Monday, May 6th, 2013 Posted by Jim Thacker

Adobe kills Creative Suites, moves to Creative Cloud

A recent promo for Creative Cloud, Adobe’s online subscription platform. The developer has just announced that, from the next release, its creative software products will only be available through Creative Cloud.

Adobe’s creative software will soon only be available via an online subscription. The company has announced that it is canning perpetual licences of its Creative Suite products in favour of Creative Cloud membership.

Photoshop CS6, After Effects CS6 and their sister products will be the final releases under the Creative Suite brand. When the new versions of the software go on sale in June, they will be branded ‘CC’, for ‘Creative Cloud’.

Conventional licences of the CS6 tools will remain available for the immediate future, but Adobe says that it “do[es] not have any current plans to release future CC tools outside Creative Cloud”.

Creative Cloud: (some of) the myths busted
It’s important to note that the new CC releases will not require a permanent internet connection: the applications still live on your hard disk – they just prompt you to connect to the licence server every 30 days.

Users can choose when to update, so you shouldn’t have to troubleshoot new tools in the middle of a project.

When it comes to backwards-compatibility, Adobe says that it “plans to continue to support the ability to export to Creative Suite 6 [from Creative Cloud] applications that have that capability now”.

It’s also possible to run a CC edition of a tool alongside an older version of the software, so if all else fails, you retain your original software as a back-up.

However, for many people, the main issue will be pricing. Creative Cloud membership currently begins at $49.99 a month for access to all of Adobe’s creative software, or $19.99 a month for access to a single app.

There are also introductory offers for users of CS3 or later – although how long they will last is unclear.

In the section of its FAQs entitled ‘Will the cost of membership ever increase?’, Adobe notes that “the cost of an annual membership will not go up during the first 12 months”, but offers no guarantees after that.

User reaction: you either love it or you hate it
Reactions to the news have been polarised. In the first camp, people who use few of the creative tools and upgrade infrequently say that the move will effectively force them to pay for updates they neither need nor want.

This group includes students, hobbyists and many freelancers. One fairly typical comment on CNET reads:

“I [can] absolutely not afford to pay a $50-a-month subscription fee. Products this costly are investments for [students like me] and until there are drastic changes in the software, we really don’t have a need to upgrade.”

In the other camp, people who use many of the tools and upgrade regularly say they actually benefit actually benefit from reduced annual costs, and gain access to products they wouldn’t otherwise have bought.

This group includes studio owners and some other full-time professionals. Greg Leuenberger, founder of animation and motion graphics studio Sabertooth Productions, posted on the Luxology forum:

“[Membership is] dirt cheap – you get everything. I pay the guy more to mow my lawn each month than I pay for Adobe’s entire software library. I charge more per hour than I spent each month for my CC subscription.”

So how many people fall into each camp?

Adobe senior director of product marketing Scott Morris told CNET that those who love the new model are “overwhelmingly” in the majority.

Look around at threads on the main industry forums, however, and you might not be so sure.

Read Adobe’s Creative Cloud FAQs

See Adobe’s current Creative Cloud pricing options