When 18 months ago Adobe introduced Creative Cloud, customers, using the creative tools, didn’t know how to react to the news. This service looked like a good possibility to get access to the apps that were not available in certain packages. And of course, it made entrance to the world of Adobe creative tools much easier and more affordable. Not every student or beginner freelancer could afford paying several hundred dollars for a necessary creative suite. With Creative Cloud you only needed US$ 20 to 70 to start using the tools.
On the other hand, many professionals were not so enthusiastic about this new product. They were worried that in the future Adobe could cease actually selling their tools and shift to distributing their products exclusively through the Cloud. This would give the company ultimate control over their customers and prices. Those days you could see many comments like “I won’t be surprised to see CS7 be cloud only and then it’s game over!” (See our post Adobe Creative Cloud Pros and Cons).
And today we see that these predictions came true. Adobe is really moving all the products to the Cloud. There is no even CS7! The apps now will be branded CC, which refers to “Creative Cloud”. And this makes people feel outraged. They are not given a choice and feel somehow deceived. Ok, the customers still have an option to buy CS6, but this is only a compromise, since the CS6 users will not have a possibility to upgrade their software. In fact, if you’re a professional and want to keep up to date, you don’t have a choice here!
But let’s see if Creative Cloud is really that bad. We have collected the most common concerns about Adobe’s decision to shift to this new model of distributing their products.
1. Adobe is trying to make customers pay for their software on a regular basis whether they need upgrades or not. We’ll have to spend on software more than we did before.
As it has been mentioned Adobe CS6 is still available for purchase, and if you feel that you’re never going to need upgrades, why not buy and use it. So far, Adobe still gives you a choice. But if you’re a loyal customer and used to upgrade your software once or twice every two years, subscription will actually cost you about the same as constant upgrades would! Earlier we calculated that in four years you would spend about US$ 2200.00 on regular upgrades of Master Collection vs US$ 2400.00 for Creative Cloud subscription. And this is assuming that you own the Suite and don’t need to pay a couple thousand dollars to purchase it. Of course if you use one of the cheaper suits the difference between the cost of upgrading it and paying for subscription would be bigger, but still not dramatic.
On the other hand, if you use a single product like Photoshop or InDesign, this difference becomes much more impressive: about US$ 800 (four years of regular upgrades) vs 2400.00 for four years of Creative Cloud subscription. And here we come to another issue with Creative Cloud.
2. For the customers, using one single app like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign or others, Creative Cloud is too expensive. They just don’t need a dozen of other apps and services, and don’t want to pay for something they are not going to use.
Actually Adobe offers to subscribe for a single product for just US$19.99 a month. And that’s about US$ 240 per year. In case with Photoshop yearly upgrades used to cost about US$200, which is a bit less. But don’t forget, new customers don’t need to pay about US$700 of upfront cost now. In addition, existing users of CS3 or later apps can subscribe for only US$9.99 a month (for the first year of subscription).
3. Many customers are worried that if they start using CC products, it won’t be possible to quit. When you own your software, it’s up to you to choose whether to upgrade or not. With Creative Cloud you’ll have to pay every month to be able to continue doing your work.
Partly this is true: it looks like there won’t be any possibility to stop using Creative Cloud, if you wish to have access to Adobe tools. Well, you’ll be able to quit subscription and buy CS6. But for how long will Adobe be selling CS6? They say: “We plan to sell Creative Suite 6 for use on supported platforms indefinitely”. But who knows how long the files created in CC will remain compatible with CS6 apps. And when they are not compatible anymore, will Adobe really continue selling Creative Suite 6?
But when you are thinking about these problems, you should also think about this: in the past, if you wanted all your files to be compatible with the latest apps, you actually didn’t have a choice whether to upgrade or not. Yes, you could skip one or two upgrades, but then you had to upgrade your software anyway. So, is the difference between Creative Cloud subscription and traditional upgrades that big in this respect? And, in any case, your current Creative Suite or app will remain with you forever. And if you think that upgrades are not that important, there is no need to worry about Adobe’s new policies.
4. When people hear the word “Cloud” they imagine applications that need constant Internet access to run and files stored on the Web. And they want to be sure that they’ll have access to their files if/when they cancel their Creative Cloud membership.
First of all, all the applications are installed on your hard drive and don’t need Internet connection to run. They only need to connect Internet once a month to check whether your subscription is still valid. “For annual members, you can use the apps for up to 99 days in offline mode. Month-to-month members can use the software for up to 30 days in offline mode.”
With Creative Cloud you get up to 100GB of cloud storage (for teams) and you can store all your files there. But you’re not obliged to do so. And all your files that you’ve got on your computer, will be available to you even if you decide to stop using Creative Cloud. As for the files stored on the Cloud, adobe Creative Cloud FAQ says: “if you cancel or downgrade your paid membership, you will still have access to all of the files in the Creative Cloud folder on your computer and via the Creative Cloud website. Your account will be downgraded to a free membership, which includes 2 GB of storage. If you are over your quota, you have 90 days to reduce your online usage or you may lose access to some or all of your files through the Creative Cloud website.”
5. Another question is: what happens if you don’t pay in time or if you don’t have Internet connection the day your apps attempt to validate your software licenses? And what about the people, who need to use the Adobe tools only once or twice a year?
If you haven’t got good old CS apps with perpetual license and rely only on Adobe CC and it happens so that you can’t keep paying for subscription, then you’re in trouble! Your apps will be blocked and you won’t be able to use them. So, this is a good idea to keep your licensed CS software in stock. And if you subscribed to annual commitment you will even be charged 50% of the remaining amount left on your contract.
If you don’t have Internet Access the day when the apps need to validate the licenses, that’s not a problem, since you’re subscribed to the annual plan. Otherwise the apps will be blocked: “For annual members, you can use the apps for up to 99 days in offline mode. Month-to-month members can use the software for up to 30 days in offline mode.”
If you’re not going to use the apps very often, you can opt for the Month-to-month subscription plan. It’s a way more expensive, but gives you the possibility to pay for the tools only when you need them. Creative Cloud complete plan for individuals costs US$ 49.99 on annual commitment vs US$ 74.99 on a month to month plan. For single app users these figures are US$ 19.99 vs US$ 29.99.
Adobe customers are concerned about these and many more issues, but it is hard to deny that in general Creative Cloud has many advantages. First of all, this is a very compelling offer for the beginner user, because now they don’t have to invest US$ 600.00 – 2600.00 in software they only begin to master. This is much easier to pay US$ 20.00 – 50.00 a month. And of course Creative Cloud gives more possibilities than a traditional Creative Suite, including integration with Behance, access to the tools you couldn’t afford experimenting with before, cloud storage space and convenient solutions for teams. Creative Cloud makes collaboration with clients easier and more efficient. And at last, there are stats that show that “over 80% of people purchasing on Adobe.com select Creative Cloud”. And this is impressive!
If you have any questions about Adobe Creative Cloud, visit the FAQ page.