XLobby goes commercial!


Active Member
Just saw on the XLobby web site that the popular free software will soon become commercial. I personally think it will be good to finally get some more development attention and it should give Maestro & MainLobby some good competition. Any thoughts?
I'm not so sure this is a good thing. In fact my initial gut reaction is this is the end of xlobby. If you've used it you know it is quite complex, but powerful. The learning curve is very steep. So in order to pay for itself I'd think one of 2 things will have to happen. The first being that it is redesigned to make it more beginner friendly, in order to increase sales. But I fear this will make it more limited. The second option I could envision would be that the licensing cost be high enough to off set the more limited sales. Either way I'm not particularly thrilled with the prospects. I hope I'm wrong and I'm willing to wait around a little while to see how everything shakes out, but I'm definitely worried. The anouncement was just made today and there aren't a lot of detail available (like expected pricing) yet so well see.

One other thing to consider is although xlobby is very powerful, much of that power comes from the flexibility and extensibilty of the program. The program gets much of this from plugins and the skins that others have developed. Will those others continue to develop and provide these once the product becomes a commercial endevour? Or will these 3rd parties also want in and begin charging for their labors? At that point will it become a situation where every little add-on will cost you another $30-$50. I think I'm in the minority here on this point, but I'm not a fan of this type of pricing structure. I'm a homeseer user, but refuse to use any paid plug-ins. Although there are surely many useful ones, I don't want to get into the habit of buying this plugin at $20 here and that one at $40. Before you know it you've invested hundreds if not thousands of dollars in software alone. For me money is an issue and I'd rather spend the money on hardware, something I cannot produce on my own. Just my $.02, and in reality worth even less.

There is a significant compatibility issue as well. If there are many 3rd party, paid plug-ins, what happens when a software upgrade breaks them? I get really scared when it comes something running my house with so many disjointed developers...
re: disjointed developers
Though Cinemar offers developers access to develop their own plugins, the GREAT majority of the plugins and updates to MainLobby are under the ownership and control of Cinemar. This is to raise the ability to support the product going forward and something our dealers find critical. More critical than most DIY'rs as this becomes their lifeblood.

The rest of the software offerings are composed of a much more diverse mix of contributors.

With regards to XLobby joining the commercial software market, Cinemar welcomes them to the landscape and look forward to their progress in this growing market segment. Quality offerings brings more legitimacy to this now niche business and all of the good PC based hardware / software companies will benefit.
Best of Luck, XLobby.
A number of software products have successfully used the scheme of being free until the user base grows and then going commercial. It can be made to work. However, it doesn't work so well when the user base grew becasue of significant contributions of those customers, many of whom will contribute specifically because it is not a commercial product. So it can be painful to deal with that transition it's been going along for a long time with a lot of customer provided work. Those types of products tend to attract a larger percentage of the 'free or die' type people who will not take it well, and since those people also tend to be some of the biggest contributors, trouble can ensue.

We do have various third party drivers in our product. And it's helped a lot since we are coming up on 150 drivers in the product (and I mean real drivers for real devices, not 'plugin' types things that just add some little feature to the product.) But, because we don't charge for any of our drivers, and just ship them all in the product, it's easier for people to feel comfortable contributing them. Otherwise, there would be a lot more resentments and politics involved.
Xlobby is a great program and hopefully it will only get better now that the author is getting paid for his efforts. I look forward to buying the new improved program when they release it.