Lots of people are complaining (Adobe announces updates for cloud members only! | HD Warrior) but if you read Adobe's press releases, or attended any of their presentations when they announced CS6, you couldn't have missed that Adobe explicitly signaled their intention to do this.
Of course, they didn't phrase it as "we are going to release new features only to subscribers." Instead, they explained that having people subscribe would enable them to offer new features much faster.....[it's an accounting thing, or something...-Ed]
For Adobe it's a win-win situation:
- Subscribers get frequent updates, which encourages customers to switch to the subscription model.
- The subscription model makes it harder to illegally copy software
- Adobe gets a more consistent revenue stream.
- It ties their customers closer to them. Customers who previously bought every second or third update who convert to a subscription model will now be paying every year.
- If a customer wants to switch to another platform, they are still tied to Adobe; they won't be able to open their older projects if they suspend their subscription. So if you switched to Avid, you'd still want to keep subscribing to Premiere for some time to come.
A subscription also means that customers are less likely to flee when the price increases. Sure, they will complain, but they can't just sit on their hands and not buy the next release if they think the price is too high. They'll have to keep paying that monthly subscription or they won't be able to launch their copy of Photoshop or Premiere.