At the Adobe MAX conference this week, Adobe announced that they will be discontinuing their Creative Suite products (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) in favor of their subscription-based “Creative Cloud” service. Instead of purchasing the software outright, and upgrading at your leisure, the new system involves paying a monthly subscription fee in order to continue using the software. It costs $50/month for access to the Creative Suite products, or $20/month for a single product (e.g. just Photoshop).
If you’re someone like me, who doesn’t purchase every version, waiting years between upgrades, this is a very unpleasant development. (I just moved from CS1 to CS5 during the past year, and the impetus behind that decision was the lack of support for legacy PowerPC software on newer versions of OS X. I upgraded to a newer MacBook Pro, and had to pick up a newer version of Photoshop to go with it.)
The move shouldn’t make huge difference if you already upgrade annually, as you’re basically paying the $600 upgrade fee perpetually, but it’s not great if you prefer to skip versions or buy secondhand.
Existing users for Creative Suite 3 or higher can get a reduced rate of $30/month for their first year, but will have to pay full price thereafter.