When the big news in regard to a DAW update is a new licensing system, you might think that there’s not too much to get excited about, but in the case of Cubase 12 - now confirmed by Steinberg to be arriving in 2022 - this might be a mistake.
For a start, it’s not just the licensing system that’s changing in Cubase 12 - there will also be “new features and significant workflow improvements”. What’s more, the fact that you’ll now just have to sign-in to Cubase to use it (using your Steinberg ID) will certainly make things very convenient.
Previously, Steinberg products have used the eLicenser system, which combines USB and software keys. With this, you can only run Cubase on the computer that has the Soft-eLicenser installed or a machine with the USB-eLicenser connected to it. What’s more, customers have had to buy a USB-eLicenser before trying out the Cubase Pro demo.
With the new Steinberg Licensing system, you’ll be able to activate a single-user license on two computers (your studio machine and laptop, for example) and you’ll no longer need a USB dongle. Just sign in, activate online and you’re away.
You’ll also be able to use your software for 30 days without reconnecting to the internet, so running Cubase while you’re offline shouldn’t be a problem. Offline activation is in the pipeline, too (not that most people will need it).
As for the eLicenser, Steinberg says that it will “be maintained and run for some time to come, at least until such time as all actively-maintained Steinberg products have been transitioned to the new Steinberg Licensing system”. What’s more, even after it’s shut down, existing USB-eLicensers will continue to work for as long as they remain functional and you are still able to run the corresponding software versions on your computer.
If you own third-party software that uses the eLicenser, you’re advised to contact the developers to find out what their plans are.
The Steinberg Licensing will debut with Dorico 4, which will be launched early next year. A released date for Cubase 12 hasn’t been announced.