Adobe: Creative Suite Is Dead, Long Live Creative Cloud

Adobe: Creative Suite Is Dead, Long Live Creative Cloud

Do you remember Adobe's Creative Suite or CS? Yes, it was that family of Adobe applications that served creatives well for quite a long time. We used to buy perpetual licenses for applications from the Creative Suite, which felt like you really owned something. You paid and it was yours. Well, Adobe says you can't do that anymore.

With the introduction of Creative Cloud, there were many complaints against the subscription model. While being cheaper to use the new software as a subscription, at the end, it's not yours forever. You can use it as long as you pay for it continually.

How I Feel About the Subscription Model

I remember when the Creative Cloud subscription was first pushed to the public. All Creative Suite products have been diligently put deeper into Adobe's website, so it was very hard to find them. At that time, I was using Photoshop Elements, and it served me quite well for my photography projects. Being a subscriber to something I use on a daily basis doesn't feel right to me. It's like paying rent to use my kitchen utensils. If software doesn't work well, nobody will buy it. If it works, the users will buy it and many will not think of upgrading to the next version unless they need something more. This was the time when I purchased a Photoshop CS6 perpetual license. I still use it. I barely use even 10 percent of the functionality it provides, and I don't need anything more. I'm happy with it, although I've paid lots of money to obtain it. It's mine. All mine. That's why I'm not a Creative Cloud subscriber. I have a piece of software that covers all my needs in terms of image manipulation. I don't want to stop working in the middle of an important photography or video project just because my bank has issues with their card-processing software, my card has not enough funds, or it has expired. Of course, this always happens on the eve of a long national holiday.

What If I Want Another CS6 Application?

I can't have it anymore. Adobe says: "Adobe creative apps are available exclusively through Creative Cloud." No more perpetual licenses. No more CS6. You are forced to be a subscriber to their software if you want to use it. That's what they say on their website right now:

Notice that Adobe Creative Suite is not available anymore

The whole subscription model by Adobe is an interesting move. There are other software companies that are getting more market share in the world of photo and video processing. Some of them are even cheaper. Users are in front of the decision to be a loyal Adobe subscriber at a low monthly price or go to another software company and buy their application with a perpetual license. There were options before: to use an older full version of a product or newer subscription-based software. Not anymore.

What About Lightroom?

If you don't have raw-processing software, you can't get the newest camera and open its files in your old Creative Suite Photoshop application, because you don't have the latest Camera Raw updates. If you want to use your old Adobe Photoshop and you are loyal to Adobe, you have to use Lightroom. It was available outside the Creative Cloud so far, so users like me could upgrade to the next version without being a subscriber (hoping they've fixed their performance issues). That worked quite well for me, and I think for others too.

I just searched for "Lightroom 6" on their website and I've got a message that if I need Lightroom, I have to subscribe to the Creative Cloud. I am not able to find any link to a perpetual license purchase anymore. Does this mean Lightroom is not available for a full purchase and loyal Adobe users are forced to pay for subscriptions?

Are you a Creative Cloud subscriber? How do you feel about it after those years? What do you think about their move, especially for Lightroom? Do you care?

[via photofocus]

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81 Comments

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Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I have to give Affinity a try too.

Aha . . . !
They really don't want you to find it, do they ! ?

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Look a little up in the comments section. James Springle found it.

Adobe is making money hand-over-fist with their rental scheme so you can't really blame them for the switch or realistically expect them to add back the perpetual option as a license. When you control a monopoly, as Adobe does, your shareholders are the only constituency that really matters. That said, this system clearly works for many people—particularly people running businesses. For others like the OP (and me) it doesn't work. At all.

While the scheme has definitely benefited Adobe, it's been long enough that we can call B.S. on the arguments Adobe posited on how the switch would benefit their customers. Yes, for cash-poor creatives it does seem to have lowered the barrier to entry. But the increased stability, extra innovation and freedom from a release schedule have never really materialized. On the stills side, things are bad. There has been nothing of significance that would justify upgrading from CS6. (To be clear, I'm not saying there haven't been improvements on the margins. I'm saying that the monthly expense of CC from the time of introduction until now represents an enormous expense that is in no way justified by the improvements made.) Things are better on the video side of things. Legit improvements have been made. Enough to be worth it? Maybe. Enough to commit to the rental scheme? Not for me.

Ultimately this is what it comes down to for me. It's not the money. It's agreeing to be part of a system where I pay Adobe a lifetime annuity in the form of a monthly payment that can increase at any time; or lose editing control of my past work. This is no big deal for some but it is a very big deal for me.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Yes, I agree with the principles in your comment although I'm not using Premiere and I can't say anything about the video-related updates.

Well, I don't like CC too and not planing to go there yet, or maybe never. The only thing that can convince me to go to CC is that Adobe makes this:
If I decide to stop paying CC, the version I paid for until this date, stays on my computer.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

That's the #1 complaint, I think.

The most important thing is what the author only touched on. Software sells if it adds value. How is Adobe spending the cloud money? Do they spend it into PS and LR? My impression is NO. And exactly this is what I don't like with CC. LR hasn't really improved a lot in my opinion. PS? Well, can't remember any big changes but a lot of messing around. If a software is purchased then it is on the user to decide when and where to spend the money. I think this is where Adobe should rethink and make a buy option available. If CC is so much better, proof it and users will follow. If not then, well they will find it out.

