Photoshop CC Mathematics

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   I am sure many of the photographers that might read this are using Adobe products to do their post processing. Recently Adobe announced that their next iteration of Photoshop would not be CS7, but rather a subscription model called Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud). As one would guess, this has caused some confusion, consternation, and internet rioting over the changes.

   Part of this new setup is due to the high rate of Adobe Photoshop piracy. One feature of Photoshop CC is to have your installation check in with the Adobe servers at least once a month to ensure that you are paid up and licensed. I have no problem with this part of using the “Creative Cloud”. I have legit software, and don’t have a problem if Adobe wants to verify that. Stressing that this is the main impetus for the changes does not seem genuine, however. I think the part Adobe is more concerned with is effectively raising the prices of their software, but under a new system so it is not as easy to directly compare.

So lets compare!

   The last change Adobe made to Photoshop licensing involved the upgrade paths. Previously you did not have to buy every version of PS, you could skip a few and still upgrade to the new version for approximately $200. Then there were some controversial changes to this program that required you to purchase every version or you would no longer get a “discounted” new version/upgrade. There were some changes to this along the way but I think this is how the system eventually was implemented. I recently upgraded from CS5 to CS6 for $200 plus tax (I live in Canada). Lets crunch some numbers without the tax, and assume a customer that had planned on upgrading to each new version on the old 18 month cycle. The new system requires an investment of $20 per month for just Photoshop CC.

18 month upgrade: $200 over 18 months$11.11 per month$133.33 per year
Photoshop CC Subscription model:$20 per month$240.00 per year

This is an 80% increase per year just to use Photoshop.

   I have to wonder if Adobe will stick to this plan, or at least the pricing it released today. Almost doubling the cost of your software for existing users is something any company knows will draw some ire. Hopefully Adobe was just testing the waters today. I’m not against the need to verify a license, nor a monthly subscription model, but a price increase on this scale is going to be rather hard to stomach. I just wish there was a viable alternative…


9 thoughts on “Photoshop CC Mathematics”

    • The full CC subscription is only a good deal if you want to use those other programs. I just use Photoshop at this point, so its not a good deal for me. Like I said, I don’t mind the subscription aspect so much, but $20/month for just one app when all 34 is not much more is a bit askew.

    • I wasn’t quite sure how to work that into the math as people would have purchased it at different times. For me, I paid $629 for it in early 2011. In a way I really didn’t get my money’s worth as that was supposed to let me upgrade for 200 every 18 months instead of this new sub model.

  1. $20 a month seems like a cheap tool considering the power of the software and the amount of development effort invested to advance the capabilities to the level of CS6+. Looking beyond the principle of exploiting what has to be regarded as a dominant marketing position, it’s hard to argue that $9 a month will make or break a business. If sufficient uproar ensues, you can be assured that the marketing types who came up with this pricing model will be summoned to the meetings called to discuss the relative importance of market share versus revenue.

    • While I believe they may ultimately rethink their $20/month price point for a single app, this may not affect me for quite some time. I have CS6, and the only reason I was going to upgrade to CS7 was that Adobe required it to stay at the $200 upgrade price. Now that this is gone, I will probably be fine with CS6 for many years. If the time comes when my camera files become incompatible, I can find another raw file processor (perhaps Adobe Lightroom if it has stayed out of this subscription model) and still use CS6 for the work I do with layers. I know some great photographers that still use CS2 for everything.

  2. There are so many other things to consider. Adobe has always had to compete with its previous versions. If their latest version was not a significant upgrade then many people did the “version skip”.

    Now Adobe no longer has to worry about such a thing. People must update always. You have no choice.

    Many photographers work on a cyclical basis. Even if times are tough they could continue working with their older version of the software.

    Can you all imagine what life would be like if Microsoft and Apple decided to make their OS’s on a subscription based model? We’d all run for the hills to Linux.

    • Adobe addressed their competition with previous versions when they made it that you could only get the upgrade price (about $200) from the previous version only (ie. CS5 to CS6 not CS4 to CS6). They have announced they plan on selling PS CS6 “indefinitely” – but who knows how long that will be. I own CS6, so I will not be upgrading from that until I absolutely have to because I either require new features or no longer have RAW support.

      I do wonder if this will create some more competition for Adobe products.


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