With the release of Adobe's Creative Suite 6 due to launch in the next few weeks, a lot of people will be weighing the cost of upgrading.
In my case, my copy of CS3 has become flakey and unstable under Mac OS 10.7 Lion. But do I really use it enough to justify the cost of upgrading my entire suite? I use Photoshop and After Effects pretty often, Encore occasionally, Flash and Illustrator somewhat rarely, and Premiere and Soundbooth not at all. For me to upgrade would cost over $900. To buy the Production Premium bundle (the motion picture/video oriented bundle of Creative Suite) outright will cost $1900.
Or I could subscribe to Adobe's new Creative Cloud service for $50 per month ($600 per year) when I need to use some Adobe products. Any of their Creative Suite products. All of their Creative Suite products. As in the $2500 bundle. For $50 a month.
I don't know how this makes sense to any of bean counters at Adobe, but it makes great sense to an independent film maker or small production or post shop like me. It literally costs less money to rent the entire Creative Suite for two years than it would for me buy it new. And they will probably release CS7 in two years! Here's the buying options for CS6 and the Creative Cloud.
Need to do some titles and greenscreens this week? $50 and I get a month's worth of AE (and all the rest of the suite!).
Need to cut a couple of industrials or a short this month? $50 for a month's worth of Premiere, AE and Speedgrade (and all the rest of the suite!).
Need to fix up my website? $50 for a month's worth of Dream Weaver and Flash (and all the rest of the suite!).
And If I can squeeze a couple of projects together into the same 30 day period? I don't have to pay any additional for the Adobe software for the extra project!
And if I don't have any projects on my calendar that would require me to use my own license for an Adobe product? I don't need to pay for it!
Maybe it's some sort of an insidious plan for Adobe to get us to use their software for more projects? Well, it kind of looks like the Creative Cloud subscribers still win...