New USB-less licensing and older releases

I understand that the new Cubase licensing system is expected (and intended) to work only with the new 12 release and the future ones.
Which, at least partially, makes sense because obviously any older program, once launched, will still launch the eLCC software and look for the USB Elicenser (although maybe, if they wanted, the programmers could redirect the call to the new license manager).

So at the moment the message seems to be:
when you run Cubase 12 you don’t need your “dongle” anymore, BUT if you want to run other software (such as an “old” license protected VST Instrument) you still need to have eLCC installed ad the the Elicenser plugged in.

This gives me a doubt about upgrading from Cubase 11 (or earlier) to Cubase 12.
My C11 license is housed in the USB Elicenser. As a result of the upgrade, since I’m not buying a second license but just upgrading the one I already own, the C11 license should be “terminated” and replaced by the C12 one. Consequently my USB Elicenser should bear no more active Cubase licenses.

So, unless I’m missing something, a question arises:
will I still be able to run older Cubase versions (with which to work, for example, on old projects), just as I’m allowed to do now with my C11 license?

Your USB-eLicenser will remain as functional as it was before updating to 12. The license for 11 will be tagged as “Not upgradeable”. This just means that you can’t use the same license more than once for that purpose.

You will be able to use 12 without the dongle, but to use 11 or earlier you need to plug it in as before.

Thanks for your answer.
So, if I’m not mistaken, after the upgrade the dongle will still bear a fully functional (albeit “not upgradeable”) C11 license.

This is obviously good news but surprises me a bit, because in that case the dongle could also be used to work with C11 (and older) on another PC, as if instead of having a single Cubase license (12, obtained by upgrading the 11 one) I had two separate ones, independent and slightly different from each other:
one for C11 and older releases and one for C12 alone.

Or am I missing something?

Hi Marco

This is my understanding as well.
I haven’t tested it yet, but at the moment it looks like we can use C11 on one PC/Mac and then install another 3 copies of C12 on other machines.
What I’m curious about though, is what happens if I want to move my C11 to another PC?
Will I be able to reinstall C11 and activate it or will it stop me from doing it saying that I only have a licence for C12, as it was the case with previous versions.

Hi Rudal,

you don’t need to activate Cubase 11. It just requires a valid license on the dongle. So yes, you can use C11 as before and install it on as many computers as you like and run it if the dongle is plugged in. It doesn’t matter if the license was used to upgrade to C12.
A Cubase license on the dongle also allows you to run all previous Cubase versions, so it’s not limited to the corresponding one.

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No, I don’t think you are missing anything. This is, as I understand it, how they have decided to make the transition.

What about the “new” dongle-less Cubase 12 license?
Does it behave the same way, allowing the use of all previous Cubase versions (as it should be, in the usual way) ?

In other words:
will a new customer, who doesn’t have any dongles and buys for the first time a Cubase (12) license, be prevented from running any older Cubase versions?

Sorry, I don’t know. Someone from Steinberg can probably answer that. But I guess new customers don’t get an additional license for the old, dongle-based system.

If an older version requires the dongle, then you need to use the dongle. Dont forget, all versions prior to 12 have been coded to need the dongle. Having 12 wont re program the old versions to not need it.
its a new licensing system, so it wont replace the old system

I’m well aware of that, as I said in my opening message.
So, in a nutshell, it seems we have to take note that this new Cubase 12 license is somehow… less powerful, “smaller”, worth less than it’s predecessors, as it, unlike previous ones, enables only the use of the latest Cubase version.
Which perhaps does not immediately strike the eyes of those who buy Cubase 12.

Software developers, however, can do many things, as long as they want to do them.
Let’s say that IF Steinberg had really wanted to somehow preserve the usual “backwards compatibility” of licenses (well knowing that long-term customers would have immediately noticed the… lack), THEN they could have come up with some kind of solution or, at least, some workaround.
Old licenses, for example, could have been (optionally) removed from dongles and transferred to the new licensing system servers, while providing the users with some kind of “fake eLCC” software capable of “tricking” older Cubase versions into thinking the license is still in the dongle.

Well you asked the question in the post i replied to well after your first post.

I can not know what parts of a forum thread other users read or don’t read.
Anyway, I wasn’t criticizing your answer; I just wanted to explain my point.
It’s a brand new (to Cubase) licensing system, all right, but the total lack of backwards compatibility was not inevitable, obligatory, essential; it’s the result of a choice made by the company.

Fair enough. I was just explaining i was replying to this post you made. it looked like a question to me. In hindsight i guess it wasn’t supposed to be a real question,

The licence system is complex enough without attempting to produce perfect backwards compatibility.

Steinberg staff have said in the forums that they are continuing to search for ways to make the transition as smooth as possible. It might be that old versions which remain in maintenance will have an update switching them to Steinberg Licensing, though this is not confirmed. We are still early in the transition process: Cubase is the second product to transition to Steinberg Licensing after Dorico. There are many steps still to go in the transition process…

Those that care most about backwards compatibility will be those updating from a previous version, who will get a “not upgradeable” licence for the highest eLicenser version of the product as part of the update. My understanding is that new outright purchasers will not get an eLicenser licence, though they are perhaps less likely to have any desire to run older versions.

Why would a new customer want to run older version of Cubase?

you clearly are not in the software space in GENERAL to understand why a user might need an older version as backup. this is not just for cubase, but software industry as a whole.

@Steinberg, will you eventually have updates for older versions like 11 that will detect if you have a 12 license in new activation and no longer depend on elicenser? Like, if it could be a patch for 10 or 11 so that the physical dongle is not necessary and it authenticates using your 12 license in new license manager.

New user has no previous experience with the software and nothing to back up. There are plenty of programs where the license covers just a specific versions. So while this backward compatibility and the ability to open older versions can come handy at times I don’t believe new users will care that much.

I also doubt Steinberg will bother recoding older versions.

This information has been presented in multiple threads and also in the knowledgebase.

With my apologies, I’ll close this one now.