In recent news, adobe has sent a warning/notice for current subscribers of their software to urge them to update to the latest version of their Adobe CC suite software. In light of this, a flash developer, Matt Roszak, had posted a screenshot of the notice via Twitter which you can see below:
He has also conveniently highlighted in the screenshot that it is actually illegal for users to not upgrade to their latest version under Adobe’s terms and conditions which seems absurd to me. It seems to me that this particular guy has, up till this point, still been paying the required amount for however much his particular package costs (Adobe releases their suite programs in a package deal, depending on the kind of software you need) yet is unable to use the software as he sees fit.
Many people within the twitter discussion also seem to resonate with his thoughts about the subject.
Adobe CC, first released in 2011, is a continuation of their Adobe CS6 suite of products based on a subscription service (aka Software as a Service, SaaS). The initial release also garnered a lot of ire from the creative community when it was announced.
In light of relatively recent events that also see prices increasing for their existing customers, I would not be surprised that many other people would be looking for alternative software for their creative needs.
It seems like we are currently looking at a swing towards many subscription-based models due to the fact that many software may integrate their own cloud services from the major cloud providers (Microsoft, Google, Amazon) that do also cost a monthly or pay-as-you-use fee for companies opting to run it.
So yet again we see the costs being passed down to the consumer as businesses seem to think that taking a monthly fee for relatively little benefit to the user is an acceptable move for software going forward.
It’s only understandable for certain types of software
I could understand certain software being a monthly payment, like MMOs. But at least in that example, they are able to justify the reason or the need for a subscription. Disregarding setup or development costs, it does cost a monthly amount for electricity and maintenance of the hardware and is impossible to avoid.
Game developers need to at least recoup this amount from their products when offering an online component which is perfectly understandable. I wouldn’t be shocked if playing the game online for a year could already cost the amount in electricity/maintenance comparative to the price of a full-priced retail game. Here we can point to dead multiplayer servers of many, many games where online features are not the main component of the game getting shut down simply because its not feasible to run it for long periods of time without it being subscription-based.
But this is not that time
But right now, for Adobe CC, they have never been able to include any additional “must-use” features in their product line-up to warrant such an expense to the consumer.
They have simply used their position as current market leader to introduce anti-consumer tactics that will doom them in the long run.
Compatibility & features
Sometimes its simply not feasible to upgrade due to either the increased requirements to run the software or certain user-essential features/functions are deleted or replaced by something else as deemed obsolete by the developer.
If for example Adobe removed the Liquify tool from Photoshop and replaced it with an objectively worse counterpart, everyone would be forced to use that version of the application even though it may not suit the needs of the user.
Another thing to note is that compatibility issues can creep from seemingly nowhere in these types of situations. If an update suddenly crashes my app every single time I try to open it, I need to have a way to revert the update so that I can at least use it again. What is the point of limiting this option to people who are already paying to use your service? It’s stupid.
Having these mandatory upgrades simply limits user freedom and access to the platform that they paid for which is a sure-fire way to lose customers in the long run. There is simply no reason to take away this benefit from the user least you want them to be looking elsewhere for products with a better ecosystem.