Greg Henry: VeryKross, I think you're not calculating this the way many causal Photoshop users are. I've had PS for several versions now, so my yearly outlay to update is $199.00 (it's usually a yearly update by the way, not every two years as you stated).
By switching to the subscription, I'll be paying $240.00 per year instead of $199.00 per year, and I will essentially be "leasing" the software instead of owning it outright. Regardless of a few new features here and there, I'm not sure how this will benefit some folks like myself.
Subscribing saves Adobe money. No more cost to duplicate DVD disks and no more printing costs for the packaging to put those DVDs in, ship them, etc. Customers just download the software. This saves considerable $$$ for Adobe. So maybe it's just my opinion, but if they're saving so much, why are we paying $40+ per year MORE to subscribe? Shouldn't it be the other way around??
Well, at $40/yr "extra" you'd need to be able to say to yourself that the "always up-to-date" software, 20GB of included cloud storage, and other included "cloud-only" features were worth $3/month to you. For some people the answer may be "no" and so they'll feel like they're not getting value for extra fee. Adobe will of course continue to sweeten the deal, adding more cloud-exclusive content to try and get a "yes" out of you.
If that's not enough, there's always Photoshop Elements [which, really, handles 99% of what most serious photographers need, especially when pared with Lightroom] or even PaintShop Pro (cheap, powerful, and compatible with many PS plug-ins).
Lots of options - my main point is that the cost different [for a lot of people] really isn't as huge as all the outcries would lead one to believe. (oh, CS4 released in 2008, CS5 in 2010, and CS6 in 2012 [nobody really counts CS5.1 :) ] )
So, CS6 costs a little over $600 ($699 retail but who pays that) for the Standard edition (you can't get Extended outside of a packaged "suite"). Upgrades from one version to another run $200 and come out about every two years. So, my two-year cost of staying current with CS would be $600+$200=$800.
A Photoshop CC (Cloud) subscription runs you $20/month or $240/yr. Two years of that comes to $480. That's $120 *less* than my original CS purchase and $320 less the two-year purchase scenario above. Ok, let's go out to year 4; my CS outlay (assuming I stay current) is now $1,000 and my CC is at $960.
So, after 4yrs my outlay is pretty close to the same amount AND I've been getting more frequent updates via CC in addition to features otherwise only available to PS Extended users. Yes, by year 6 I am starting to spend more on CC *but* I've also had 6yrs of access to other cloud-only features, enhancements, etc. and there's definitely some value to be had there.
Is that really so bad?
Really, the killer combination remains Lightroom 4 + Photoshop Elements. Use Lightroom as your organizer and [absolutely killer] RAW converter and you can then easily jump from LR to PSE with images that you want to do deeper editing with (layers, etc.). This gets you an amazingly solid workflow, stellar RAW processing, and a powerful advanced editor for a fraction of what the full Photoshop CS costs.
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