Adobe Goes Subscription Only

What Happened

The day has come that has been on the horizon for a while. Adobe products will no longer be sold as single paid units they will be subscription based under the new name Adobe CC (Creative Cloud). This was sort of hinted at last year when they enabled users of their products to subscribe to them, paying a monthly fee for the use of the whole suite. Next came updates only for users of Creative Cloud and from June 2013 the newest versions of Adobe’s flagship lines will only be available via subscription.


The subscription will cost $50 a month for the whole Creative Suite if you sign up for a one year commitment. Although discounts will be made to users of CS products, who will pay $30 and to make sure CS6 users are not burned they will get to pay $20.
These discounts are an introductory offer and the payments will increase to $50. If you don’t wish to sign up for a year you can pay month by month for $75. If you don’t want to use the whole Adobe suite but just one program then it will only cost you $10 at the beginning rising to $20.

Adobe believes that the majority of users want to use creative cloud as it also comes with a cloud storage system to save your work and access it anywhere on any device.

Scott Morris, senior director of product marketing for Creative Cloud, said “Overwhelmingly, when you compare the people who’ve complained about the new model to the people who loved it, it definitely skewed heavily to the new model,” he said. “Obviously we would not be making a decision this big if the percentage of people in that category was so big it was the wrong thing for us to do.”

In using the subscription methods, the programs will be continually updated without the need to buy the next version of the program.
How often will these updates be? Well I am not sure but it feels like they will be yearly updates as they will want subscribers to renew their subscriptions.

Morris also said that Adobe has found that most people who already use Creative Cloud subscription have been downloading more programs.  He has also been reassuring users that Adobe is not going to suddenly hike the prices to $100.

My Thoughts

Well this was not really a shock.

What do I think?

I think this is ridicules.

This is not just at Adobe but at all digital products at the moment. When I buy something it should be mine. I should be able to do what I want. I first came across this when buying games on steam. You don’t own the game just the license and if the license is removed form steam will you lose the license.
Some people are saying well you never owned your copy you always owned the license. Yes but I do have the CD in my hand. Once I had bought the program and I had the CD someone could not say a year down the line, ”Pay more or you cant use it.”.

I also would be wary of what updates will be. The difference between CS4 and 5 was so slight it wasn’t worth the upgrade the same could be said for going from 5-6. Adobe knows you are tied to the platform, because your tiff files with layers and smart objects won’t be editable in another program. Camera Raw support has been the main reason for me upgrading as when the new version of PS came out Adobe would stop supporting new camera releases on the older versions.


This has also been touted as a way to fight pirates who use the programs and share them online. Well I will disagree. In the gaming scene there are subscription based games that have been pirated successfully. It may take the pirates a bit longer to find a way around the system but you know they will.

I am also concerned about what the pricing will be around the world. $30 a month for Photoshop sounds reasonable in dollars and if it was £30, 30 Euros or 30zl I think I could live with the change, but customers outside America have always been screwed on pricing in my experience. I feel that if it was not a fair price, taking the exchange rate into consideration, this could be a big negative, esp. if it works out Americans are getting a significantly cheaper ride.

One of the other benefits is the cloud storage. Yes great I have 50GB of dropbox storage free, linked to my computer, my net book, my laptop and my tablet. Why do I need to pay a subscription to get Adobes cloud storage?

I liked the idea originally that people could choose the subscription method or the single sales payment. I would have liked to have seen a new version of Photoshop every 2 years then with the Creative Cloud updates. This gives people choice. People can choose how they spend their money, and not forced down one particular route because it favours Adobes cash flow.

For me I am sticking with CS6 for the minute and will wait for the dust to settle to see where my path lies. This could mean that I jump ship to another photo editor as there are a few good competitors out there. This could also open a space for someone to come in to rival adobe.

Over To You

What are your feelings about the change in pricing? Do you think this is positive?  Will you be looking for another image editor in the future?
Le me know what you feel in the comment section below.

If you liked the post please share with others using your favorite social media site.

If you wish to get notifications when I post on my blog, you can follow me on Twitter@aperture64, on or alternatively be emailed by subscribing below.

14 thoughts on “Adobe Goes Subscription Only

  1. I despise Adobe for this. I hope it is a massive backfire. Change platforms? Well I suspect if it works others will follow suit. The beneficiaries may be the camera manufacturers who provide proprietary RAW converters with their cameras. I have never liked DPP but hey, if Adobe screws me with no updates to CS6, I’ll use it and then import. We always get screwed on pricing in HK and if someone thinks US$50pm is ok, good luck to them. Do you really believe they won’t hike the price once you are locked in?????

    • Andrew i believe that the minute they see the income stream they will raise the price or they will make the updates just cosmetic.. This might be a good time for niksoft to bundle its plugins into a a program with raw support. Also if camera manufacturers put some RnD into their raw converters it could make certain camera more popular .

