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Adobe Creative Suite Going Subscription-Only 658

First time accepted submitter JDG1980 writes "According to CNET and various other sources, CS6 will be the last version of Adobe's Creative Suite that will be sold in the traditional manner. All future versions will be available by subscription only, through Adobe's so-called 'Creative Cloud' service. This means that before too long, anyone who wants an up-to-date version of Photoshop won't be able to buy it – they will have to pay $50 per month (minimum subscription term: one year). Can Adobe complete the switch to subscription-only, or will the backlash be too great? Will this finally spur the creation of a real competitor to Photoshop?"
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Adobe Creative Suite Going Subscription-Only

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  • I tried this... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by d00m.wizard ( 1226664 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:29PM (#43645907)
    and it was annoying. When will companies learn? Not everyone wants to be tethered to the internet to run their apps...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:33PM (#43645947)

    I like it. Unless you skip a version or two, the $50/month for the entire suite is a better price. The release is every year or two, so it costs $600-$1200 per version, vs the $2400 for the entire suite. If you only use two items, then this pricing is better or about equal.

  • Piracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:38PM (#43646013) Journal

    Adobe underestimates how much it benefits from piracy. If poor college students can't cut their teeth on the full Adobe suite, they're likely to learn how to use something else. When those students go out and get jobs, they're more likely to use what they're used to than drop a bundle on Adobe software they've never used before.

  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:43PM (#43646091) Homepage
    The really interesting part of this seems to be that Adobe gets to keep all the money from the licensing. Previously, if you wanted a license, you'd go to some reseller, and they'd get part of the money, as would a distributor, and maybe ever a couple other companies along the way. This is basically a game changer. Adobe believes (and it's probably true) that it's popular enough that they don't need resellers and other people pushing their products, and that they can do good enough business just selling direct to the end user. As much as I like the idea of subscription software, I do like the idea of the middle man being cut out, since most of the time they offer very little value to the end customer, and can only really make prices higher, or at the very best, bleed out money from the process would have been better served going back to the people creating the product. It's the equivalent of music labels selling directly to end users without going through the music stores (be they online or physical stores/records)
  • Yes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) <> on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:43PM (#43646095) Homepage Journal

    Can Adobe complete the switch to subscription-only, or will the backlash be too great? Will this finally spur the creation of a real competitor to Photoshop?


  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:46PM (#43646131)

    Considering AutoCAD's licensing, if Autodesk created a Photoshop competitor you'd wish they'd let you have it for $50/month!

  • Biggest concern (Score:5, Insightful)

    by falcon5768 ( 629591 ) <> on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:47PM (#43646147) Journal
    We need to have version control for some plugins we use. If there are no controls to prevent new versions from being loaded then it will be imposible to version control
  • Re:I tried this... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by terjeber ( 856226 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:54PM (#43646243)

    GiMP should be looking more and more attractive to professionals as this sort of thing goes

    No, not to professionals.

  • Re:I tried this... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:58PM (#43646281)

    GiMP should be looking more and more attractive to professionals as this sort of thing goes.

    GIMP isn't even competitive with Photoshop CS2 (you know, the one Adobe has available for free downloading on their website...) It's a joke. Still no support for 16-bit per channel after all these years. (And before someone says that you can't see the difference, that's not the point at all – you need 16 bpc to avoid getting banding and other artifacts after repeated transforms. The final output can be 8 bpc, but editing/processing needs to be done at a higher depth for solid results. And even a $499 DSLR can shoot 14 bpc these days.)

    The worst thing about GIMP is that its existence leads the FOSS community into complacency. People need to realize that there really is no good open-source competitor to Photoshop and start working on one, rather than pretending that GIMP fits the bill and then arguing with creative professionals who repeatedly point out why it doesn't.

  • Re:I love it... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:58PM (#43646291)

    The incentive is to keep that flow of cash coming in. The pressure will be from other companies who feel they can offer a competing product at a more compelling price point, and take away Adobe's business.

    Or did you really think once you signed up for a subscription, you were committing to pay $50 a month in perpetuity?

