Adobe is making a major move into the cloud. The company has just announced the next version of its flagship digital editing tools, Creative Suite, and for the first time the new products will only be available through the company's online subscription service. Adobe previously offered standalone editions of each product, which users could choose to keep or upgrade as new editions were released, but now the only way to receive major feature updates to the product series will be to remain subscribed to the $49.99 per month service.
I've been a Creative Cloud user for almost precisely one year and I couldn't be happier.
In fact, just ahead of the service's release last year, I wrote the following:
In building an accessible and affordable backbone for Adobe services, the likes of Photoshop and Illustrator are no longer relegated to the confines of the elite, but rendered open, seamless, and even affable to the average consumer. Although I have long been willing to pay for the full Creative Suite offering, I eagerly await the arrival of Creative Cloud this Friday. If the backbone works effectively, I imagine Adobe will find itself winning over a great many people in the coming months.
Creative Cloud has clearly succeeded in having an impactful introduction into the creative world and is doing plenty to democratize and distribute the tools necessary to create the best work.
Many have been apprehensive over the pricing of Creative Cloud and what impact this might have on Adobe's long-term dedication to its software and innovation. Although I can certainly recognize and appreciate the concern, I tend to think it overlooks much of the value of the service for an enormous volume of users.
Simply put, although it removes a large cash influx each year from a minority of dedicated customers, Creative Cloud ensures an ongoing revenue stream, whilst also increasing the potential customer base.
I suspect Creative Cloud appeals to a much larger demographic than a full $1,000+ Creative Suite package. Accordingly, I'd argue that Adobe has opened the door to much higher revenues, whilst also reducing the viability and attractiveness of pirated copies.
In other words, Creative Cloud renders Adobe software a mainstream and accessible suite of tools for those interested in all manner of creative endeavors. And, with this pricing scheme, the usage of Adobe's software becomes incentivized and attractive for a huge number of users. Adobe will no longer have to sustain multiple versions of its software, but instead focus upon iterating and improving upon its core products at all times.
If you ask me, this is an unprecedented opportunity for innovation, particularly as Adobe now must worry itself over actively losing subscription income. Customers are no longer distant, veiled entities, but engaged, active, and important elements of Adobe's success.
In my eyes, this makes Creative Cloud one of the most useful and reliable services to which I subscribe. And I fully intend to continue my subscription for the coming year. I suspect it'll only continue to impress.