    • I have just checked what my price would be in Poland and they are doing what i thought they would. I will have to buy my subscription in Euros so I get killed on the exchange rate from 69 Euros to 280zl which is about the same as a worker on minimum wage. This compared to $50 in the US which would be 180zl. In reality they make $27 extra every month form Polish users.

      • Outrageous. I haven’t looked for HK as I don’t intend to subscribe. I’m told you will at least get camera updates if you just stick with CS6. But nothing else.

      • Yes that is true they will keep updating Camera Raw for the foreseeable future. I am still not sure what I am going to do. I may contact Adobe asking why I must pay in Euros see what they say. In my opinion if they are going to use a subscription method it needs to be a similar and realistic price for all.

  2. I had subscribed to this cloud service last year at the rate of $20+ CDN per month (all programs included only because I can write it off as an expense for my work) and have to say that I don’t have the time time to use even half of them… so much for that. I hate the idea of not physically owning this type of thing and having to rely on someone else’s server, etc. to store my stuff (I lose enough as it is… hence multiple physical backups/Graids/drives, etc..) – oddly enough in the last few days even though I am still being charged monthly for the service I have been getting pop-up windows that say “your trial is expiring – you should subscribe at X dollars – Continue trial?” – What does that mean? I already am subscribed.. just a glitch while they are trying to figure out how to get our last nickel or portent of things to come? Not happy at all…

    • I have just checked what my price would be in Poland and they are doing what i thought they would. I will have to buy my subscription in Euros so I get killed on the exchange rate from 69 Euros to 280 zl which is about the same as a worker on minimum wage. This compared to $50 in the US which would be 180zl. In reality they make $27 extra every month form Polish users.

      Your problem sounds like a glitch but something I would raise with Adobe. I really dont like the way the digital world is going. Soon we wont own the food we buy as we have only a License to eat.

      • It is a huge money grab and there needs to be some sort of competition to these megacorps….There is definitely something afoot – I often wonder how much of a conspiracy there is between the big “computer” companies to keep the consumer from getting too savvy. Oftentimes when we are looking for solutions to this kind of problem we are told by the support communities that our opinion is not relevant and that we should send the suggestions in to the “feedback” department only to discover that any great ideas we suggest to improve systems/programmes/etc. we won’t be credited for or paid for, let alone advised of when they do update… screwed everywhere….

      • This is capitalism, megacorps squeeze competition until they are the competition.
        I was just on Adobe forums, people are asking questions and all you have is other user answering them who are then scored on their answers. Interesting Idea.
        I don’t want to bash Adobe as i do like their products. As I say let the dust settle and see what happens. I think the only negative thing they have been doing is going on to comment sections on blogs and flaming, this has lead to distrust and some false information.

      • Funny that you mention the idea of users getting points for answering “community” questions – Apple community does this also. I made the mistake of asking a question that I knew part of the answer to, just to see if there wasn’t some programmer kid out there with a nifty work-around that could help me achieve a solution. Two so-called “experts” (not paid by Apple and both with big points) were extremely rude, told me no such option existed, that my opinion/idea wasn’t relevant (one even saying why would the average user want such a thing – my query was copyright-related) and that “There is no one here that can help you”… So much for the idea of “community” – I got on chat with Support and was treated much better. I get the feeling that everyone is in a snit, has forgotten that we all want to do something good in the end and don’t want to be jerked around and yes, I love my Adobe stuff and would hate to have to climb that very steep learning curve with a replacement product… getting too old for this kind of thing…

  3. CC works for me, but I do not approve of them forcing everyone to do it. People should be able to choose, and some want to own the software. I have heard really good things about Gimp, the open source version. Although, I can understand not wanting to relearn a program. It takes so long and such a huge amount of time to become familiar.

    • For me unfortunately the changes would negatively impact me, mainly due to the strange way they are pricing CC in Poland, having to pay in Euros, making it completely unaffordable. But even if it was I think people should have the choice. Instead of saying this is the future. I read a thought experiment that imagined everything on your computer was subscribed to, with this no one would be able to afford a computer.

      Gimp is said to be an alternative but having seen it and worked with it, I would say it isn’t, it just doesn’t have the power behind it. For a person starting out it is a good launch pad.

      I have CS6 and I will wait and see what will happen I wasn’t planning on upgrading for 2 years so maybe the landscape will have changed then.

  4. I have CS5 and did not upgrade to CS6 because like you said I didn’t see the big improvement. I’m in the US and probably will not go with the Creative Cloud solution unless something mind blowing comes out. I’m satisfied with the blend of CS5, Lightroom and the varying plugins that come for Photoshop. My hope is that the plugin makers (OnOne, Nik/Google, Topaz, etc…) continue to make the plugins that work with older versions of Photoshop. If they do I probably won’t ever make the leap to the CC model but if they start to only make them available in the cloud and evolution happens there it may spur me to jump into the subscription model. I never thought of the exchange rate with Adobe and thinks it sucks you are getting screwed over in Poland.

Let Me Know Your Thoughts, I Know You Have Some

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s