  • by dbhost ( 1129727 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:03PM (#43646375)
    I think this is a great opportunity for the Open Source Community to showcase what really can be done with apps like The GIMP. There is admittedly work to be done for vector apps, but they are coming along.... Other than using Photoshop specific filters, there really isn't anything Photoshop can do that I can't do in GIMP... Why pay Adobe for their overpriced bloatware?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:05PM (#43646401)

    Is this just a bad troll, or is the author going to come by later and desperately try to claim it was a satirical look at bad trolling?

  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:07PM (#43646415) Homepage

    Paint Shop Pro and about a dozen other Windows-based graphics applications have been offering 90% of Photoshop's features for well over a decade now.
    The remaining 10% is mostly color and print management, which most people neither need nor know even exists.

    Sadly, the common answer to Photoshop around these parts is "Gimp".
    Anybody who's ever used Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Painter, Canvas, Photo Draw will be thoroughly disappointed by Gimp's lack of features and especially it's utter lack of usability.

    Perhaps even more sad is that Adobe has bought a number of the most succesful competitors. Corel seems to own most of the rest nowadays.

    Still, even the free is more than enough for most Photoshop users.

  • Re:I love it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:12PM (#43646477)

    For professional users a subscription makes a lot of sense


    We're already seeing the usual rip-off pricing for non-US customers: Creative Cloud is currently just shy of £50/month in the UK, which works out at about two years to break even compared to the current advertised price for buying the key applications in CS6 outright (a little under £1,200).

    I don't want to have my UI move around arbitrarily. I hate it when browsers do that. I hate it when mobile apps do that. I use Creative Suite to earn a living, and I won't tolerate those kinds of tools doing it.

    I don't want to work more in the cloud. I have invested a considerable amount of money in building a high performance system here, with robust storage, networking, back-ups etc. And my system and devices don't trust anyone outside my company with access to material I'm working on for clients.

    And most of all, I don't trust Adobe not to screw me. When my boot drive failed, they were the only company whose DRM couldn't figure it out and reinstall cleanly after the replacement was installed. It took weeks (and their tech support people who could barely speak English or understand the problem calling me literally in the middle of the night and then wondering why I wasn't impressed, and ultimately the first step toward formal legal action) to get them to fix the problem. As far as I can tell, that problem turned out to be due to completely fictional records somehow magically becoming linked to the serial number of our legitimate, legal copy of the product in their database, which sounds a lot like either an admin screw-up or someone's key generator coincidentally hitting our number, but certainly no fault of ours either way.

    I predict with 100% confidence that none of my companies will be giving any more money to Adobe if they go ahead with this. They aren't trustworthy, their pricing model is predatory, and their track record of improvements/bug fixes -- or rather the unspectacular lack thereof -- doesn't speak well of how much value any of us are going to get out of renting our software. If we need more copies of CS for new people, we'll just source legal but second-hand permanent copies of the same version we've already got, as the courts in Europe seem happy that we are perfectly entitled to do.

  • Re:I tried this... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:12PM (#43646489) Homepage

    No. The FOSS community simply realizes that most of the so-called Photoshop users here are just degenerate pirates. They will happily use a pirated copy of something rather than seeing out a true alternative. The license really is quite irrelevant.

    There is this single minded brand fixation that makes you wonder if they're all just too cheap to buy Apple products. The mentality is comparable.

    Real professionals will probably just bite the bullet. They are already paying for the product anyways.

    It will be interesting to see what the pirates and posers do.

  • Re:I tried this... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:17PM (#43646567)

    Yea, it isn't a professional grade graphics tool unless you paid an obscene amount of money for it. That is why every graphic designer I know uses Photoshop on a mac while chugging starbucks.

  • Re:I tried this... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lemur3 ( 997863 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:18PM (#43646591)


    why dont the mechanics just drive the racecars, too ?

  • Re:Piracy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:26PM (#43646723)

    Adobe underestimates how much it benefits from piracy. If poor college students can't cut their teeth on the full Adobe suite, they're likely to learn how to use something else. When those students go out and get jobs, they're more likely to use what they're used to than drop a bundle on Adobe software they've never used before.

    Guess what? They'll give it college students for free, or real cheap and then when they pull the plug after 4 years they have a new paying user. Piracy, who needs it when you can hook them and then withdraw the drug until they pay?

