Users of Adobe Photoshop will be forced to pay a subscription for access to new versions of the popular image editing software.
From June, photographers will only be granted access to Photoshop by paying a subscription for Adobe Creative Cloud, a membership-based service that allows users to download applications over the internet.
Adobe Creative Suite 6 will be the last version available to buy as a standalone product.
The move – which is likely to provoke an angry response from many – spells the end for photographers who were happy to continue with their original Creative Suite software and pick and choose future updates.
The Creative Suite 6 software will reportedly only be updated by Adobe to address any future bugs.
Yearly membership of Creative Cloud, for the complete Creative Suite package, costs around £47 per month.
It will cost around £18 a month to access a single application, such as Photoshop.
Business ‘teams’ will be asked to pay a monthly fee of around £65.
Among the first to voice concern was Amateur Photographer (AP) forum member ‘AndyTake2′, who wrote on the AP website earlier: ‘Adobe is killing off their software range in retail form. Instead, you will have to sign up to their Creative Cloud system, which is a monthly subscription.
‘No more buying Photoshop and using it for several years, just because you don’t need the latest widgets and gizmos – you either agree to 12-monthly licences or month-to-month licensing which is going to cost.’
However, AP reader Barney Allen was more phlegmatic. He wrote on Facebook: ‘Given the value I get from Creative Suite apps I think it represents good value, especially when you take into account the cost of upgrades and it being tax deductable.’
Adobe claims that the move will ‘put innovation in our members’ hands at a much faster pace’.
In a statement, released yesterday, Adobe said: ‘While Adobe Creative Suite 6 products will continue to be supported and available for purchase, the company has no plans for future releases of Creative Suite or other CS products.’
‘Focusing future development on Creative Cloud will not only accelerate the rate at which Adobe can innovate, but also broaden the type of innovation the company can offer the creative community.’
Adobe says that Lightroom 5 will continue to be available to buy as a standalone product, and that more than 500,000 have signed up as paid members of Creative Cloud since it was launch in April 2012.
Adobe’s UK office had yet to respond to a request for comment at the time of writing.