Skip directly to content

Adobe Creative Suite 6 Upgrade - What to do?

on April 27, 2012

Hello, PhotoshopIsland friends and fans.  As you may or may not know, Adobe has announced the release of Adobe Creative Suite 6 - that includes upgrades of all of their main programs like Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash etc. The entire Creative Suite actually encompasses a lot more than just those programs but you get the idea. Let me say up front that I currently own the Adobe Creative Suite  5 Master Collection (not 5.5 - see it’s already getting confusing) so that’s my perspective. Additionally, prices and info are for Adobe's U.S.

I wanted to take this opportunity to make sure that you are aware of Adobe's pricing for the Adobe Creative Suite 6 (CS 6). The new pricing is interesting. There are some limited time options to get the best pricing, so let's jump in look at the options. 
Until May 6th, 2012, you can purchase a new or upgrade (if you qualify) version CS 5.5 Design, Web or Master Collection and you will receive the CS Creative Suite 6 upgrade for free.  
Also, Adobe is now offering a subscription option that they call Creative Cloud. The Creative Cloud subscription option has some different pricing options as well. One important fact about the subscription is that it includes the full Creative Suite Master Collection - so you have access to every Creative Suite product Adobe makes. The basic pricing paid annually (up front) is $49.99 a month or about $600 a year. If you are already a CS owner you can get a special discount the first year of $29.99 a month paid annually (up front) or about $360. After the first year the price goes up to $49.99 a month. Or you can subscribe to the Creative Cloud by the month (no advanced payment) and pay $74.99 monthly or about $900 a year.
Keep in mind that the Creative Cloud is a subscription, not a one-time price for a  particular version of the Creative Suite. So if you stop paying for the subscription your software stops working (I confirmed that with Adobe). If you run these numbers and you start looking at it, you can see that you basically are going to end up paying the same price for an upgrade or the subscription.  The interesting thing about this is that Adobe has publicly said many times that their product development cycle is 18 months to 2 years.  Most likely there will not be an upgrade during your annual subscription unless you figure out how to time it. And even if you think you know the upgrade cycle, Adobe can change it anytime they want. If it were a two year cycle, you could pay for two years' worth of Creative Cloud and only get one upgrade, so you would pay $1,200.00 over that 2 year time period.  
I don't quite understand why Adobe has not made one of the options more appealing, but it appears that if you purchase the Creative Suite, it's a little bit better deal unless Adobe plans on updating their software and charging for updates on a less than annual basis. That's certainly a possibility but not anything I'm aware of that Adobe has stated publicly.
I’m interested in upgrading to CS 6. I’ve been using the Photoshop CS6 beta since it was release and it’s a must have for me. I’ve decided that the best deal for me is purchasing the Creative Suite 5.5 Design Premium upgrade and getting the Creative Suite 6 Design & Web Premium for free when it’s released on May 6th.
My suggestion is to run the numbers yourself and decide what works best for you.