It’s time to welcome “Creative Cloud” and kick “Creative Suite” to the curb. Adobe announced Monday during its annual MAX conference that the company’s grand experiment in subscription software was a success, and that it will be moving its entire line of professional media tools to the subscription model this summer.
The company first moved to a Cloud-based subscription model early last year, offering access to its entire Creative Suite line of software for a monthly subscription alongside traditional retail copies of Creative Suite. For US$50 per month, users gained access on two Macs or PCs to the latest versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Premiere, and more, along with cloud-based document sharing and storage.
The subscription model gave users the ability to access expensive software ($2,500 for the full Creative Suite) for a lower monthly fee, helping to both reduce software piracy and bring Adobe’s customers up-to-date with the latest features and technologies.
The change was not without controversy, however, as many users who were happy to make a one-time purchase of older software felt Adobe was unfairly forcing them into a perpetual payment model. For users who view the situation in that light, those fears appear to have come true.
Starting in June, Adobe will cease feature development of its traditional Creative Suite applications (bugs will still be patched for an undetermined amount of time) and roll out new “Creative Cloud” (“CC”) versions of its apps only on the Creative Cloud service. That means that, going forward, customers who want new Adobe features will be forced to subscribe to Creative Cloud; the traditional retail versions of these applications will die with CS6.
Some users, especially smaller businesses and professionals, view the move by Adobe more positively. For those who desire the latest features and performance improvements Adobe delivers each year, a smaller monthly fee for complete always-up-to-date access to the latest versions is preferable to a one-time payment of thousands of dollars that will be “out-of-date” in a year.
Examples of the new features that will be coming to “Photoshop CC” and its companion apps include: smart sharpen, better upsampling, improved 3D painting with real-time previews, editable rounded rectangles, camera shake reduction, conditional actions, and more. Users interested in detailed descriptions of the new features can visit Adobe’s Photoshop Blog.
Pricing will remain the same for the “new” Creative Cloud. Standard users will have access to all features and applications for $50 per month. In an attempt to attract users with older versions of Creative Suite, Adobe is offering users of CS3 or later the first year of Creative Cloud for $30 per month. Organizations with multiple users will get the full feature set plus significantly more cloud storage for $70 per user per month ($30 per user per month if the organization is a qualified educational institution). Finally, a plan for students is available for $20 per month.
Adobe will reveal further details on the switch in the coming months. Until then, those with questions about migrating their existing Creative Suite purchases to a Creative Cloud account can view Adobe’s FAQ.