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Important News: Upgrades to CS6 Now Only through Adobe Direct

As you may know, Creative Suite 6 was announced on Monday with a big launch event webcast worldwide…  So we’ve learned about what’s new and different, and now we’re waiting patiently for the actual release date. But there is some official news today that will affect the buying patterns of many customers.

CS6 Upgrades — Now Only on Adobe's Website

Starting with Creative Suite 6, all individual upgrades — both for CS suite editions and point products like Photoshop CS6 and Illustrator CS6 — are available for purchase only through the Adobe website.*

Normally after a new release comes out, you can find the many upgrade packages at other sites or vendors. But effective with CS6 in many major geographies, Adobe will no longer offer upgrades through resellers, retailers, or other third parties* – including Amazon

So now in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, the only place you can buy a CS6 upgrade from any earlier version of Adobe software is directly at Adobe’s online Store. The rest of the world (including Europe) will continue as before.

* Upgrades for volume licensing customers are still available on or through channel partners.

This should be better in some ways because upgrades have always been a confusing part of the process – there are a lot of different combinations and paths from different products, and it was hard for other vendors to present them well and make sure customers bought the right thing, were qualified with the correct prior version, etc. There will also now be zero risk of software piracy for buyers of upgrades going forward.

So now a lot of that experience should be improved, and hopefully we’ll have fewer comments here from bewildered visitors wondering why the Photoshop they bought for $199 from Best Buy doesn’t work on their computers (…because it was an upgrade version and they didn’t own a prior release) – or the one they got from eBay doesn’t work at all and put malware on their system. It also means that customers will always have the choice to download and run their upgrades instantly if they want, or order the box.

Keep in mind too Adobe’s other recent Upgrade Policy change which sets a year-end deadline for folks still on CS3 or CS4 versions to receive discounted upgrade pricing to CS6.

Will this affect you at all? See the price of a CS6 upgrade direct from Adobe, for your product in your region… although until May 6th, you should probably be upgrading to CS5.5 instead because it usually comes out less and you will receive a free further upgrade to CS6 when it ships.

For more information and details on Creative Suite 6 worldwide pricing, upgrades, availability, and system requirements, see our companion CS6 Launch Guide. Or read more about how CS6 is different from previous versions like CS5.5, including a detailed product-by-product breakout of what’s new in every application.

Or get started using Creative Suite 6 right away by downloading the free trial and then taking advantage of 30 hours of free new video tutorials or over 1,000 pages of free downloadable e-books to learn it.

Do you have any questions about CS6? Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!

Keep up with the latest on Adobe software — follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or subscribe to our RSS feed… You can also enter your email and have new articles sent directly to your Inbox. We are reader-supported; when you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


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40 thoughts on “Important News: Upgrades to CS6 Now Only through Adobe Direct”

  1. Thank you for the clarification. I have written in another post, that Adobe got clever about making more out of people’s pocket as each country has different prices, often much higher. (I’ve read post about the reason for doing it). However, even for the English version the price stays the same.

    • Well, there were some price adjustments in every geography for different products and upgrade paths – including in the U.S. and in English, so it’s possible there may have been a rise or drop in the cost of the software you’re looking at. If you’re wondering why the prices are different in each country/currency of the world, here’s an explanation on that from a previous discussion.

  2. How do the US resellers react to this decision? After building a steady CS customer base, the upgrades will be sold only through Adobe directly? This will cost the resellers lots of turnover since Adobe CS is mostly an upgrade market. I don’t understand why US resellers wouldn’t be able to sell their customers the right upgrade because in 2013 the upgrade policy will be much more simpler with their 1-version back policy.

    Isn’t this just a beginning of Adobe laying off their partners and resellers? I wonder when they will introduce this model to Europe.

    • Thanks for your comments Ingrid. You’re right that Adobe’s Upgrade Policy will be changing starting next year… That might make software upgrades simpler to manage, but not eliminate the issue.

      There are other factors too. One is software piracy – the company can be absolutely sure now that piracy will no longer be a major risk for buyers of software upgrades going forward – and that’s very significant.

      Another factor has to do with customer relationships. We know Adobe wants to connect directly with their customers, communicate and build relationships with them. Resellers and retailers, in addition to the extra expense they represent, also put a barrier in the chain inhibiting that.

      So now with this new development, Adobe can cut through that layer and grow contact directly with the customer. And since all upgraders are already Adobe users by definition, the company doesn’t lose very much reach by not using third parties in the equation.

      It all seems to be part of a new trend in IT of selling directly to the customer and cutting out the middleman – because the Internet all by itself provides enormous reach and accessibility around the world.

  3. I like all things Adobe and think a direct buy is great for consumers. I have purchased the last three suites directly from Adobe and was greatly relieved I could download my software after my old computer crashed and burned. No more worrying about discs and serial numbers. It is all in my Adobe account. Can’t wait for the CS6 release. Cheers

    • Welcome Jeanet, thanks for your comment. Yes, there are some nice benefits for access and recoverability, as well as proof of purchase for returns or transfers – and the trend is definitely that more people are doing it, with this latest news only to increase that…

      Hope you enjoy CS6, it won’t be long now until the ship date!

  4. Anyone else waiting for May 25th and a Serial number? How can I update or use anything they offer for CS6 when they have not sent me my SERIAL NUMBER yet and I was told I qualify, oh right if you don’t receive it by May 25th. I’d like my SERIAL NUMBER for CS6 Design Premium that I paid for weeks ago. Anyone else that doesn’t have theirs yet??? This is the worst software purchase I’ve ever made with all of security problems of CS5.5 which I paid for also.

    • Hello again Betty, sorry you haven’t received your free grace period upgrade yet but Adobe is clearly a bit behind on getting all the email voucher codes out to recent CS5.5 customers. What they said was 10 days after the release of CS6, and not later than May 31st.

      But don’t worry, people are still receiving them now – and in the meantime you should be fine to download and install the free CS6 trial for your product, which will work fine for you until your license key arrives. Then you can convert the trial to permanent by just entering that serial number.

  5. I have been using Photoshop since version 5 and the latest version on my computer is CS5. Unfortunately the computer it’s on is not connected to Internet. In the past I used to buy upgrades from Fry and successfully activated by calling Adobe. Now that it is not possible, please let me know how can I upgrade. Thank you

  6. Hello,

    I have CS5 installed on my PC and laptop. Recently upgraded to CS6 on my PC (download from Adobe), I created the backup disks while installing etc. PC just died and I want to install CS6 from the two back-up disks I have. It keeps asking me for a 3rd disk though, I only have two. Any ideas?

  7. I have CS5 Design Premium on my son’s computer. He qualifies for the student version. Can I get an upgrade to CS6 Design Premium at a student rate?

  8. Dear ProDesign

    I am from Australia. We bought a CS5.5 Design Standard upgrade (from CS4 Design Standard on Windows) in April from a local reseller.

    Last week, we filled out a form on the Adobe website to claim a free upgrade by providing the serial number and the receipt.

    Today we have been informed by Adobe that we are not qualified to receive a free upgrade because the CS5.5 Design Standard upgrade that we bought has the American serial number and the receipt we got is an Australian receipt.

    We are absolutely stuck in a no-win situation. We cannot return what we bought to the reseller because we have installed the software not knowing it is has an American serial number and yet we cannot get the free upgrade from Adobe.

    If we buy an Australian CS6 upgrade from CS5.5, do you think that CS6 upgrade will allow us to upgrade from an American CS5.5? The situation is so complicated and stressful because we did not know that we needed to make sure to buy the correct version for the country we live in (the reseller never indicated on their website that they were selling the American version).

    Please advise. Many thanks.

    • Hi Susan, sorry to hear of your troubles. It sounds like a reseller in Australia should not be selling you an American version – so it’s something you really need to take up with them (no matter when you purchased it or even if you installed it)…

      And if they are an Adobe-authorized reseller, then it may also be something to let Adobe know about.

      A CS6 upgrade from a different region may or may not work… Certainly, you can try. But, if you buy the upgrade direct from Adobe, then if it doesn’t work, you at least are covered under their standard 30-day return and refund policy, and could get your money back.

      (In fact, the product you already bought could even be eligible for return direct to Adobe if it was an authorized reseller, though that sounds unlikely from what you’ve said.)

      Hope this helps, and good luck!

  9. Hello Pro Design,

    I bought the full version of CS3 Design Standard (US Version) when living in the US. Later I upgraded to CS4 (also in US). Now I live abroad in Europe and would like to upgrade to CS6. But that seems impossible. A European upgrade might not work according to Adobe’s information and Adobe US only sends upgrades to customers with US credit cards and billing addresses in the US, which I have no more. All US resellers are out of business and I am completely stuck and have no idea what to do for not spending all the money again on an new full version of CS6. Any idea?

    • Yes, no worries Maya. Typically in this case you would do a cross-language swap to change your region, while upgrading your software to the latest version at the same time.

      We confirmed this via live chat with Adobe in your case:

      Adobe: Hello! Welcome to Adobe Customer Service.
      PDT: Hi, we have a reader who owns a U.S. version of CS4 Design Standard. She recently moved to Europe, and now she wants to upgrade to CS6. If she buys a European upgrade to CS6 direct from the Adobe Switzerland store, will it work – will it properly upgrade her CS4 suite from the North American geography? She would probably have to do a language swap, correct?
      Adobe: I understand that your reader want to upgrade her software to CS6, is that correct?
      PDT: Yes – she owns CS4 purchased in the U.S. but now lives in Switzerland.
      Adobe: I will be glad to check and help you with this issue.
      Adobe: That is correct, if she wants she can just call the sales support is Switzerland and purchase a cross-language upgrade to CS6.
      PDT: Right, because overseas it’s actually International English, which is technically a different language edition, right?
      Adobe: Yes, that is correct. In the USA the version is Universal English. In Switzerland she could also buy a French, German, or Italian version instead.
      PDT: Great – can she do that switch online?
      Adobe: I am sorry but she needs to contact sales support via phone.
      PDT: OK, so she would just have to do a cross-language swap at the same time as purchasing the upgrade to CS6.
      PDT: But it wouldn’t cost any extra over just the regular CS6 upgrade in local currency, right?
      Adobe: Please contact sales support and they will be able to provide you the correct information.
      PDT: OK. I’m pretty certain such crossgrades are free though, so long as you are also getting the latest version.
      PDT: Thanks, that’s very helpful
      Adobe: You are welcome.
      Adobe: Is there anything else I can help you with?
      PDT: No, not at the moment. Thanks!
      Adobe: Thank you for contacting Adobe. We are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Goodbye!

      So that should do it for you. Hope this helps and please let us know how it turns out!

  10. CS5 -> CS6 upgrade US store: 749 USD
    CS5 -> CS6 upgrade EU store: 890.52 EUR (just download, not even a DVD is shipped)

    890.52 EUR is 1151.89 USD at today’s exchange rate. Yes, that’s almost double.

    (English version, no local languages involved)

    Highway Robbery!

    • Thanks for your thoughts. One point is you have to compare apples-to-apples: the USA price you quoted is before state & local sales taxes, but the European price you gave is after-tax (VAT). The difference is quite a bit less if you look at the pre-tax cost in both countries.

      Outside of that, you’ll still find differences and Adobe has explained in the past why this is so.

  11. @ Anonymous

    I paid in Japan double for upgrade from CS5.5 to CS6 Web & Design Suite.
    Instead of $300, it cost me $600. If a 3rd party like Amazon US would be allowed to continue selling upgrades I’d pay much cheaper for the box, but this is what Adobe knows people would do and removed upgrades from vendors. However, you can still purchase upgrades on Amazon Japan and every electronic store. Why? Because who wants to buy at double price Japanese version?
    For your information, my suite full version here cost 255,000 yen, which is $3,270(!!) comparing with $1450 on Amazon US.

  12. I wish to upgrade my Photoshop Elements 7 version to the latest (Elements version 11). Since I received the PE7 version as a bundled offer with a Wacom tablet, the local Adobe resellers said that they could not offer an upgrade. I am unable to upgrade online as my country (Sri Lanka) is not included in the worldwide purchasing list on the Adobe website. The region (South Asia) is not included either. Only India is included in the list!

    I am also a registered user of Adobe illustrator CS5 and I would like to purchase two of Adobe’s new apps for tablets. However, Adobe is not helping us to use genuine software by leaving us out of the available countries list. It was with the greatest difficulty that I even managed to find out who the local Adobe agent was when I purchased Illustrator two years ago. Why make things so difficult for people who want to spend their hard-earned money and be law-abiding by buying genuine software? Our country has very strict laws when it comes to using counterfeit software. The penalty is 6 months imprisonment and/or 1/2 million in our local currency. The least Adobe can do is to include Sri Lanka in their countries list or is it that South Asia for Adobe means only India where many of their software developers originate?

    • Those are good questions and we’ll try to help by sharing our experience… Having been partners with Adobe for six years now, we can say that they have been actively expanding their reach throughout the world, and there are many many more countries served now than when we started. Seriously, they are adding new geographies all the time – even some relatively small countries now – so yours may well be coming soon. As you point out, there are huge risks to piracy of Adobe software generally, and especially in your part of the world.

      Our best suggestion would be to copy exactly what you posted to us above and deliver your feedback directly to Adobe themselves… It can only help for them to hear from smart people like yourself who want to be great customers for them – so make your voice heard! Their live online chat service might work best from your location, and you can also ask them where further you should inquire for this topic.

