I do agree with your assessment. If you wanted to see this in action, you should check out the Affinity Photo forum. As of today, they are using a release version of 1.8.3.xxx. There is a Beta version, also in that neighborhood. This is a developing software package that users can test and submit bug reports, etc for the developers to fix,and update and put into the occasional free releases. It is said, that starting with version 2.0.xxx, Serif will impose an upgrade charge including some major improvements. Considering what they charge for a fantastic Photoshop replacement ($50 usually, but often less when on sale), it is a no brainer. I think that this is a business model that Topaz might consider. Topaz has always treated their customers very well in the past and had a unique model. Aside from the quality software, look at the educational program.
Not relevant as firmware is permanent software programmed into a read-only memory on a hardware device, software such as Topaz Labs products are used for processing images on a computer, as RAW converters etc.
I was about to add another of your products to my collection.
That will now not happen. I will be advising people to pass, and those I have been encouraging to re-think.
Maybe you need to re-think. Paying a small charge for a major release upgrade is probably acceptable, even though that is not what was promised. However, wanting money for a release that fixes one (or more) of your bugs??? No.
Firmware is software that drives the HW, but technically it’s still code. And it’s not permanent or otherwise it couldn’t be updated. Where the code is loaded from doesn’t seem all that relevant to the point, imo.
A good point was made by @brian.riley about upgrades being tied to a time-period or alternatively, for example, to SW versions.
eg Affinity Photo
I’ve never paid for any updates (minor versions) since I purchased originally. When there is a new major version update I would expect to pay (eg like I have done with ACDSee). The time-period approach seems quasi-subscription. You can decline, but this is like having a perpetual license with no maint (eventually it’s no longer workable). And this doesn’t contribute to steady revenue for the ISV either if the spigot is turned off until updates are published that are more than just bug fixes (ie maint releases). Some ISV’s have upgrade policies that deter this for that reason.
So I’m not clear if the proposed time-based approach will be the ideal solution for Topaz or their customers.