Pixelmator Photo switches to subscription for new users

Posted:
in iOS edited August 18
The iPhone and iPad image editor Pixelmator Photo is changing to a subscription app for new users, with an optional lifetime purchase.

The forthcoming Pixelmator Photo for Mac
The forthcoming Pixelmator Photo for Mac


The company's popular and powerful Mac image editor Pixelmator Pro is continuing as a single-purchase app, but its iOS and iPadOS companion Pixelmator Photo is becoming a subscription app. Current users continue as they are, with no requirement to subscribe, and a one-time purchase option will still be available.

Pixelmator Photo previously cost $7.99, but in a price change that went live just before 7:00 AM ET on the App Store it is now $4.99 per month, or $23.99 per year. There is also a new lifetime purchase option that costs $54.99.

"[This] is the best way forward for Pixelmator Photo," says the company in a detailed blog post explaining the change, "and will make it the best photo editor it can be."

That blog post also included the announcement that a Mac version of Pixelmator Photo is coming. Initially, subscribers to the iOS/iPadOS edition will also get access to the Mac one for the same monthly fee, however that price "will go up when the Mac version is out."

The company has not specified what the price will ultimately be for access to the app across Mac, iPhone and iPad. It does say that "those who subscribe to Pixelmator Photo now will get Pixelmator Photo for Mac for free, which is a pretty sweet deal."

Pixelmator does specify many reasons why subscription is better for both users and for the company. They include how it allows for continuous improvement, rolling out updates as they are available.

"[Otherwise,] you need to purposely withhold the biggest new features from existing users and save them for major updates or new paid versions," says the company. "This slows down development because large updates are harder to develop, test, and ship - releasing one major update with three big new features takes longer than releasing three updates with one major new feature each."

Since the one-time purchase model means a developer's continuing income comes solely from new buyers, Pixelmator says that necessitates a change of focus that disadvantages long-term users.

"With a paid upfront model, you're chasing new users with major updates over making things better for existing ones until, eventually, you need to release a paid upgrade, then the cycle restarts," says the company. "This means new users are more important than existing ones and flashy new features become more important than improvements to existing features."

"It's a little sad because there are certainly apps that we personally would use only occasionally which went down the subscription route that we don't subscribe to," continues the company. "So we know the feeling well."

"But the hope is that there are enough users who use the app regularly and feel that the annual or monthly fee is worth it," says Pixelmator. "It looks like this is the best way to ensure Pixelmator Photo can continue to be developed long into the future, keep growing, and become the best app it can be."

The new subscription pricing applies now. Pixelmator Photo for Mac is expected "late this year or early next year."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 1,077member
    Crickets. Tumbleweed. 

    Where are all the people who held Pixelmator up as David versus Adobe’s Goliath, fighting the good fight on the side of consumer rights?

    Maybe, just maybe, there is a reason actively developed software is sold on subscription? Anyone who sells actively developed sophisticated software for under $10 a pop is either a: selling your personal info or otherwise doing creepy stuff or b: building a market for a product at a loss prior to switching to a profitable, subscription model. 
    lkruppanoyllamuthuk_vanalingamFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 2 of 23
    polymnia said: Where are all the people who held Pixelmator up as David versus Adobe’s Goliath, fighting the good fight on the side of consumer rights?
    LOL...prior to subscriptions Adobe would sell the 'update' version of something like Illustrator for multiple hundreds of dollars and the 'full' version for at least twice what the 'update' would cost. Per the article, Pixelmator Photo is now $55 for the 'lifetime' version. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 23
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,798member
    I don't subscribe to software.   If the SW is something I have a need for I'll purchase it.  But my usage pattern is erratic enough that subscription doesn't work for me.  I'm not a pro using it daily.  I'm that sort of market it might make sense.  
    StrangeDaysbaconstangappleinsideruserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 23
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,916member
    Just waiting for the announcement from Affinity..
    RudeBoyRudywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 23
    polymnia said:
    Crickets. Tumbleweed. 

    Where are all the people who held Pixelmator up as David versus Adobe’s Goliath, fighting the good fight on the side of consumer rights?

    Maybe, just maybe, there is a reason actively developed software is sold on subscription? Anyone who sells actively developed sophisticated software for under $10 a pop is either a: selling your personal info or otherwise doing creepy stuff or b: building a market for a product at a loss prior to switching to a profitable, subscription model. 
    Isn't Pixelmator Pro the competitor to Photoshop? This is about Photo not Pro. Pro doesn't appear to be moving to the subscription model. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 23
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,337member
    chadbag said:
    I don't subscribe to software.   If the SW is something I have a need for I'll purchase it.  But my usage pattern is erratic enough that subscription doesn't work for me.  I'm not a pro using it daily.  I'm that sort of market it might make sense.  
    If you had to put up with Autodesk, AutoCad, Revit, and Navis on subscription you might feel differently, terrible experience but they are the only game in town so they get away with it. 

    Autodesk like Adobe is on cruise control thru subscriptions, Pixelmator won’t be any better.
    edited August 18 magman1979
  • Reply 7 of 23
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,252member
    Unless users are entitled to continual to use their last-paid version indefinitely (barring OS breakage), then renting software is definitely not better for consumers. 

    I believe Panic does it that way -- subscribe for the latest updates, but keep what you have if it works for you.
    FileMakerFellermuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 23
    chadbag said:
    I don't subscribe to software.   If the SW is something I have a need for I'll purchase it.  But my usage pattern is erratic enough that subscription doesn't work for me.  I'm not a pro using it daily.  I'm that sort of market it might make sense.  
    You cannot purchase software, you purchase a license to use it under the terms of the license agreement.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 23
    Doesn’t explain why it costs more in just 2 months ($9.98) than the previous purchase price ($7.99). Sounds like a huge price rise however you look at it!
    magman1979FileMakerFellermuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 23
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,264member
    Deleted app in under 30 seconds after reading this!
    mac_dog
  • Reply 11 of 23
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 444member
    A fixed price for useful software does not make sense and is not sustainable. Some iOS version updates require that apps be updated and you can’t do this for free after receiving a $7 for a lifetime license. Also the store does not allow for multiple versions of the same product. 

    $54 for a lifetime license of software that you need or use regularly is a steal. The younger crowd does not remember the days of paying $400 for a single program and the getting hit with a $200 update fee. Of course prior to iOS free updates did not happen. What you bought was what you were stuck with. 
    foregoneconclusionwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 23
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,947member
    danox said:
    chadbag said:
    I don't subscribe to software.   If the SW is something I have a need for I'll purchase it.  But my usage pattern is erratic enough that subscription doesn't work for me.  I'm not a pro using it daily.  I'm that sort of market it might make sense.  
    If you had to put up with Autodesk, AutoCad, Revit, and Navis on subscription you might feel differently, terrible experience but they are the only game in town so they get away with it. 

    Autodesk like Adobe is on cruise control thru subscriptions, Pixelmator won’t be any better.
    Which town?
    Many competitors to Autodesk BIM suite or not many but well a handful. 

    Always thought it would be fun to create a common workspace so staff could move between jobs and systems and muscle memory would get them going working with basic common functions.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,798member
    chadbag said:
    I don't subscribe to software.   If the SW is something I have a need for I'll purchase it.  But my usage pattern is erratic enough that subscription doesn't work for me.  I'm not a pro using it daily.  I'm that sort of market it might make sense.  
    You cannot purchase software, you purchase a license to use it under the terms of the license agreement.
    And that fine distinction matters for this story, how?
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 23
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,018member
    cornchip said:
    Just waiting for the announcement from Affinity..
    Then I’m fucked. 
    danoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 23
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,018member
    jimh2 said:
    A fixed price for useful software does not make sense and is not sustainable. Some iOS version updates require that apps be updated and you can’t do this for free after receiving a $7 for a lifetime license. Also the store does not allow for multiple versions of the same product. 

    $54 for a lifetime license of software that you need or use regularly is a steal. The younger crowd does not remember the days of paying $400 for a single program and the getting hit with a $200 update fee. Of course prior to iOS free updates did not happen. What you bought was what you were stuck with. 
    Wtf did they do prior to subscription model? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 23
    Deleted app in under 30 seconds after reading this!
    LOLOLOL meh. no cares about you fighting the good fight. good luck! 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 23
    mac_dog said:
    cornchip said:
    Just waiting for the announcement from Affinity..
    Then I’m fucked. 

    no you're not. stop trolling
  • Reply 18 of 23
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 948member
    Deleted app in under 30 seconds after reading this!
    I do not care for app subscriptions myself but deleting the app simply because a new app (Pro vs. Photo) is moving towards a subscription model, from an independent development house, is just absurd. So what, you do not want them to succeed? I could see why you would delete the app if Adobe were to buy the company out, but this did not happen.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 23
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,337member
    mac_dog said:
    cornchip said:
    Just waiting for the announcement from Affinity..
    Then I’m fucked. 
    Affinity is making a effort towards getting to a higher level, Pixelmator is very good, but they are making a mistake going down the subscription road that Adobe is on, there are only so many monthly payments, that can be tolerated and if given a choice people may not choose Pixelmator. However, I do recognize that Pixelmator Team Ltd. is one of few eastern Baltic software companies that I know of, established in 2007 and they are good at what they do.

    How many people out there have cut back on subscriptions/monthly payments? In the video TV realm I have Netflix, Apple, PBS, and BritBox there will be no more beyond that four, and Netflix, and Apple, are on the bubble if the Koreans or the Nordic countries offer a standalone channel, in software that I personally own there is none.

    Going subscription is playing right into Adobe’s hands. If a smaller talented low overhead company can’t offer a set-fixed price in software they are done. This also where I hated Apple offering Pages, Keynote, and Numbers for free they killed, pulled the floor out from under the smaller developers in those software areas.
    edited August 19 algr
  • Reply 20 of 23
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 1,077member
    Unless users are entitled to continual to use their last-paid version indefinitely (barring OS breakage), then renting software is definitely not better for consumers. 

    I believe Panic does it that way -- subscribe for the latest updates, but keep what you have if it works for you.
     Think Capture One uses that same model. I cancelled my subscription when I wasn’t doing a ton of photo processing jobs and fired it up months later to find the software still worked just fine. Of course, I don’t think I would get any updates mail I re-upped my subscription. 

    I certainly don’t like making payments into perpetuity, but am I the only one who can afford a lot more great software in this age of subscriptions?
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