      You might also try contacting Adobe Customer Care via the email address given in this open letter to customers from the VP of Support.

      Customer Service representatives are also very active (and powerful) on Twitter these days so one final option would be to contact them via @Adobe_Care as well.

      Thanks for your input and good luck!

  13. Thanks for providing those links. While waiting for my query to be validated here I was wandering around the Adobe site and finally found a link to their online chat service.

    I was finally given a phone number to call during working hours. So I will give it a try tomorrow. Regarding posting my feedback directly to Adobe, the Adobe rep. promised to pass on my comments to the relevant parties and also provided me with the e-mail address to write direct.

    May I also add that there are many corporate customers who use the licensed version of Adobe products in my country. Unfortunately, the pricing is such that most individuals simply cannot afford to do so. The new Creative Cloud option in my humble opinion could be the most effective way to get these people on board.

    • Yes, you should be able to Jesse – with Adobe Creative Suite products you can have as many different versions installed as you like on your system, and they will all work independently without difficulty.

      In other words, you can keep older and newer releases installed on the same machine running as long as you like, and they should both function fine, no problem. Often the prior releases continue to be helpful as you get up to speed with the latest-and-greatest, and you can still use them if you uninstall the new trial. Some folks (like print shops) keep CS3 plus CS4 plus CS5 plus CS6 all installed on the same computer.

  14. So, where do I go to upgrade from Photoshop CS5 to CS6? The links on this page don’t work, and I can’t find it on your website (which is full of nothing but opportunities to pay $30/mo for a subscription … which I can’t afford).

    • Hi Rikky, Adobe has changed over a lot of their site to CC, but you can still buy CS6 (or upgrade to CS6) if you want…

      However, did you know that if you just want the latest Photoshop then it’s not $50 or even $30 a month – but rather only $20 for a single-app subscription? You don’t have to get the full cloud.

      If you’re upgrading from any prior version (going back to CS3) then Photoshop CS6/CC is actually only $10/month for your first year…

      If nevertheless you still want to buy CS6 the traditional (perpetual) way, then it’s also available for purchase here direct from Adobe.

      (If you’re a student or teacher then the education versions are sold there as well.)

      Hope that fully answers your question – if not then just post back!

  15. Hi-

    I’ve had CS5 Fc/Fl/Ai/ID/Dw as a bundle several years ago with a student discount, I wonder if there any discounts available now to upgrade CS5 to CS6 -I’m not a student anymore-?

    My second question is that I purchased a camera, Canon 6D, and Adobe Camera Raw does not support it, unfortunately I can’t open my images. If I upgrade to CS6, will I be having the same issues? How can I solve this problem? My CS5 version is 12.0.4X32.


  16. Thank you ProDesign…

    Can you please compare these two, CS6 and Photoshop CC in terms of upgrades, price, Camera RAW…etc.

    I think, the Photoshop CC pack comes with Lightroom and plus…do I have to lease it monthly/yearly, can I buy it?


    • Sure Faye. Adobe is continuing to update the Camera Raw for the older Photoshop CS6 with new cameras and lenses, but not new features… Only CC customers get the latest features. You can compare the last three releases of Photoshop here:

      What Are the Differences Between Adobe CC 2014 vs. CC 2013 vs. CS6?

      The cost of CS6 is given in the price sheet here. For CC 2014, you can get the complete Creative Cloud for ~$50/month, or a Single-App Membership for ~$20/month, or the CC Photography Plan which includes the latest Photoshop plus Lightroom (desktop, mobile, and web versions), with Camera Raw plus other tools and services, for ~$10/month on an annual plan. Students and teachers get a significant education discount.

      You cannot buy CC outright or with a perpetual license; it is only available via subscription, with all ongoing upgrades & updates included in the price. That contrasts with the previous model of paying $700-$1000 upfront for a static copy of Photoshop CS6, or thousands of dollars for a suite.

  17. Hi,

    I’m in charge of an IT Asset Software Financial Institution Company in Malaysia. Currently I have a few licenses purchased of Photoshop and Illustrator CS5 previously bought from a reseller.

    May I know what is the procedure to upgrade those licenses to CS6, as we cannot buy direct using a credit card as we have our purchasing process to follow.

    Appreciate your respond via email given.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Brad, you’re right about that. As of the start of October 2015, Adobe finally removed the online sale of CS6 from their website… The reason is because the software is 3½ years old and increasingly unsupported; they stopped releasing updates for it some time ago as the newer CC quickly grew and took over. Sorry about that!

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