The current PreSonusSphere seems to be a bunch of stuff lumped together - regular updates to their software products, some sort of collaboration system that's not the same as others, and a monthly fee.
PreSonus Sphere doesn't seem to be related with the event, I think they liked the name and wanted to recycle it.
My initial take (which will likely change over time as I get deeper into it) is that it's a way to get people hooked on the Studio One ecosystem. The math is compelling. If you pay $14.95 a month, you have instant access to Studio One 5 Pro, Notion for scoring, all the PreSonus plug-ins, all the PreSonus add-ons, and a bunch of content. I don't know what that adds up to, but it's probably well over $1,000...I'd guesstimate maybe $1,200. The program by itself costs $399, which represents over 2 years of paying $14.95 a month. If someone getting started has a choice of Pro Tools for $30 a month or PreSonus Sphere for $15, you get a lot more IMHO for half the price.
So suppose you're just starting off in music. You pay your $14.95, and now you have a complete studio
, except for an interface - not just a DAW. You don't have to save up the bucks, or buy things piecemeal and end up having it cost you more. 30 GB of cloud storage isn't a lot, but it's not a little for Studio One projects, either. Also, it's integrated in the browser, so you don't have to go to the OS or a particular site to grab or save data.
The other reason I think it's aimed at those starting out is the online tutorials and Q&A sessions, as well as peer-to-peer support. Once I start collaborating with people, I'll have a better idea how the collaboration tools fit into the picture.
You activate Studio One 5 with PreSonus Sphere, so I get the sense that once you get into PreSonus Sphere, you need to stay there. So the question is after the "Big Bang" of gear for cheap at the beginning, whether you're still going to be happy paying $15 after you've paid the equivalent of $1,200 in monthly fees (assuming my total cost of goods is correct). That works out to over six and a half years. But when you're halfway through year six, by that time, there have probably already been at least 3 paid updates, so now your cost of doing business has become less. And I don't think they'll stop generating plug-ins and content, so you'll keep getting those, too.
I dunno...unless you don't want anything other than Studio One because you have plug-ins suites from companies like NI, IK, and Waves, it seems like what they're doing offers a whole lot to people starting out, at a minimal cost. Normally, I'd think it's crazy, because they would have to get a lot of new users to justify that kind of pricing ("what we lose on each sale, we'll make up in volume"). But, once someone becomes pulled into the PreSonus ecosystem, they'll want to buy a PreSonus interface because of how well they integrate with the software. And they'll need monitors, mics, and headphones, which PreSonus also sells. If they can ever gig again, they'd be crazy not to get a PreSonus mixer, because of how it integrates with Capture and Studio One.
Once people start to figure out what's going on and PreSonus Sphere reaches critical mass (however that looks to the company), it wouldn't surprise me if a couple years from now, they raise the price to $19.95, but grandfather people in at the existing monthly cost. It would still be a helluva deal, and you'd be getting more stuff by then.
FWIW, this was written without any input from PreSonus. They may have an entirely viewpoint on what PreSonus Sphere is all about.