Are we getting our money’s worth?

For creative professionals like myself, the shift to subscription based software was a contentious and difficult process. I, like many, feared that once the Adobe software cycle was based on monthly subscriptions, the regularity and quality of new releases would begin to suffer.

Until recently, this would appear to have been unfounded, especially with the smart move by Adobe to release their entire software portfolio to creative cloud subscribers. For example, even if a release year was a tad lean, you could always download a new package and experiment with that. For example, I downloaded Audition CC and After Effects CC, software that I was not at all familiar with and I have taught myself the basics.

By allowing design professionals to access this plethora of software types across multiple fields, Adobe has opened up new channels for many cross-discipline designers such as myself.

However, the most recent CC 2018 has somewhat tarnished the sheen of Adobe’s star. The core software packages (Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign & Premiere) were woefully underdeveloped and really bought very little to the table at all. The release notes featured barely a few bullet points – quite frankly, it was a little embarrassing.

Alongside the limited new features, many of the releases were also plagued with buggy performance and crashes, simple functionality seemingly replaced with unwieldy add-ons in pursuit of even deeper Creative Cloud integration.

The net result is that I suddenly remembered that the subscription model had this spectre haunting it from day one, and despite a very strong start, the fear now exists that this will become the new pattern for software releases. Whereas I would easily have skipped an annual upgrade on the older license path and looked again in 2019, now I am compelled to upgrade and be underwhelmed.

Are Adobe failing their creative professional user base? Is it time for designers to start grumbling or reach for our pitchforks? Perhaps not yet, but unless Adobe focuses more on adding meaningful content on a more regular basis  they could still find themselves in hot water.