Can't load Steinberg VST plugins in other hosts

I bought a plugin named “KSHMR” a while ago from Plugin Boutique and ran into a problem that led me to their technical support. To explain, that plugin has a “leader” version that you instantiate and configure by adding other third-party VST plugins you want to use, all of which are then reflected on any track using its “follower” version. It’s a great tool when you have a bunch of tracks that you want to be processed with the same settings and have any tweaks on the “leader” channel reflected on all the “follower” channels (e.g. backing vocals, individual players in a section, etc.)

Side note: yes, I’m aware I could skin this particular cat in other ways, so please don’t reply with don’t-do-that messages telling me about using rack effects, group FX channels, etc. Thanks, but I’m aware.

The problem was that I found I couldn’t use the built-in Cubase “Pitch Correct” plugin, which for sake of reference is a 64-bit plugin version 12.5.50.76 using VST 3.7.4 according to the VST plugin manager in Cubase 12 Pro. I went back and forth with the Plugin Boutique tech support and learned that, in fact, I can’t instantiate any of the Steinberg plugins stored in the usual place (in Windows that’s “C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Cubase 12\VST3\Cubase Plug-in Set.vst3\Contents\x86_64-win\Cubase Plug-in Set.vst3” for reference) in any VST host other than Cubase. They won’t load in KSHMR, Unify, or any other VST host application I’ve tried.

The KSHMR developers suggested Steinberg are deliberately doing something to prevent me from using those plugins outside of Cubase, and I’m inclined to believe them from what I see. So the point of my post is to ask: is Steinberg indeed preventing me from using Cubase plugins I’ve legitimately purchased in other VST host applications? If so, I’d like to request a change to that policy. If not, is there a workaround? The Cubase plugins are fantastic, and I’d love to be able to use them with other tools like those I’ve already mentioned. Thanks.

Integrated plugins are only available in software they integrated in.

What would the point be, then, of conforming to the VST specification all? It’s entire purpose, after all, is interoperability. Any vendor can make custom plugins that work only in their application.

And that is what they do - same with other DAWs, you cannot use Live’s plugins in any other DAW, or Logic’s stock plugins, and the same with Cubase. Lamentable, maybe, but it’s unlikely to change. Hast nothing to do with VST specification.

Two things in response. First, it does have something to do with the VST specification, the entire point of which again is interoperability. There’s no need for a spec literally built for openness if you’re going to be closed. And second, y’all might be right, but in that case I’m calling out how lame it is that we (1) pay for the plugins that ship with Cubase, but (2) can’t use them even in Cubase with other tools designed to work with them as VST plugins through the open, public specification. I would encourage Steinberg to change that if, in fact, the reason you’re giving is the official response.

Then you should probably tag your post as a “feature-request”, but I wouldn’t hold my breath…
But no, it has nothing to do with VST or interoperability, it is a business decision, same as with other vendors, they want you to use their plugins in their own DAW and not in some other host. You might not like it, but that’s the way it is.

It does have to do with interoperability as I’m trying to use VST3 plugins controlled by other VST3 plugins in Cubase, which I can ironically do with VST3 plugins from literally every other vendor except the plugins explicitly paid for as part of Cubase!

Every DAW has its own plugins, and as far as I know, only Reaper’s plugins are usable in other hosts.
And it is allowed in the VST specifications.

Good to know. I don’t think I could ever switch from Cubase, but I might have to look at Reaper one of these days. I keep hearing good things about it.