Cricut Backs Down, Will Now Give Existing Registered Users Unlimited Use of Their Cutting Machines [Updated]

Illustration for article titled Cricut Backs Down, Will Now Give Existing Registered Users Unlimited Use of Their Cutting Machines [Updated]
Photo: Andrew Liszewski - Gizmodo

After facing several days of backlash from users over a planned update that would severely limit the use of their cutting machines without a paid subscription, Cricut has changed its mind.

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In a statement released today, Circut promised existing users unlimited lifetime use of their machines. The policy extends to anyone else who decides to buy one of the machines throughout 2021.

On Friday the company shared a post on its official blog detailing new features coming to the Design Space software that’s needed to actually use the Cricut cutting machines. Users not paying for an optional monthly or annual subscription (that gives access to design materials through the app like fonts, imagery, and patterns) discovered that they’d soon be limited to uploading just 20 original images or creations to the Design Space software every month, which processes projects in the cloud before they’re sent to the machines for slicing.

This was a brand new limitation being introduced to the product line that previously allowed users to upload as many projects as they wanted (or needed to, in the case of people using the machines for income like Etsy artists) each month, no matter what the content was or where it was acquired. With Cricut subscriptions going for $10/month, or $96/year, the limitation made the use of the machines, which start at $180, even more expensive.

That proposed update obviously didn’t sit well with Cricut users, many of whom reached out to Gizmodo expressing their anger and disappointment with the company. They apparently reached out to Cricut as well, because today the company’s CEO, Ashish Arora, released the following statement that was shared with Gizmodo through a company representative:

Dear Cricut Members, 

One of our core values is community — we’re listening, and we took your feedback to heart. The foundation of our Cricut community is one of integrity, respect, and trust. It is clear that, in this instance, we did not understand the full impact of our recent decision on our current members and their machines. We apologize.

Here’s how we’ll move forward.

We will continue to allow an unlimited number of personal image and pattern uploads for members with a Cricut account registered and activated with a cutting machine before December 31, 2021. This benefit will continue for the lifetime of your use of these machines. 

Machine Resales or Transfers 

We welcome new members to the Cricut community whether they purchase a new or pre-owned machine. If a machine is resold or transferred to a new user, the new user must set up their own Cricut account. As long as the new user creates their account and connects the machine to their account before December 31, 2021, we will grant the benefit of an unlimited number of uploads to the new user for the lifetime of their use of the machine.  

Schools and Education Maker Spaces

We understand that teachers, schools, and other education maker spaces have different needs for ongoing user account creation. While we don’t have anything to share right now — and nothing will change before December 31, 2021 — we are looking at ways to address these ongoing needs and their relation to image uploads. 

Future 

We will continue to explore affordable ways for our future users who register machines after December 31, 2021 to allow an unlimited number of personal image and pattern uploads.

Of course, paid Cricut Access subscribers will continue to enjoy an unlimited number of uploads along with other subscriber benefits. We will also continue to invest in our content, software, and value for all our members.

ashish arora (Cricut ceo)

Cricut isn’t doing away with the Design Space update that will limit non-subscribers to just 20 uploads of original artwork every month, but it won’t apply to anyone who has a Cricut account and registered a cutting machine before December 31, 2021. That not only means that existing Cricut users will be exempt from the limitation for the lifetime use of that machine, but anyone purchasing and registering a Cricut machine between now and the end of the year will be exempt, too, even if purchasing a used machine from another user (but they’ll need to set up their own Cricut account in that timeframe).

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One of the larger concerns of the proposed update was that it would hurt school and community maker spaces whose Cricut machines are used quite often, and would presumably reach the 20/month upload limit in less than a day. The December 31, 2021, deadline still applies to machines bought for educational purposes, but the company also promises it’s looking into that unique use case.

Once the changes do come into effect for machines purchased and registered after December 31, 2021, Cricut says it will look into ways to make the required paid subscriptions more affordable to facilitate those who want unlimited uploads but who also create their own content and don’t need access to the designs and materials Cricut sells through the Design Space app.

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Update: March 18, 4:15pm ET: Cricut has released another update regarding the controversy over the 20/month upload limit for users of the cutting machines and requisite Design Space software without a paid subscription. Today’s statement, included below, now also does away with the December 31, 2021, cut-off date for current and new users to register. All users of the Cricut cutting machines, no matter when the machines were purchased or registered, will now have unlimited uploads for life.

Dear Cricut Community,

On Friday, March 12, we announced an intention to limit the number of personal images and patterns that members can upload to Design Space without a Cricut Access subscription. We updated this plan on March 16 and shared that we intended to study the matter further. My team has spent the week listening, learning, and taking in a lot of feedback. Not every decision we make is perfect, but we take every opportunity to learn and get better.

So, we’ve made the decision to reverse our previously shared plans. Right now, every member can upload an unlimited number of images and patterns to Design Space for free, and we have no intention to change this policy. This is true whether you’re a current Cricut member or are thinking about joining the Cricut family before or after December 31, 2021.

We care deeply about every single member of our community, and it’s your creativity that keeps us motivated, excited, and passionate every day about what we’re building here at Cricut.

Thank you for your candor and your commitment to our company and community. We appreciate you.

ashish arora (Cricut ceo) 

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DISCUSSION

I mean, it sounds like they’ve still screwed the current owners, because with this being fully cloud-managed, and the fact that with these new policies very few people will be dumb enough to buy one now, their revenue stream will dry up and everyone will be out a device.

This obsession with making EVERYTHING a service is killing technology in so many ways. This device could and should operate fine with an offline application run locally on a computer. Support that, add extra incentives for the cloud services, and call it a day.