Adobe to Discontinue Creative Suite, Will Focus Solely on Subscription-only Creative Cloud

Posted on May 7, 2013 3:10 PM by Rob Williams

With its recent launch of Office 2013, it became increasingly clear that Microsoft has full intention to convert us all into “cloud” users eventually. The company’s focus on boxed copies of the latest suite has been almost non-existent, with perks offered with its Office 365 service actually making that version look quite sub-par.

Love it or hate it, with Microsoft urging us to move to cloud-based solutions, there’s little doubt that other companies will, too. Adobe in particular has been ramping up its cloud-based operations heavily, and yesterday, it announced something I’d never expected at this point in time: boxed copies of Creative Suite are done. Fin. No more. The way of the dodo. Soon to be an ancient relic of the past.

Adobe Creative Cloud

As Adobe puts it:

Adobe also announced that the company will focus all of its creative software development efforts on its Creative Cloud offering moving forward. Adobe’s desktop tools, previously known as Creative Suite (CS), are now branded CC to reflect that they are an integral part of Creative Cloud and have been reinvented to support a more intuitive, connected way of creating. While Creative Suite 6 products will continue to be supported and available for purchase, the company has no plans for future releases of Creative Suite or other CS products. This update to Creative Cloud includes the next generation of Adobe desktop applications — including Photoshop CC, InDesign CC, Illustrator CC, Dreamweaver CC and Premiere Pro CC.

I’m excited to see what’s in store with Adobe’s upcoming CC editions, but I’m not so stoked on the fact that they’ll be available via subscription only. Admittedly, if you’re a professional user of Adobe’s products and update every one or two versions, a subscription is going to break you even or work in your favor. If you’re someone who upgrades every 3+ years, subscriptions could wind up being more expensive, depending.

Adobe CC Products

Currently, new customers can sign-up for Adobe’s Creative Cloud service for $50/mo, which, at $600, is a good chunk. Those who own CS3 or later can enjoy the same subscription at $30/mo, but only for the first year. Student and teacher editions also exist, for $20/mo (this is promotional; regular price will be $30/mo) and for access to a single application, it’s $20/mo. Clearly, the best value lies with any other subscription if you make heavy use of more than two or three Adobe products. For those curious, Adobe’s products that are not featured in a Creative Suite are likely to remain as individual products for some time to come. Lightroom, for example, already has version 5 in beta, so there’s no sign of that being confined to a subscription as well.

Personally, I believe $50/mo to be fairly high for someone who may only use a couple of applications, but for the broad professional, it’s quite enticing. 

What do you guys think? Is this going to fare well for Adobe, or prove to be a mistake?

  • Kayden

    I think they are letting their arrogance of dependency on their applications override their common sense because they want more profit. This is only going to hurt students, independent artists, small businesses and hobbyists. This is going to drive people to other solutions, mainly Gimp for those who need Photoshop, and forget flash animation for websites after this. They are going to see a huge hit to its profit because they think piracy is the biggest problem, well they are making it more of a problem when you consider Photoshop up front costs the same as 8 months worth of a subscription to Adobe. They will either realize it is a mistake in a year or two and change back to what has been successful or it will be known as elitist software, that can’t be learned in school or personally.

    • Rob Williams

      I could be wrong, but I just don’t think people LIKE being tied into software via subscriptions, because once that runs out (as in, it’s canceled), the software goes poof. That’s not great if you happen to hit a financial hurdle or something like that.

      I am REALLY interested to see where this will go. I’m still surprised that Adobe was so quick to do away with stand-alone suites so soon… a bold move to be sure.

  • Stetson

    Get ready. Software DLC is coming to SaaS. And with companies like Adobe getting in on the action, and other companies starting up with the always on DRM more and more…

    SaaS will inevitably make the jump to incorporate DLC.
    Want our cool proprietary plugin? $20-50.
    Want to join the beta program for the next version? $20
    Want our cool filter package? $10
    We are having a sale on our brush sets for $10 this month!

    • Rob Williams

      Things like brushes and plugins are not Adobe’s concern; it leaves those up to other developers. It focuses on core functionality, so DLC as you describe it is highly unlikely. Adobe’s software is for professional use; these are not games.

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