Adobe Clarifies Upgrade Policy for CS6

This is a cross post from my personal blog as well –

Recently, there was a lot of online static about Adobe changing its upgrade pricing. There were some conversations, overheard statements, and misinterpretations on what they were going to do. Many thought the only option to upgrade for CS6 was going to be a CS5 customer. I started digging into this a while back and have had a few conversations with folks to get clarification.

I am glad to tell you that Adobe has made an official announcement today about what user’s can expect. I have put Adobe’s statement in bold and added my commentary in italics.

We’re very excited about the upcoming release of Adobe® Creative Suite® 6 software and Adobe Creative Cloud™. CS6 will be a major new release of our creative desktop tools, with huge improvements for every type of creative professional. 

  • I’m excited. More than anything in the past 7 years.
  • You will be too.

Pasted Graphic

Adobe Creative Cloud will be our most comprehensive creative solution ever, giving members access to all of the CS6 desktop software plus additional services, new tools, Adobe Touch Apps, and rich community features. 

I am not clear on all that is in the bundle… but what I hear sounds good. A subscription based plan that looks to be about $50 a month. With access to apps as well as many online services for publishing and collaboration. Here are more details –

In addition, Creative Cloud members will receive continuous upgrades and updates to all products and services as part of their membership.

This is the biggest news. The next thing I am going to say is a little complex, but the Sarbanes-Oxley Act prevent publicly traded companies from doing free software updates after a certain period of time. It’s a convoluted law that grew out of the Enron scandal that places limits on how companies can sell products and realize revenue if they are publicly traded. This is why Apple has to charge you 99¢ for FaceTime because you licensed the OS once, but can push out free updates for the iPhone because it has monthly services fees. See these articles for more details –

What’s really cool is that apps could see more frequent updates. So support for new file formats could come out as needed. Adobe could be more nimble and release new features officially (instead of trickling out public beta versions through Adobe Labs). This could really increase the pace of innovation and has a lot of potential.

Adobe’s new Creative Suite upgrade policy, which goes into effect in the first half of 2012 when Adobe Creative Cloud™ and Creative Suite 6 are released, will require customers to be on the most current version of Creative Suite in order to qualify for upgrade pricing when new versions are released. This means that customers need to be on CS5 or CS5.5 in order to receive upgrade pricing when CS6 is released. 
This is why everyone freaked out… take a breath and keep reading.

With these great new releases coming in the first half of 2012, we want to make sure our customers have plenty of time to determine which offering is best for them.


Therefore, we’re pleased to announce that we will offer special introductory upgrade pricing on Creative Suite 6 to customers who own CS3 or CS4. This offer will be available from the time CS6 is released until December 31, 2012. More details on this offer, as well as any introductory offers for existing customers to move to Creative Cloud membership, will be announced when CS6 and Creative Cloud are released later this year.

In other words, read between the lines.

  • Just like recent releases, you can only upgrade from 3 versions back. They are going to continue this policy for a short while longer.
  • Buy the upgrade to CS6 when its released if you want to own the software. Expect upgrade pricing to be similar to past pricing.
  • If you have CS5, CS4, or CS3, upgrade to CS6. You will not be able to upgrade after December 31, 2012, unless you are a CS5 customer (or CS5.5).
  • When CS7 rolls around (I AM NOT STARTING A RUMOR HERE) it sounds like you will need to be a CS6 customer in order to upgrade.

Read the details about our Creative Suite upgrade policy –
Learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud –

The lesson here is:

  • Keep calm and carry on.
  • You will be able to upgrade to CS6 if you own CS3, CS4, CS5, or CS5.5.
  • Sounds like CS6 is around the corner.
  • You can already subscribe to the Creative Suite bundles here – for between $65 and $130 a month… so the new $50 a month pricing is going to be even sweeter.

Hope this clears things up.


About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus as well as an author on Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.

Posted on January 11, 2012, in Gear. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. What about the customers who didnt have previouse versions or they want to upgrade from let’s say production premium to master collection?

  2. There will still be purchase for new apps.

    There will still be crossgrades

    Pricing will be announced when the apps are announced.

    All that’s news here, is that if you are a CS3 or CS4 customer, you will need to upgrade between app release and 12/31/12

  3. Any idea when the “future release” will include Lightroom?

  4. So am I understand This right? If you own CS5 and want to upgrade to CS6 we dont have to pay the 50 monthly fee unless we want the suite also?

  5. No robin, you misunderstand.

    Until 12/31/12 any CS3, CS4, or CS5 customer can buy an upgrade to any app or suite like before.

    After that, cs5 only to got to cs6

    The Creative Cloud service is n OPTION. Not a requirement. Click the FAQ link for more.

  6. The Creative Cloud is an option. It’s $50 a month. Each CS Suite lasts 2 years approximately. So assume that “renting” costs you $1200 for two years use.

    Over the course of ten years, that’s $6,000 per machine.

    If you buy Master Collection, it’s 2600 new, then $949 every two years to upgrade (assuming prices don’t change). For a 10 year cost of $6396.

    Of course if you already own Master Collection, 10 years of upgrades will cost you $4,745.

    The cloud does have other benefits though, such as fonts, app publishing, online collaboration, etc.

    With that said, point products will still be sold. Upgrades will still be sold. New products will still be sold. The Creative Cloud is a choice.

  7. I still believe the subscription fee will be a major problem for many end users – financially speaking.

    Do you think, as I do, that the monthly fee “Creative Cloud” will eventually become the only option?

  8. Great (very sarcastic). Due to all the misinformation in the Fall I upgraded to CS5.5 from CS3. Admittedly I got the decent pricing, but I didn’t upgrade because I wanted or needed to for my workflow, I did it because Adobe were pretty clear at the time I would need to for future upgrade pricing. That was $1K out of my pocket for no other reason than Adobe wanted it. I’ve used Adobe products for years (well before CS), but if they had a competitor, man would I jump ship…..