Back in March, a rumor made the rounds that Adobe would move away from selling packaged software, making Creative Suite programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator only available as cloud-based subscription software. The rumors claimed May 1 as the date this this change would happen. While not giving much specific information, Adobe at that time did confirm that it would stop selling physical packaged software and that all software would be available via download or online subscription. As often happens with rumors, May 1 came and went with no announcement from Adobe.
However, today during its keynote at the Adobe Max Creativity Conference, Adobe announced sweeping changes to the Creative Suite programs. All Creative Suite programs will now be re-branded as Creative Cloud. Adobe will stop selling perpetual licenses and move completely to a subscription-based pricing system for all former CS apps. Creative Cloud (CC) is currently priced at $50 per month for individuals who purchase an annual subscription. Existing Adobe customers who own CS3 through CS5.5 get the first year of Creative Cloud at a promotional price $30 per month; educational pricing is also $30 per month. CS6 users can sign up for CC for $20 a month for the first year. More importantly for many photographers, single app pricing is $10 a month for the first year. Lightroom is the only CS app that will exist both as part of the CC and as a perpetual license. According to Adobe, this is due to Lightroom’s status as both a consumer and professional product. Adobe also announced significant upgrades to the new CC apps that will launch in June.
What does this mean for professional photographers? For most of us, it will be a big change. CS6 will continue to be available as a perpetual license and will be supported through the next significant upgrade to the Mac and Windows operating systems. However, there will be no further development for that version. Going forward, if you want to use Photoshop, you will have to have a Creative Cloud subscription of some sort.
While some level of internet connectivity is likely required, these are not (despite the name) cloud-based apps that require a constant connection. These are software programs that you download and install to your computer. You can work offline as you would with any version of Photoshop you have used in the past. The big difference now is that if you don’t pay your subscription fee, the software will stop functioning.
More information about the changes coming to Photoshop specifically can be found on Adobe’s website: