I just finished a Creative Cloud FAQ for OnlineVideo.net. As you may know, Adobe has stopped selling new versions of former Creative Suite software components and will make them available only via the Creative Cloud, which you pay for monthly. You can still buy either individual versions of the apps or the suites, but these are frozen at the CS6 level.
After reviewing how the Creative Cloud works, I spent a lot of time comparing how the Creative Cloud membership compares to the cost of actually buying the software. In most instances, the Creative Cloud is much cheaper.
The only exception was for users choosing to upgrade from Creative Suite versions 5.0 and 5.5 to either the Creative Cloud or CS6 (see table four of the article). In this instance, Adobe’s upgrade pricing was so favorable that it was much cheaper to buy the upgrade than join the Creative Cloud.
Interestingly, Adobe’s most controversial decision was to offer the CS7 versions of the product only via the Creative Cloud, without offering a purchase upgrade path. If I were to venture a guess as to why, I would point to the numbers in Table four and conclude that it was impossible for Adobe to offer an upgrade path consistent with previous versions without making the Creative Cloud option look like a financial non-starter. Given that the monthly rental schema is clearly a corporate objective, they decided to eschew that option and make the Creative Cloud the only path to the CS7 programs. Whether that was the reasoning or not, if you want the next-gen products (and you probably do-see The Top Ten Reasons to Upgrade to Premiere Pro CC), you’ll have to join the Creative Cloud.