Adobes Creative Cloud is great for professionals, not hobbyists

Now that the first rage about Adobes move to only offer the Creative Suite based on a subscription model is gone, we should be able to talk about it like sane human beings. Overall I like the idea and I do not believe it will backfire at Adobe.

First let us play a bit with the numbers. We are talking about 60€/month. This means 720€/year or 1480€ for two years. The full suite as Master Collection costs around 3200€. An upgrade is around 1500€.

If you upgrade every second year you are even on running costs but save the one time investment of 3200€. No matter how you calculate your budget this is a good deal, especially if you think about all the additional stuff you get for subscribing to Creative Cloud.

So why did we see a massive shitstorm, rage and discussions? In one word: Hobbyists.

Professional agencies are likely to use the latest version. We do not need to consider the advantage of spending money from time to time. There are two cases which I believe we can agree on:

  1. New features are sometimes a nice thing, even if not everything is an improvement.
  2. If you work with freelancers and clients it is likely you want an up to date version if you exchange files.

Hobbyists do not care about this. They want to buy a software package and use it. Most of them will not even use 30% of the features they paid for and it makes no sense for them to be priced as a web or advertisement agency e.x. which wants the latest version. A good friend still works with Photoshop 7 and is happy with it for retouching photos.

But Adobe could not care less about hobbyists. Most of them buy one package and maybe one upgrade every few decades (which is AFAIK not possible to upgrade over some major versions but I hope you get my point). While professionals may consider skipping one upgrade or to use other online services an already payed subscription ties them nearer to Adobe.

What are the options for hobbyists? The likely easiest one would be joining the rows of the not-so-legal "I found a copy online which needs no activation" group. But there are also good designed, functional paid alternatives like Pixelmator, Acron or free software like Gimp which could be an alternative, depending on your point of view. I think Gimp vs. Photoshop is the vim vs. Emacs for digital artists.

So what does this mean? Adobe wins. Professionals win. Hobbyists lose. It could be that easy if there were not some professionals and small agencies who are comfortable with a slightly outdated version that will be caught in crossfire, which sucks. For me it is okay. I can live with Creative Cloud, I enjoy the additional features and I do not pay more than I would while regularly upgrading.

>> posted on May 18, 2013, midnight in app, business