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Adobe to Discontinue Boxed Sales of Creative Suite (CS6) Software

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Adobe to Stop Selling Boxed Versions of Creative Suite Software


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49 thoughts on “Adobe to Discontinue Boxed Sales of Creative Suite (CS6) Software”

  1. Thanks for the update and news, you guys always seem to be on top of things. I had a question, will this also affect other Adobe software like Photoshop Elements and Lightroom?

    • Hi Jaffa, thank you for your kind words and good question. As far as we know, nothing will change with other Adobe products like the ones you mention – so we expect boxed versions to continue to be sold for those tools.

      The phaseout of boxes will affect only the Creative Suite line of products (including Acrobat), which are predominantly purchased via direct download already.

    • Hey there Kenny, according to Adobe’s statement on the change, Creative Suite software will still be available from select resellers but only those approved for digital downloads – which basically means not very many…

      In other words, it will no longer be possible to drive down to a bricks-and-mortar store like Best Buy and pick up a box of a Photoshop CS6 – only some authorized online retailers will be able to resell the software and offer it for download as Adobe does… In other words, it’s probably easier just going direct to Adobe as you said.

  2. For the most part I’ve been happy with the direction Adobe is moving in. I really like the Creative Cloud although I have ran into an annoying issue as an owner of both the Windows version of the CS6 Design and Web Premium Suite and as a Creative Cloud subscriber. I replaced the PC on which the CS6 Design and Web Premium Suite was installed (software was deactivated) and have been unable to re-install it on the new computer.

    When I attempt to install the CS6 Design and Web Premium Suite I am prompted to enter my Adobe ID. This creates a problem because that ID is also associated with my Creative Cloud subscription which means that I am unable to activate my licenced version of CS6 software. I presume that the licence server interprets this as another instance of the Creative Cloud. I cannot locate any option for a manual or offline activation and I’ve had to revert to my copy of CS5.5. I am hoping that once CS7 is released that the problem will be resolved.

  3. Seeing this News here makes it more real than elsewhere. Taking into account time and cost of designing and making boxes along with DVDs, it makes sense.

    All Creative Cloud is download only. I have Adobe media as it was always preferable, but once I changed over to CC it doesn’t make any difference. I only hope that such a cost cut will be passed to CC subscribers, which means not only first year would cost $30, but after that it remains the same or might be lowered.

    • Welcome back Adam, and thanks for adding your voice. This will definitely reduce costs for Adobe as you point out, and it will also reduce costs (shipping & handling fees) for users, plus help be greener for the earth – because all of those packaging materials eventually end up in a landfill somewhere.

      As for passing on the savings to customers, no guarantees but we do believe that the pricing for Creative Cloud, which is already affordable for many folks, will likely continue to come down over time as more and more people sign on.

      However, it should be noted that the savings from not producing boxes any longer will be offset to some extent by the brand new costs of providing increasing amounts of online storage and bandwidth to the growing user base of the Creative Cloud – now over 2 million members.

  4. @Steve

    A follow-up on your question Steve – we got in touch with Adobe Support about the issue you were having with trying to install and run the two different types of licenses (perpetual and Creative Cloud) for your CS6 applications on different machines, and they responded there should definitely be a way to do exactly what you want…

    See this support forum thread for more information.

  5. Thank you very much for following up on this. I am trying to recall what led to the Adobe Application Manager being installed on my PC – not sure if it was an update or what but I think that’s where the issue originated after I signed in. At some point I deactivated the perpetual licence in order to install it on my new PC. One thing led to another and I uninstalled the perpetual licence on the new PC and attempted to reinstall on the original PC and that’s when I encountered the issue.

    I don’t mean to belabor the point. After reading Ken’s comment on the support forum, I think the issue lies with my activation / de-activation and the Adobe Application Manager.

    On another note, I would very much like to see Adobe offer an “enhanced” Creative Cloud offering whereby the price of other subscription offerings such as the Technical Communication Suite or the e-Learning Suite (which contains many of the same programs as the Creative Cloud) could be leveraged and / or combined against the existing subscription. For instance the Technical Communications Suite subscription costs $79 / per month yet contains some of the programs that I already have through Creative Cloud (i.e. Bridge, Acrobat, Media Encoder and Illustrator. That means that if I subscribe to both the Creative Cloud and the Technical Communications Suite, I am paying roughly $130 a month.

    Given the fact that the latest updates / patches to the current version of the programs within that suite such as Captivate and Presenter have only been available for subscription or service agreement users (not for users who purchased the ESD or boxed version) an “enhanced” Creative Cloud would be very appealing.

  6. The single-app membership wouldn’t really assist in this case. I leverage virtually all of the Creative Cloud applications as well as all of the Technical Communication Suite. Perhaps another option might be for Adobe to offer a discounted subscription price to the TCS suite for owners of the Creative Cloud subscription (like a “cross-grade”). Just a thought.

    Thanks again though and I must say that the quality of the content on this site and the prompt response to inquiries is very impressive. Keep up the great work! BTW, I just read about the strategic alliance between Adobe and Maxon and am really intrigued to see the results of that!

  7. There will also be customers who will no longer be buying Adobe after this. In light of this news, this is the last version of the Adobe Creative Suite I’m getting. Was going to wait until May to get it, but since this is going to go in effect before then, I’ll have to get within the next week. May go ahead and get the non-student one as the cost is only $20 more than what I had already put aside…

    Glad I decided to check here tonight, would not have known about this until it was too late. So now I’m off to get the money into the bank so I can get me the boxed version before they stop it.

    • Hello Jane, curious on your decision – why is it so important to have a cardboard box? As reported above, you can easily just make a backup disc yourself with any simple 25¢ DVD media…

      As you know from past discussions here, May is the timeframe when we usually expect a new CS release – so customers are sometimes inclined to wait a little while to see what’s coming out, or join the Creative Cloud instead (even short term for a couple months) because all upgrades are free and automatically included there.

      In fact just yesterday, Adobe said we should expect exciting news in early May at the MAX conference, so we’ll see.

  8. When I’m paying over $1,000 for software, it had better come with a boxed DVD set. Otherwise it is a waste of money. Even with a student discount, it would not be worth the price just for a download, or a Cloud.

    When I get a new computer, I shouldn’t have to spend the extra time logging in to the website, looking for the download, waiting for it to finish, installing, activating. I could have had the graphic completed, handed to my client before the download was finished.

    Plus what about those customers with slow computers? They’ll have to spend hours if not days trying to download the software and to put that on a disc, they’ll give up and forget it.

    The Cloud, why would I want to subscribe to something where I have to remember to get online once a month. I have been offline before for 6 months for a computer issue once before. I’d lose my subscription and all that work. Especially if I can’t call to explain the situation to customer service.

    What Adobe is doing is making it harder for customers, rather than easier. They need to take the “what ifs” into consideration. In my opinion, if they really wanted to be “green” send those boxed DVD’s in a keepsake tin rather than a cardboard box, but don’t take away something, some people are actually paying for.

    I don’t make copies because I know that even if that copy works the first time, heat, storage, etc. can cause that copy to not work the second time, whereas the original DVD, seems to not suffer as much damage. I’m talking from experience here. The original CD of a software tends to be much more durable then a copy made on a 25 cent DVD…

    • Jane – as stated in the article, we anticipate that you will have the option to get an Adobe-manufactured backup disc shipped to you after you place an order for Creative Cloud, if you so desire… This disc will work to fully install the software.

      It’s not last year’s CS6 perpetual version, but you’ll still be effectively getting the essential media hardcopy of the latest-and-greatest products “in a tin,” without the box and fancy packaging.

      So this option could be available to you in the future, as well as for folks with slow Internet connections, etc.

      Lastly, the Creative Cloud (which is soaring in popularity) is still subject to misconceptions – you may find this helpful:

      The 10 Most Common Myths About Adobe’s Creative Cloud

  9. Calling customer service will take even longer, especially if that person on the other end can’t understand a word you’re saying, and you can’t understand them. Took me a month to get an activation issue fixed just because of that barrier.

  10. Is it safe to assume that Adobe is also pushing to dissolve permanent licenses sometime in the near future leaving you with only one option, CC?

    • We have not heard that Peter, and we’re pretty close with Adobe. As stated in the article and as confirmed by the company, perpetual CS licenses will continue to be available via download (with the option of backup media).

      Since the majority of CS customers already purchase via direct download, and since the Creative Cloud is digital only, the change reported above will not impact most people.

  11. Hmmm. Well, I’d be all for it if I knew that since Adobe was going to save on producing and shipping, they’d cut their customers a break on their ridiculously high prices, but I’m quite sure that’s just some pipe dream in my head….

  12. @ProDesignTools

    I can’t do online chat. I get kicked off constantly where I work from. It’s pointless. To pay for something every month just to use software doesn’t help those of us who can’t pay a one time fee. They’re still going to charge for that backup CD. It’s still going to be the same price. Whatever they’re planning on announcing, they’re going to wait until after the deadline so people can’t get a boxed copy if they want. I’m getting mine before then so I can have a boxed copy sent to my home intact instead of a broken CD because it’s not securely packaged.

  13. @ Peter

    I have a feeling it may get to that point. They’re just not telling right now, but I think they’ll be heading that way.. Maybe not this year or next, but I see it happening within about 5 years from now.

  14. If you do the math, over a period of a few years of subscription, unless you are a prosperous graphic designer and can afford it, you will part with $1000s which is more than buying the expensive disks. As a newcomer to the Adobe line, or intermittent user, it also doesn’t make sense. How does a beginner migrate to becoming a professional if a subscription is needed that slowly drains a bank account? Money per month is an issue here!

    I have slow Internet speed and definitely need a boxed set. I love the idea of the CC, but it is not practical for me.

    • Hi Georgina, if you’re a beginner then you may be a student (or could easily become one), in which case Adobe offers substantial education discounts on Creative Cloud – currently 40% off the regular price, and during a recent special this was extended even further to 60% off ($19.99 a month).

      In either case it’s less than $1 a day, and all upgrades are included so you’re always up to date with access to a complete collection of the industry-leading creative tools that you can run on up to two computers including both a PC and a Mac.

      If you just want a single tool like the latest Photoshop then anybody (students or otherwise) can get a individual app subscription for $19 a month – compared to the full Photoshop price of $699.

      But those are just some thoughts on our end, and what we’ve seen work out for other customers.

  15. It is now back to $29.99 for a student or teacher version. I am a student and a teacher, and can get the educational versions for $345 as a DVD. I have used Adobe programs for years, and if I were to add up the year’s worth of $30 a month, I would have more than purchased non-educational versions. I use these programs to edit materials my students make, and create new ones for them and in my MFA program. I foresee doing this for at least another ten years, which means about $3,600, which is out of pocket expense for me. If I were to cease being an educator, this goes up to about one year of my teacher’s salary over that time period, assuming I get an equal paying job somewhere else…which I doubt. You sound like a commercial for a product that in my case is not cost effective. Adobe seems to have a monopoly, and I feel very bitter about this change that is eventually going to stop me using these great programs.

    • Georgina, what product is it that you can get legally for $345? That is significantly below the regular prices of Adobe’s education editions… If it’s CS6 Design Standard then it would just include the four tools, but if that’s all you need or would ever use, then why are you upset? Obviously the Cloud includes more – but are also upgrades to consider perhaps, which are not included in your price equation but should be for an apples to apples comparison.

      We also feel that as more and more people sign on to the Creative Cloud and Adobe’s subscription products then the price will continue to fall, as has been hinted by the recent specials for the academic version… No guarantees, but we think the price will be a lot lower in 5 years than it is now, owing to the price elasticity of the demand curve.

  16. It is a secret, but it is legal!
    It duplicates programs I already have, so that is an extra expense. A single program DVD is not available, but is what I need. Why am I upset? Do the math. I would love to learn how to use new programs; I do not wish to stay static, but looking at the long term, CC seems more like a parasite! It is an expensive luxury for people without professional need of it, so educators, your pipeline to future customers, are being frozen out. You say the price will go down, but I have just lost out… Not knowing that change was occurring, the price has gone up by $10 a month, $120 a year, which is for me, something else I have to choose to forego, just because I missed your deadline. Monopolies are not usually kind to underdogs.

    • Well, if your software source is not revealed or publicly available, then you can’t really make a fair comparison… And Adobe is certainly not trying to freeze out students and teachers or make it too costly for them, which is why there is always an educational discount – and you just happened to miss the even-lower pricing they had offered for many weeks.

      Our advice going forward would be to stay tuned to our site – and especially to the Promotions page – where we promise to always bring you news of future Adobe specials.

  17. I still think Adobe is making a huge mistake with getting rid of the boxed sets. Even with the backup discs, your serial number will now probably be sent via email with the links. That is way too easy for someone to gain access to. That is why I don’t do downloads. I want my serial sent with the package, away from my e-mail account and away from any online location.

    Can we request our serial to be sent with the backup discs instead of in our emails if we choose to order a back-up? I’m thinking of waiting for CS7 instead of going with the CS6. I am ready, account is funded. I do hope they do the same they did last time with the free upgrade to CS7 if you buy CS6. I plan on getting the boxed version of CS6 on April 30th, otherwise.

    Maybe Adobe should have waiting to switch from boxed to download only. Like they did with the upgrade tier. They should still ship a boxed version until CS8 or until 2014 instead. There will be some people who won’t know this because they are not signed up for newsletters or such.

    I just had to tell my professor and several students about this last week, they’re already rushing to get the CS6 in the ‘final’ boxed version and were not too happy with not getting advanced notice on this.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Jane. We’ve been covering Adobe for over five years and have never heard a case of a purchased serial number being taken from someone else’s email or online account, so that seems unlikely… And we don’t know for sure if there will be an option to receive your license key in the mail with a backup disc instead of via email; most people usually want it the other way around (e.g., right away, so they can get started).

      Have you seen our new article about a CS7 grace period? Adobe has not made any announcement and we actually don’t think there will be one, but you can effectively create your own grace period by following the tips given in that post.

      In any event, we think the next release will be out shortly – and people are mostly going with the Creative Cloud right now (even if only for a short time on a monthly plan), so they don’t get stuck with outdated/obsolete software within a matter of weeks:

      Adobe CS7? Next Release of Creative Suite to Be Revealed May 6th

  18. It is very likely. I reported one several years ago and it turned out that customer’s e-mail was hacked. I don’t take chances with stuff like that. It’s why I never purchased a downloadable version of any software I have. I either went to a brick and mortar store to buy it or I ordered the boxed versions… They can save money by making their boxes smaller, using recycled material for those boxes.

    Just this month I had someone ordering from a parachute company using my e-mail address. It’s not safe. I really don’t think Adobe thought this through very well. You would think they’d want to stop piracy, instead it seems they’re trying to make it much easier. I have until April 30 to make up my mind. Either way, it seems very unlikely I’ll purchase from them again.

    Obsolete?? I still use CS3 on occasion when CS5 just doesn’t give me the look I want. I’ve also dug out my old Photoshop 6.0, for certain projects.

    • Jane, we haven’t touched any older versions since moving to CS6 a year ago, not a single one… Have you used Photoshop CS6 yet? You won’t want to go back.

      Regarding the boxes, the vast majority already buy via direct download so it won’t affect most customers, and it will save money on shipping, handling, printing, designing, recycling, disposing, and so on.

      In your case, if you’re worried about your email getting hacked and the serial number taken from there, then you could simply delete the license email from Adobe after printing it out to make the paper you prefer.