Ansel Spear's picture

I used to buy CS Production Bundle and upgrade every two years. As a self-employed videographer/photographer, this seemed about right for my needs. I had no use for Acrobat, Dreamweaver, In Design...etc, and the Production Bundle gave me all I needed for about £350 every two years. Now, for £540 every year, I am forced into having access to applications that I will never use. I think this is a strange corporate decision on Adobe's part.

In my opinion, Adobe should also produce CC bundles. I know they won't because they can get away with not doing. Until it does, I will not subscribe to the full CC model. I now use Photoshop/Lightroom CC and CS6 Production Bundle.

Brian Schmittgens's picture

I don't mind the subscription model because of how cheap it is compared to purchasing a $700 license for PS, but I hate that Lightroom and PS are bundled. Can't stand paying for something I don't want/need.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Maybe they wanted users to think they had received lot more for the price.

Brian Schmittgens's picture

I think that's a part of it. IMO, the biggest reason is if they bundle Lightroom, many people who wouldn't have used it in the first place are completely tied to the Adobe ecosystem. The more of their products you use, the less of a chance you'll jump ship.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Makes sense, unless you try to execute commercial shoots tethered with Lightroom :)

Dass Ala's picture

I just search for buy single Ligthroom and its here, its just more difficult to see and find, but its still available:
https://www.adobe.com/products/catalog/software._sl_id-contentfilter_sl_...

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

At the time this article was written, there were issues on Adobe's website and on some regions perpetual license for LR was not available for purchase. Now they seem to have fixed it.

Thanks for providing a direct link.

Excellent article and comments. There are many compelling opinions regarding the positives and the negatives of a subscription oriented model. I do question though why many people are concerned about accessing their content. Can't you just save a copy of it offline? That pretty much solves most, if not all, of your concerns. Personally, like many others, I do somewhat prefer the old fashion retail versions of software. Like, we walk into a computer store and pick our item off of the shelf and take it to the register. Get a paper receipt. Unbox the thing like it's a treasured gift. Then pop it into the computer and enjoy it. However, even for myself, the idea of 'choice' is really the ideal. I do like subscription for many reasons. However, I do prefer choosing which type of purchasing model I may require and or like most on any given day. I do ask yet again though is it possible to just work on your project within your adobe cc product and then just save a copy onto your offline computer storage media? If so, then that doesn't surprise me, though it does make me feel much more at ease with using it.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

There are different people who use the software. Amateurs or part-time photographers may not use Adobe's products that often. They want to be able to do minor adjustments to some files in the future but they have to pay for a full period because of that.

Others use image and video editing products almost daily, but may have preferences on the amount of updates they receive (or they don't want to receive if the software is stable and it works).

A third group is those who don't like the subscription model, because of the subscription model. They may be from the first group above or the second one.

Although I haven't heard about many people complaining about the cloud storage issue, it may be true that some may not have thought about storing their files offline. That may be true, but I have mostly seen people from the first 3 groups.

Like you are it seems, I'm the type of person who enjoys going out to the store and picking my item of choice off of the shelf and purchasing the actual physical software product for sooner or later use. If I have to download it, then that is fine too. Give me the install disk or file and give me the key, and then let's call it a day. To me, that gives the user the most choice and freedom. It's also kind of the more romantic way of having a tangible physical item for something that you are spending your money to purchase. It's settled at the point of sale. Personally, I like that. The idea and act of subscribing to goods and services isn't a new idea. However, for this type of product and service, I can personally understand and even relate to some of the opinions of those that dislike it. The main thing for me though harkens back to my original question of does the user have the ability and the control to actually maneuver and manipulate their files seperate from any or all of the adobe 'apps' (in my opinion, that is such cheap terminology to call something that is suppose to be so professional and revered)? Regarding what I said about how people seem concerned about accessing their content and files, I may have read those concerns in other forums. I do know though that is one of the most, if not the most, highest concern.

To give some more information about what I have read, people seem concerned about accessing their work, their files if they lose their subscription or let's say something gets messed up with one of their monthly or annual payments, or if they just change their mind and decide to use another product for what use it for. Granted, yes, I have indeed also read many many comments from people who make the same points as yourself. I do however seem to come across more though that are concerned about how much or how not so much adobe is allowing its users to control the software and the files. I haven't used the new adobe apps, so that's why I'm curious to find out if it's true.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

The problem with the subscription model is actually the problem with the subscription model of that particular software. It evolved to a point where all the new features it gives are something that's not of the value you actually pay for. Most of them are never used. A subscription model is OK for a software that's currently evolving and at a certain point you can stop paying a subscription and pay a retail price. This is a model I'd pay for. Many people today complain that they don't see anything dramatically different in each new version.

That is so true. I read that many times as well from commentors and reviews. It seems as if it is so much more limited. Even the amount of different purchases you can make. It's either all or nothing. It's ridiculous. I like the old standard retail model, in-store or download, or even subscription how you described.