Darkroom Photo Editing App Switches to Subscription Model for New Users

Braderunner

macrumors 65816
Oct 2, 2015
1,003
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Tralfamadore
I’d be embarrassed if I made issue with a $20 per year subscription fee. Developers have to keep the money rolling in to make money to improve the product. Photo editing apps are not like games that have gazillions of players.
The majority of the time...this is the beginning of the end. I don’t know if it’s because the developer gets bored with an app, or what. But, it seems they experiment with the subscription model, to see if it’s still worth their time. The app development still slows. Subscribers cancel. Development stops.
Some developers keep promising a big update...loyal customers keep hanging in there. But, the big update never comes. Subscribers feel duped. That's why people balk at subscriptions. No reason to be embarrassed for being smart, and learning from one's mistake.
My point is...as this subscription model grows, people will only keep subscriptions to apps they really love. This will seriously limit a developer’s subscriber numbers if they don’t work hard on app development.
It’s a vicious cycle.
 
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incoherent_1

macrumors regular
Oct 19, 2016
187
267
The majority of the time...this is the beginning of the end. I don’t know if it’s because the developer gets bored with an app, or what. But, it seems they experiment with the subscription model, to see if it’s still worth their time. The app development still slows. Subscribers cancel. Development stops.
Some developers keep promising a big update...loyal customers keep hanging in there. But, the big update never comes. Subscribers feel duped.
My point is...as this subscription model grows, people will only keep subscriptions to apps they really love. This will seriously limit a developer’s subscriber numbers if they don’t work hard on app development.
Its a vicious cycle.
This.

While I’m sure the majority of these moves are well-intentioned, I’ve noticed too many basically mothball the app shortly after going to subscription. The cynic in me tells me that some are just banking on people forgetting they’ve subscribed and getting perpetual free income.
 

arkmannj

macrumors 68000
Oct 1, 2003
1,564
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UT
To be fair, 1Password, Microsoft, and Adobe compare favorably to perpetual single major version license.

Adobe Creative Cloud ($635.88/year) vs. $2599 (updated every 18-24 months), adds 100 GB cloud storage, fonts, many other features, and continuous major feature updates.

Microsoft Office 365 ($69.99 to 99/year) vs. $149.99 to 249.99 (updated every 3 years), adds 1 TB cloud story, mobile versions, and continuous major feature updates.

1Password ($35.88/year to $59.88/year for family) vs. $64.99 perpetual, adds multiple vault cloud syncing and 1Password X extension.
And also,

Microsoft does still sell 1 time purchase editions through certain channels for Office.

1Password I’ve still been going strong on the individual/single purchase versions. (they don’t make it obvious but you can do it for some of their products)
 

Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,236
747
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
Is this really any better than Lightroom? My company pays for CC and LR is included. Kinda drives me crazy sometimes but I haven't seen anything more powerful that works across my Mac, iPad and iPhone.
No, it's prosumer and is catering mostly to the social media crowd.

Like that at the time they were the only ones not bombarding you with endless IAP filter packs and just let you make your own. People still didn't like that the extra tools cost more after the initial free download, but they still managed to survive all these years even without those people.

Hoping this means a Mac release is in the works.
 
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macintoshmac

macrumors 68040
May 13, 2010
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So, is anyone here keeping track of the cumulative number of sacrificial coffees? It seems only a handful of developers have the option of one-time purchases now (Darkroom developers included since they offer a one-time purchase).

I understand the model, I get that developers need money, I get that people do not like to give money even for substantial upgrades, I get they have conveniently forgotten the cost of software just a decade ago, but really, today it is generally a harbinger of complacency in developers when they go to a subscription model.

DayOne journal comes to mind. The focus is on iOS and iPadOS apps and the Mac app seems to not be an equal priority with them. Development is painfully slow and incremental for the Mac. Templates have come to the iOS and iPadOS but the Mac app has a twisted way of getting to templates and using templates to create new entries. Months have passed and the Mac app has yet to get templates baked in properly.

I do not know how long this model will last if developers are being so complacent. I am okay with this model if this developers do indeed have regular updates and at least have feature-parity between platforms they serve. There are genuine ones out there who fix issues quickly, provide regular updates and keep feature-parity between platforms - those are the developers where most people would not mind a subscription model.
 
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mrr

macrumors 6502
Apr 19, 2008
259
220
Check out: Fine - Photo Editor

Has nearly the same design and functionality at a fraction of the cost. I like it as much.

 
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Michael Scrip

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2011
5,450
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Moral of the story: You can’t make a living or run a company selling apps for $2.99.

Only ones making money are games selling in-app loot.
And that could be considered a type of subscription.

There are people paying $2 a day to buy in-game gold, gems, or Simpsons doughnuts... and that's worse than paying $20/year for a productivity app.

These games suck you in... and you think "oh it's only a couple dollars here and there..."

Then you check your iTunes billing and you realize you spent more on fake gold than you did on your spouse's Valentine's Day gift. :p
 

giebe

macrumors member
Mar 20, 2014
97
74
Germany
I stopped using all apps which switched to a subscription model. I want to pay once, don’t care about higher prices. Don’t want to lose track about all the apps I have to pay for monthly.
 

jetho

macrumors member
Mar 22, 2016
71
44
I've seen this cycle before. We are currently at step 5.

1. Create an app.

2. Charge money for app.

3. Update app for free for years.

4. Switch to subscription, because money isn't being made.

5. Upset current users by charging them or let current users stay for free.

6. Don't gain enough paying users and eventually shutdown.

Moral of the story: People love apps, but hate subscriptions.
The problem is what other choice does Apple give developers (except going subscription from the get-go)?
In my opinion Apple has to take a lot of blame here too. The only long term viable business model in the App Store are subscriptions. Apple needs to give developers more alternatives here, i.e. update pricing.
 

bitardo

macrumors newbie
Jun 27, 2018
10
25
Yes - giving all three options is the best case. Lifetime option for the win. A one time sunk cost is always better than having to deal with monthly subscriptions.
Yes. at least they gave the lifetime option. I have zero apps on subscription – I pay only for apple music and digitalocean, which are actual services, not apps pretending to be continuous services.
 

macintoshmac

macrumors 68040
May 13, 2010
3,601
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Yes. at least they gave the lifetime option. I have zero apps on subscription – I pay only for apple music and digitalocean, which are actual services, not apps pretending to be continuous services.
Yes, these days those lines are getting plenty blurred. SaaS.
 

Brian Y

macrumors 68040
Oct 21, 2012
3,566
701
This subscription nonsense needs to stop. Subscriptions need to be for services, not every damn app on the planet.
 

Freeangel1

macrumors member
Jan 13, 2020
50
34
I got APP happy when I bought a new iPad Pro. bought lots of apps. I don't really even use them. same on my iPhone I only find I use the software I buy for my Mac. I guess I'm old fashioned. The iPad still just an oversized iPhone. and I use both as media players for large music and movie collections. until iPad os gets a file system like a real computer where you can download and save things and ports and expansion and a keyboard and mouse, its still just a media player to me.
 

macintoshmac

macrumors 68040
May 13, 2010
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I got APP happy when I bought a new iPad Pro. bought lots of apps. I don't really even use them. same on my iPhone I only find I use the software I buy for my Mac. I guess I'm old fashioned. The iPad still just an oversized iPhone. and I use both as media players for large music and movie collections. until iPad os gets a file system like a real computer where you can download and save things and ports and expansion and a keyboard and mouse, its still just a media player to me.
What is the connection of your post with Darkroom and/ or even subscription and one-time payment models?
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,650
31,867
Boston
This subscription nonsense needs to stop. Subscriptions need to be for services, not every damn app on the planet.
It will only stop when companies find a better way to generate revenue. If people hate them so much then everyone needs to stop subscribing, if that doesn't happen, then nothing will happen.
 
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mollyc

macrumors 68020
Aug 18, 2016
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Besides another unnecessary cloud service, what features did Adobe add that necessitated a subscription service? I tried CC when it was $10 a year, but killed it as soon as they jacked it up to $20 a month.
If you don't want the cloud service you can still pay $10/month for the LR/PS. You just have only 20gb of storage vs 100gb. I don't like my photos in the cloud so I still pay $10/month.
 
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Fallenight

macrumors newbie
Mar 12, 2017
7
3
I was thinking of paying for the add-ons for a long time. I brought it, this past weekend. I think the the cost is high, compare to what it was last week.

Still it is a very good app which Photographers can quickly adjust their photos with lots of tools on their iPhone. It is still much less expensive then Lightroom. I am sure sales will continue and make the app better.
 

4jasontv

macrumors 68000
Jul 31, 2011
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That’s still 12x more per year and you are only getting two of the programs. What features have they added that reasonably require a subscription.
 

4jasontv

macrumors 68000
Jul 31, 2011
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Moral of the story: You can’t make a living or run a company selling apps for $2.99.

Only ones making money are games selling in-app loot.
Sure you can. It’s just that as the price goes down you need to sell more copies. This isn’t any different than any other industry. Switching to a subscription model only damages the trust you already built with your existing customers. Of course, if you don’t see value in people who already gave you money than it really doesn’t make a difference. Just hope that your app speaks for itself and doesn’t rely on and can survive word of mouth.
 

H3LL5P4WN

macrumors 68020
Jun 19, 2010
2,478
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Pittsburgh PA
I haven't picked up Affinity (yet), but Darkroom really is a good photo editor, especially if you aren't on your iPad.

Plus, it and Moment integrate with each other, if you use the Moment camera app.
 
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macintoshmac

macrumors 68040
May 13, 2010
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I haven't picked up Affinity (yet), but Darkroom really is a good photo editor, especially if you aren't on your iPad.

Plus, it and Moment integrate with each other, if you use the Moment camera app.
Does Darkroom exceed iOS's built-in editing capabilities? I usually edit RAWs on my Mac using my camera company's software and that's about it. Rare editing requirements are handled by iOS for me free of cost.
 
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