get PTC's attention!

I've given Creo 6 a bit of time now, to try and see what I'm paying for, and really can't be sure.


When I'm asked what CAD software to buy, my answer is to consider all the options, but whatever you do, don't buy Creo. The sad reality of a decent application driven to the ground by management arrogance.

It's been years since I was anywhere near the software purchasing side of things, so I'm not current.

If I was opening my own business and it was just me using CAD, I would buy and use Creo simply because it is what I know and I can be productive immediately.

If i was buying for other users, I would really have evaluate my options. I wouldn't rule out Creo because I know that some of the other CAD vendors are going to the subscription method also. I also know that if I hire someone who doesn't know Creo, I would have to teach them how to use it and they wouldn't be productive for a significant amount of time.


As far as the CAD application itself I would have to say that I am quite pleased with it.


It was a lot like an Albatross getting off the ground, but now that it has taken flight I have been able to perform some incredible things.  You can struggle for years not utilizing the potential of the software.  If you don't have the breakthrough moments it is easy to conclude the software can be grouped with other mid CAD software.


Don't get me wrong there are still many shortcomings with this software.  There are many buggy areas of the software that I see that don't get any love.


As long as my employer cuts the check things are good.  If I had to make the decision for myself to lease the software however it would not be an easy choice.  When there are lean times it is extremely important to be able to cut costs to just keep in business.


With leasing it does make you really ask the question if you need to train someone to get up to speed, is it worth the long learning curve and certain extra annual cost.  PTC is really introducing a potential tipping point for their greed.



May be its time to look at the elder brother's or sisters (Catia and NX)?

I think PTC has reached its last stop with any major development with PTC Creo and only way to keep making money is through forced subscription. 




23-Emerald II

Subscriptions are the marketing tool of the 2010's.

NX, SolidWorks, AutoCAD, and Creo use it now and I would guess SolidEdge does. CATIA is the only one I have no information on.


If buying new software for a start-up, I would look at a number of things before making the decision.

1) What industry am I in

2) What CAD software do others in my industry use

3) What do potential customers and/or suppliers use

4) Training

5) Vendor Support

6) Cost


You need to be able to exchange your CAD data with your customers and suppliers in today's world. No one does it all in-house any more.

Who does the training? The vendor or third-party contract houses? PTC does very little training, it is all subcontracted out. Do these instructors have the development team to cover their backs when an issue comes up? I have only taken 3 courses from a PTC employee in 15 years of using PTC products. The other 12+ training classes have all been by a contracted VAR.

Where is vendor support? I know we some companies use India for their contract support teams and that can lead to language issues and being removed from the development site can cause delays in getting issues resolved.

Cost is the last thing to consider. If the software does its job for YOU and you get good support, that may be worth a little extra up front.

All good points. I know things are moving towards subscription across the board, and it does move control from the customer, to the supplier.


For me, what is worse, is that PTC are offering next to no value for the cost of the subscription. There is very little in way of improvements without committing even more money every year. If the 3D printing, rendering and real-time FEA improvements were there, there would be less to grumble about.

Well, moving to subscription might give you access to the new Creo packages (I'm not sure of details of the deal with PTC regarding it), which have at least full rendering extension at the base level. The new base package now includes full rendering, framework, manikin, fasteners, design exploration,piping & cabling and legacy migraton extensions at no additional cost.
Maybe if you moved to subscription PTC would switch your licenses to this base package, but these are the details I'm not versed with, I'm on technical side of things, not sales 😉

I sell Creo subscriptions and would be more than happy to talk this through with you - drop me an email -

Phil, I hope this response was meant for @SamWorthington and not me. You won't sell me any Creo subscriptions, because I also work for PTC VAR and don't need to buy any additional licenses 😉

23-Emerald II

We have perpetual licenses (30 purchased over the years, only 10 on active maintenance) and earlier this year in response to business needs, we purchased 4 subscriptions. The subscriptions do come with more functionality than our current Flex3c licenses.

No where have I heard that PTC will upgrade my existing licenses to what is in the Design Advantage bundle. This is the subscription bundle closest to that offered by the Flex3c bundle. We did look at converting to subscriptions but the cost was prohibitive, as I have already said in this thread,

Like I said, I'm a tech guy, not a sales guy, so I don't know all the details regarding switching to subscription. I know that PTC has now some special offer for moving to subscription and maybe with that offer it might be possible to move to base subscription package (Design Essentials). As for any other possibilities, like moving to higher package, I suspect it would be an offer prepared on a customer-basis.

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