Adobe Captivate: Should You Buy or Subscribe?
One way Adobe Captivate sets itself apart from other well-known e-learning authoring tools is that it offers a subscription model in addition to the option of buying it outright. Which is a better choice?
Let’s start by explaining what the two offers entail:
- Purchase outright: You can purchase a new license of Captivate 8 for $999. You install it on your computer, and then you can use it for as long as you like. You can still be using that same license 5 years from now without paying any additional fees. (Although at that point, it may not be compatible with newer technology).
- Subscription: If you choose the subscription model, you pay $29.99 per month for the software with a one-year commitment. You still install the software on your computer (unlike cloud-based tools). You continue to use the software as long as your subscription is active. However, when you stop paying the subscription fee, you can no longer use the software.
There are three main considerations for deciding which option is best for you.
1. How long you plan to use the software.
If you are likely to only need Captivate for a short while, the subscription plan might be the best choice. This is especially true for freelancers who move from project to project. A one-year subscription is $360, which means that the subscription model is cheaper for two years. If you have to go to the third year with a subscription, you’ll be paying about $80 more than if you had bought it outright.
2. How often you plan to upgrade.
When you buy using the subscription model, all upgrades are included. If you buy the software outright, you have to pay extra for each upgrade. (You don’t have to upgrade if you don’t want to, though) Since the subscription model is $360 per year and an upgrade is $399, it is definitely cheaper to use the subscription if you want the upgrades every year.
Currently, you can only get the upgrade price if you are upgrading from Captivate 7 to Captivate 8. If you have an older version, you need to pay the full $999 price to upgrade to 8. This might be reason to switch to the subscription model.
If you buy the software and then buy the upgrades, you can continue to use all the versions. This is especially helpful for external vendors like us. We have client who owns Captivate 6, so she asks us to do all of her work in Captivate 6 so she can make edits herself. I still have 4, 5, 5.5, 6, 7, and 8 at my disposal. If you use the subscription model, you can only use the previous version for one year after the new version is released (assuming your subscription is still current.)
3. When you have money available.
We work with a lot of non-profits on grant-funded projects. They might have money this year to invest in e-learning, but might not have money next year. Even in a corporate environment, money that exists one year might be gone the next due to budget cuts, reorganization, or shifting priorities. If you know you have money now but don’t know if you’ll have it in the future, it might be best to pay the higher price to buy the software outright. Then you can continue to use it even if the money dries up. This approach does require more money up front. If you prefer to pay less up front and feel fairly confident that the money will continue to be available, then the subscription might be a better choice.
If you take a few minutes to think about how you’ll use the software and your financial dynamics, you can find the plan that works best for you.