“Starting with Photoshop CS6, which is anticipated to ship in 2012, Adobe will be enforcing a new upgrade policy. The existing practice is to allow customers to purchase the newest version at the upgrade price if they own an existing version up to three major releases back.
To upgrade to Photoshop CS6 or any other Creative Suite 6 application at the upgrade price, however, you will need to own a license to the previous major release (in this case, CS5, CS5.1 and CS5.5 are all considered to be the same version). Earlier major version releases will not be eligible for upgrade pricing.” – Source
That’s right, when Photoshop 6 releases in 2012, if you have a copy of Photoshop that is prior to CS5, you will NOT be able to upgrade anymore without buying a brand new copy.
For those unaware, previously you were able to either buy a new copy for new Photoshop users, or you could simply upgrade to the current version if you had a copy of Photoshop 3 versions back or less at a discounted rate.
So what does this mean? Simple, if you do not have CS5, you will not find an option to simply upgrade at a discounted rate!
This is a big announcement that seems to have gone somewhat under the radar.
Most of us may or may not be affected. If you’re the type of user who upgrades with every version, this is nothing new to you. However, there are quite a few people that upgrade only after every 2 to 3 versions. The reason is that most major changes occur within that time frame, which is why the ‘upgrade’ price option was beautifully done. Now without that, this is going to be a gamble.
My bet is that this is not a smart move. Why? Won’t people simple just buy the new version instead, increasing the revenue stream to Adobe?
This is simply not true and I will tell you why.
Recently, as you probably know, Netflix came out with a genius (not really) idea that they were going to tier their pricing structure. Previously, they had a flat rate of $9.99 (USD) for their service, which includes being able to receive DVDs by mail and the ability to stream movies online. They decided to change their pricing structure where you can either pay for one or the other at a rate of $7.99 for each of them separately; or you had the option to take both options (source)
With the economy already hurting, Netflix had a backlash in sales, losing 800,000 customers in their first quarter (source).
I can’t help feel the same for what Adobe is going to do with their pricing option change. It’s not to say they will suffer the same financial loss as Netflix, but in this economy I am unsure of the impact.
However, it’s said that up to 60% of the people using Photoshop have obtained it illegally (source). So it may be that the people who buy Photoshop will still be buying it regardless , no one knows.
Avoiding the Upgrade
If you’re a Photoshop user, and you’re starting to contemplate upgrading, then there are some solutions to opt out.
Logically thinking, since Photoshop has major upgrades every 2 to 3 versions (7.0, CS2, CS5), you may not have to upgrade for a while to get some absolutely necessary tools. However, it’s not that simple.
If you currently own Photoshop CS2, and you’re using a new or recent camera, Photoshop CS2 will not support the RAW files that come from that camera. Even if you update camera RAW, it will not support your RAW files if you use CS2 which causes you to also upgrade to the latest version of Photoshop.
However, you can opt out of doing that by converting your files to the DNG format and it will open in any version of Photoshop (CS2 or higher if I recall correctly).
To make things more complicated, from what we’ve been seeing from Adobe at their recent Adobe Max seminar, each version may be a major updgrade! So you will probably want to start upgrading regularly anyway.