  • Re:I tried this... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:27PM (#43646731) Homepage

    Right. Us photographers and artists are just going to drop into C# and just code our little brains out. Hell, the vast majority of Creative Suite users can't even using the scripting engine much less have a concept on how to code an implementation of CMYK, 16 bit layers or the dozen other things that GIMP is missing.

    Professional graphics designers aren't expecting someone to code this for free - who do you think pays for Adobe products? Most people believe there is a market for another Photoshop clone to exist outside the Adobe fence, but nobody has managed to come up with it yet. Not an easy job - dropping tens of thousands of dollars out to make a product that has to be priced below Adobe but have the majority of the functionality. It took Adobe a long, long time to get Creative Suite where it is. Yes, there is a lot of fluff, but the core is awfully robust.

  • Re:I tried this... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EvanED ( 569694 ) <evaned@gmail. c o m> on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:31PM (#43646797)

    The graphic designers are just to lazy to do it themselves, instead they demand that you do it for them for free.

    There are so many problems with your argument, but I'll just go with this one: The graphic designers aren't demanding that the Gimp devs implement those things. They are just not using the Gimp, and sometimes saying why they aren't using the Gimp.

    It's equally as ridiculous to expect graphic designers to go and implement stuff in the Gimp just so that it brings it up to par with tools that already exist. If people do, that's great! But even for people who already know how to program, time is money... and there's basically no way that the time spent implementing those features will provide enough benefit to the implementer to make it worthwhile vs buying a copy of Photoshop.

  • by mrsnak ( 1818464 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:36PM (#43646871)
    My last Adobe upgrade (CS5) cost me $650 and has served me well for 3 years. CS6 at $50 a month will cost me $3600. I do get a discounted initial rate, but this is only guaranteed for a year. I only hope they get the backlash they deserve, at least from the larger prepress companies. The older pros I know don't like this, but the younger designers don't really know anything else and it allows them to come into the program with less money upfront. I see CS5 being viable for a long time.
  • Re:I tried this... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ModernGeek ( 601932 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:38PM (#43646909)
    Creative professionals would rather pay Adobe $1,000.00 than have to learn how to write software.
  • Re:I tried this... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:48PM (#43647021)

    Not use GIMP, obviously. If a pirated product is better than the FOSS "true alternative", then don't expect much use out of said alternative.

    Which is the one thing that the FOSS community refuses to admit. When you put everything on a level playing field -- pirated copies of Windows, Photoshop and Microsoft Office cost exactly the same as Linux, GIMP and Open Office -- people overwhelming choose the pirated versions of commercial products.

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:05PM (#43647221) Homepage Journal
    I guess I'll be bying CS6, and staying with that for awhile.

    I don't want to 'rent' software.

    I'd heard that Adobe had just recently stopped selling their products on CD/DVD's and only had downloadable. I don't really like that as that I really prefer to keep physical install media, but I can live without if need be.

    But, renting software, is unacceptable to me.

    What happens after awhile if for some reason, I can't or don't wish to connect said computer to the internet to check in? I just go dark and that's acceptable?

  • Re:Hardly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:58PM (#43647853) Homepage Journal

    That's the problem. I own Photoshop and use it at least three or four times per month. I need Photoshop because I have to work with all my existing Photoshop files that no other application can open because of the layer effects. I depend on 16-bit-per-channel color to minimize distortion when adjusting the color of photographs as part of complex, multi-layered artwork. I depend on CMYK output because the content I'm producing will eventually go to a print shop that requires CMYK source material. None of the competitors can replace Photoshop at those tasks. Therefore, in spite of the fact that I'm not using it "professionally" by your standards, it is a tool that I cannot readily do without. I'm certain that I am not alone in that regard.

  • Re:I tried this... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:04PM (#43647953)

    When GIMP finally has a single-window UI

    It has. And fortunately you can disable that. Seriously, single-window sucks so bad only a Windows user (ie, without proper window management) could want it.

  • Re:I love it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zdepthcharge ( 1792770 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:04PM (#43647955)
    >>You are now stuck on the current version of PS
    So what? I use CS2 and while some of the new toys are cool, they're still just toys. There a some tools that might make my workflow a little faster, but nothing that is revolutionary. Certainly nothing that's worth the cost.
    Also, the OP isn't betting his company on luck/hope. The software he purchased works. So where's the bet?
  • Re:I love it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:06PM (#43647977)

    Don't click the update button then... no one is forcing you to take the updates, you're just a luddite if you don't.