  19. I think with this, I’m going to be out of a job. My company is not going to pay a monthly fee for my software. I’m showing someone today from the Asia Pacific Photoshop, but with this I think my company will go with something else entirely. Oh great Powerpoint will now be our graphics software. Thanks Adobe for killing my job. I agree no one is going to want to wait forever for Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat and the whole suite to download. People who are joining the Cloud must have $$ to burn, and you wait like every other monthly subscription it will go up and up. I started with cable TV two decades ago and it has gone up to $120 + per month. Wait till they start tacking on additional fees too (transfer fees or some such nonsense).

    Very sad day in my book.

  20. I got my boxed version… and am trying the cloud, don’t know how long I can keep up with the monthly payments, but I guess I’ll soon find out…

    I’ll have to agree with Zoar, companies are going to stop using Adobe at least for probably the first year to see if the prices do come down, but I’ve seen them go up on the upgrades. When I bought CS5, the upgrade was only $899. For CS6, it was up considerably…

    Most people will follow with their experiences, not what Adobe predicts. Those who got into the cloud last year, I doubt are seeing a price decrease… There’s an old expression, Talk is cheap. Show the lower prices and people may change their mind….

    If it were not for school, I might not have succumbed to the Cloud subscription. If I don’t see a price decrease by the time it’s time to renew, I might not renew…

    I never found any option to get a prepaid 1-year cloud subscription or any offer of that sort. But that would probably be more suitable for some if they could pay a year in advance.

  21. Ugh… If I had saw that in time… I would prefer being able to pay in advance like that. Now if the prices go down to say $10 per month… well.. I would hope Adobe would offer an advance option like that themselves.

    I still don’t like the whole “rent” idea. Maybe they’ll offer an option when you’ve made enough payments to purchase the full version, and decide to cancel, they’ll allow you to keep permanently the last updated software that was in the cloud… I think it might make it worth it… A “Layaway” Plan so to speak. That would be too kind for us…

    • Interestingly, while at the MAX Conference last week, we asked Adobe if they might ever offer a 12-month prepaid Creative Cloud card like that themselves, instead of getting it from a reseller. The response was that almost nobody buys them, apparently they’re not at all popular – perhaps because it does require a big outlay up front, and there are no discounts available for owning any previous CS version like there are when you get it direct.

      So from the sounds of things, it’s probably not something you should expect.

  22. But that isn’t entirely accurate. Tons of people would rather pay a year in advance rather than remembering to pay every month, especially if there were discounts involved in whether you choose the year, 2 year or even 5 year model. I have always when available prepaid, even my bills. I had my cable bill once paid up for 18 months and I didn’t have to worry about an emergency popping up that would require I skip a month.

    I don’t think they researched that option at all. There are a lot of people who would take advantage of that offer especially if they offered other options with it. a one month plan, 3 month plan, 6 month plan, 1 and 2 year plans. They could lower the prices on each of these to make it more appeasing to customers.

    I don’t think they really know their customers too well. If we’re buying their suites at $2.,400. $360 per year is a great savings. Had I known about this before I purchased the subscription, I would have taken advantage of it. I might still if I decide to renew after a year.

    • But with CC you don’t have to remember to pay every month – it happens automatically via your credit card.

      We asked around the office here and nobody has ever prepaid their cable bills like you did; most people we know are happier to have a small regular payment plan rather than needing to put up a large sum upfront.

      But if you’re genuinely interested in doing that – in prepaying your Creative Cloud membership – then you might ask or give your feedback to Adobe directly about it.

      [Update: Adobe listened! You can now buy a prepaid CC membership direct.]

  23. Yes actually you still need to remember to make sure the money is in the account. I have a bankcard, not a reg. credit card so I have to make sure the funds are available each month. I did the same with my car and was able to have it paid off 2 years earlier. Even gas and electric allow you to pay in advance if you choose.

  24. I’m hoping someone who has purchased both boxed and downloadable versions of Adobe software can definitively answer this.

    If I buy a BOXED version of the software and register it, would it also appear (and remain indefinitely) as a DOWNLOADABLE version at

    If not, will Adobe continue to offer the CS6 trials at their site indefinitely? If so, where has Adobe confirmed this? If not, what might a recommended resolution be in the case of DVD-ROM damage past the warranty period with no back-up having been made?

    Thanks for any help!


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