At the AdobeMAX event today, Adobe announced that they will no longer be selling perpetual license for the Creative Suite. That’s now been rebranded as Creative Cloud, and will be available by subscription only. Technology, and life in general, are moving faster and faster, and 18-24 month upgrade cycles just don’t work that well anymore. Adobe wants to focus on providing changing technology as fast as they can. You can read their official letter and watch the keynote here.
So what does that mean for photographers? Let me see if I can answer some of those questions…
What’s going to happen to Lightroom and Photoshop Elements?
Tom Hogarty has confirmed that Lightroom will continue to ship as a standalone product by electronic download or as a boxed copy, as well as being available in the Creative Cloud. There’s no official word on Photoshop Elements or Premiere Elements yet, but the expectation is the same will apply.
There are some rumblings around the web suggesting that Lightroom will soon go subscription only too. Nothing Adobe’s said suggests that’s true – exactly the opposite, in fact. Lightroom has a completely different target market to the main Creative Cloud software, so I’m not anticipating changes there in the foreseeable future.
Update April 2015 – Time flies in the world of computing. With the split branding of Lightroom CC and Lightroom 6, I think we’re now heading toward a time when Lightroom will start to diverge much more significantly. I imagine the CC version will gain new features that aren’t available in the perpetual license, even if they continue selling a perpetual license to keep their earlier promise.
What if I want Photoshop but not the whole Creative Cloud?
There are individual subscriptions available, and a year’s worth of a single-product subscription (i.e. Photoshop) costs about the same as the yearly upgrade.
Also, Tom Hogarty announced on The Grid recently that Adobe want feedback from photographers on what YOU want from the cloud. Do you want a photographer’s cloud with a subset of programs, perhaps? They’re listening, so this is your chance to influence the future of Adobe.
Do I have to go on subscription?
They are continuing to sell perpetual licenses for CS6 for the time being, and they’re going to continue adding new camera support to CS6 too. So if you only use Photoshop for retouching, you’re not being forced into upgrading. That said, the new features in Photoshop CC are well worth considering.
I already own a perpetual license – any upgrade discounts?
Yes! If you have CS3 or later, you can get discounts of up to 60% off on single app or the whole Creative Cloud for the first year! Single apps cost just $9.99/month for the first year.
Will Adobe stop innovating once they’ve got everyone tied into a subscription?
No! If they’re going to stop users looking elsewhere for suitable software, they’ll have to keep innovating and pushing boundaries. They’re going to be working just as hard, but the flexibility should mean they can use some of their time to clean up some of the older irritating bugs and smaller features that make our working experience better.
I don’t want to be tied to the cloud – what if I’m offline?
The programs are installed on your computer, as they are at the moment. They ‘phone home’ once a month to confirm you’ve paid, but if you’ve paid for an annual membership, you can go up to 180 days even if you’re offline.
Where can I find more information?
There’s further FAQ’s on Adobe’s website. If you can’t find the answer to something, ask in the comments and I’ll see what I can find out for you.
Edit – Jeff Tranberry’s just posted a good FAQ too