    The Luddites were against improvements in technology that would save lots of effort, increase efficiency, and therefore potentially make them redundant. I see no evidence that any recent "upgrades" in Creative Suite have had that kind of effect. They do seem fond of redoing their entire UI theme every couple of years, but there haven't been any must-have new features that were of more than niche interest for quite a while.

    And that's the biggest problem with this whole scheme. We're talking about a pricing model where you basically have to pay the equivalent of full price every couple of years. Even on the old, one-off purchase model with a substantial up-front price, you only paid that once and you paid a much lower price if you wanted to upgrade to the next version. Something that is going to work out that much more expensive, not to mention having the risk of breaking at least once a month, has to have something serious in it for the market to make them want to shift, and I just don't see that happening given Adobe's track record lately. As the likes of Microsoft have found out recently, there is always at least one viable alternative for large, profitable customers who don't like your new offering: stick with the old one they already have.

  • by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:12PM (#43648049)

    I've been in the design industry going back to Photoshop 5. This well before there was such a thing as Creative Suite, before Adobe bought Macromedia and before Quark made such a mess of their desktop publishing application that everyone switched to InDesign.

    Adobe has a complete monopoly on the design industry. In the US I've never come across a designer that doesn't use Adobe products. Using anything else is a surefire way to be ostracized and struggle to find a job. Overseas, where Adobe software tends to be more expensive, and design culture isn't as entrenched in a particular mindset as it is in the US, you sometimes saw other software used. But it was rare and most who couldn't afford Creative Suite just pirated it. Often, the best case was that they'd get a single license and then crack it for use on multiple machines.

    In the US, the design industry has screwed itself. They've collectively deemed that Adobe software is The One Way (tm) to do design. You're not a real designer if you work any other way. Making things worse is that like a pack of suckers, they'd rush out to upgrade the instant the next version was released. Adobe's model of preventing backwards compatibility meant that if you resisted upgrading within a few months you'd find yourself receiving design files you can't open. Flash, for example, went from plenty of options when saving in the Macromedia days to allowing you to save back a single version. Whether or not your files feature new functionality is irrelevant.

    So the end result is that you're dragged along on the upgrade cycle whether you like it or not. But the most frustrating bit here is that the vast majority of designers never touch what new functionality Adobe has introduced. But then most of that functionality has very limited utility for most people. And while there have been some valuable updates through the years there have been core issues that have yet to be addressed. One is how the UI amongst the various apps is inconsistent despite Creative Suite now having been around for at least 10 years. One of the more ridiculous issues is how most apps in the package, including Acrobat, lack support for retina display.

    Knock Microsoft and Office all you want, but they've always been good about updates, their UI is consistent across all apps, and they supported retina early on. On top of that, you can still work effectively with an old version of Office. And most important of all, they don't have a monopoly on any industry.

  • Re:I tried this... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @02:22AM (#43650837)

    Yea, it isn't a professional grade graphics tool unless you paid an obscene amount of money for it.

    Obscene? $49.99 per month? Most people pay twice that per month for Cable.

    If you're a graphic designer you can get by with just the creative suite for all of your software needs. That works out to about 31 cents per hour for Adobe software. You're probably charging your client $50-$100 per hour. So that means the software which enables your entire business to run is as little as 0.3%-0.6% of your billable rate.

    Credit card servicing fees are 2.5% of a retail business' overhead. So to all the whining I just yawn. Does Creative Suite offer 31 cents an hour in value? Of course. The reason you won't see any backlash is because Creative Suite is ridiculously cheap even on subscription. @ $2.5 per day, it only has to save you $2.5/$75hr * 60 = 2 minutes of productivity per day. Using photoshop probably saves me 2 *hours* of productivity per day over gimp. It definitely saves me 2 minutes. So I could stop paying Adobe and lose 2 hours of productivity per day... or I could pay Adobe the equivalent of 2 minutes of productivity.

    Using GIMP is incredibly expensive. It costs way more than $49.99 a month in lost productivity.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller