Adobe Creative Cloud Pros and Cons

Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud is a new product which is supposed to make Adobe software more accessible, streamline creative process, and to some extent change the way how content and artwork are created. With Creative Cloud you can get Adobe software for US$ 30 to 70 without the need to pay a huge upfront cost to obtain tools necessary for your work. For example Instead of paying some US$ 2600 for Master Collection CS6 you can get all the same apps and even more for just US$ 49.99 or even 29.99 (if you are a student or educator or if you own some Adobe CS3-5.5 products). But at the same time in the case with Adobe Cloud membership you don’t own your software, you just rent it and that means that once you stop paying monthly fee you are left with nothing. These are only two reasons pro and con Adobe Creative Cloud, but actually there is much controversy about this product on the web.

If you read some forums and discussions about Adobe Creative Cloud you will find lots of people who take this product negatively and even more who are quite enthusiastic about it. All of them have their own arguments most of which seem to be rather well-grounded. So let’s take a look at pros and cons of Adobe Creative Cloud as they are seen by the users.

Adobe Creative Cloud prosUsers’ comments on different sites including (,,
No upfront cost. You can start using Adobe products right now without the need to invest a huge amount in you software. For me it's ideal! I haven't been as to afford upgrades since CS3 due to the GFC. Plus ow i need media apps as well as design apps For me to upgrade now is $2k in Australia. I was depressed. But when I saw Creative Cloud, it was perfect for me! I'm up to speed and have programs i need and then some! Perfect!!
Low cost of Creative Cloud Membership. That is less than $2 a day. If you cannot make more than $2 a day using the products, then maybe it is not for you. However, for most of the rest of us, $2 a day should work great. Thank you Adobe, You Did an Awesome Job with Offering us the Creative Cloud.
More flexibility thanks to access to more applications. If like me you can see the value in maximizing your flexibility and marketability by using as many as possible and it's good value! For me as a small business person I can think of much more useful ways to use my capital to grow my business, when I no longer have to worry about lagging behind with old software. With the cloud we can stay cutting edge and make the most of our time and our working capital.
No need to worry about upgrades. Adobe Creative Cloud members will get new versions of software as soon as they are released. At the same time because of the new Adobe upgrade policy owners of licensed products will have to upgrade at least every two years without possibility to save by skipping a release. If I wanted to buy the Master Collection it would cost $2600 according to Amazon. Then it's $1766 for an upgrade. The $50 a month would be cheaper in the long run. Especially since Adobe changed the upgrade policy.
Access to both the Mac OS and Windows versions of the desktop applications and the ability to install them on your primary computer and one backup computer. So, if you have a Mac at home and a PC at work, you can install your applications on both as long as they are not running at the same time.I moved to a Mac in December, though I have Windows as a guest operating system, so I am motivated to get a Mac version whether boxed or cloud. Working in a guest operating system when everything else I do is in the host system is like walking with a leg missing. You lose a lot of efficiency.
Ability to pay for the software only when it is needed.The flexibility is good. If you are working on a project and need 6 extra heads for 6 months, that is a saving of several thousand dollars on licensing costs, when you just need to pay for cloud licenses for 6 months, instead of buying 6 new, full copies of the suite.
Adobe Creative Cloud consUsers’ comments on different sites including (,,
You don’t actually own the software you use and when/if you are not able to pay for subscription you will not even be able to open your files. I think most people who are purchasing the cloud are not thinking things through. The minute you can no longer keep the $30/month going (or $50-70 after the first year), either because business is slow or you decide to take it easy, you can no longer even OPEN any of your Adobe files. This is crazy.
You depend on Adobe pricing policy. With licensed products you have a choice whether to upgrade or not if the upgrade cost is too high – you can still continue successfully working with your older version for many years. With Creative Cloud you will have to keep paying for subscription no matter how high the price rises. Once you’re locked into using their cloud and software, it will be a major problem to try to change, so you’re going to have to pay whatever price they want. Today its $50 per month. What will it be tomorrow?
The risk to lose access to the software if you fail to pay on time or some technical problems appear. I'm generally positive about the new program and plan to take advantage of the $29.99 first-year offer. I do worry about the "once-a-month-license check". If it doesn't work flawlessly, predictably and flexibly I could be caught without working software on assignment or deadline.
Restricted number of countries where Adobe Creative Cloud is available at the moment.
Lack of Adobe touch apps in Creative Cloud.
Possible perspective that Adobe will entirely move to the Cloud, leaving customers without any choice. Change of upgrade policy may be the first step to this. I won’t be surprised to see CS7 be cloud only except for rare education/government/enterprise customers and then it’s game over. Larger agencies will move to that model because it’s more economical, smaller shops and freelancers will be forced to upgrade as incompatible file formats between CS7 and earlier versions migrate from .FLA to .PSD and .AI files.

So far it appears that Adobe Creative Cloud is a great offer but not for everybody. For example if you are an amateur photographer who uses only Photoshop it is obvious that you just don’t need to switch to Creative Cloud, especially if you already own this software. At the same time if you are planning to start working as a freelancer and face a need to invest in a set of software Creative Cloud looks like a great option. Anyway Adobe Creative Cloud is only an optional way to get your software and it is only up to you to decide whether to shift to Creative Cloud or Continue Buying and upgrading your software at Adobe store.

For more details on Adobe Creative Cloud read our “Adobe Creative Cloud – an Easy Way to Get New Creative Tools” and “Adobe Creative Cloud vs Master Collection CS6”, or visit official Adobe Creative FAQ.

Join by August 31 and get your first year of Creative Cloud membership for only $29.99/month.

Valid for existing CS product owners.


2 Responses to “Adobe Creative Cloud Pros and Cons”

  1. Yavor Trampov says:

    I do also believe, that Adobe will move towards a cloud-only solution in the next 2-5 years. They will just wait until users, who have recently bought CS software switch to the cloud offer or loose their upgrade right. It just does not make sense to keep versioning software for the users any longer. Versioning will remain for the developers only, be it because you are using the Creative cloud, because you bought your application from an app store or because you downloaded it as part of a service (do you really know which version of skype, Dropbox, etc. are you using?).

    Let’s be honest about it – the choice was previously not between using the new version of CS application and not using it, it was between buying it and not buying it. And a lot of users were skipping one or two versions before before buying an official upgrades. Everyone knows this and it is the reason why you can still upgrade from CS3 (try upgrading Windows XP to Windows 7, for example – you will have to pay a full license).

    Regarding the application lock-in – you can absolutely save your files as XML (InDesign) and EPS (Illustrator) or TIFF (Photoshop) and switch to an open-source alternative at any point. Most graphic designers will not do this unless they really have no projects – it will just take too long to get acquainted with the new apps.

    A subscription-based policy is also the way to make software cheaper, not more expensive. While for a US or an EU designer an $2000 software purchase is mostly doable, for someone in Eastern Europe, Russia or China it will be quite a hurdle. The $40 per month, on the other side, are much easier to achieve in these countries. So at the end of the day the CC offering will result in a larger part of the users working with licensed software. This, in turn, expands the market and opens spade for some serious competition for Adobe – one which is now missing. In the mid and longer turn this will pull prices down and lead to more diverse cloud based portfolios both from Adobe and other providers. It is also gut for users in the “western” markets as the fixed costs of their competitors from Asia will increase slightly and the gap will become smaller, so you will no longer have to fight with logo designers from Sibir bidding at $30 for a logo design (this being a decent income for a day work there).

    Current score: 1
  2. Matthew Fabb says:

    Great article!

    “I do worry about the “once-a-month-license check”. If it doesn’t work flawlessly, predictably and flexibly I could be caught without working software on assignment or deadline.”

    Apparently there will be a few days grace period if you run into problems during “once-a-month-license check”. Not sure how long it is, as I can’t find it on the FAQ. I have heard anywhere from 5 to 15 days.

    Current score: 0

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