As a heavyweight user of the Adobe Creative Suite, I think most of the answers have already been given, but not put in context.
There are two kinds of software, and two kinds of users. One kind of software is essentially static in purpose and features - email client, word processor, spreadsheet, etc. programs haven’t changed in any substantive way for at least a decade (and I’m being charitable). This is commodity software - buy it, use it forever, most users will never know about small bugfixes or improvements and can live without a suite of new features invented by the marketing department. This is why some vast number of Word users are just as happy with Google Docs or Open Office or any old version of Word that’s lying around. Pay more than once for such software, if that? Nonsense.
The other kind of software is high-end professional development and creation software - chief among them the Adobe suite and AutoCAD. These tools do evolve fairly steadily and are used by a user base that has to stay in step with each other (far more than two users with vastly different versions of Word do). These tools have been effectively “subscription” for a long time, although they were called “updates” and cost a big chunk of change, meaning that in a large work pool, not everyone was going to have the same versions and so forth.
I paid around $2,000 for CS Master Collection maybe ten years ago. I paid $6-800 a pop for the updates, sometimes holding off until I ran into problems with collaborators. But with no more than on exception, I felt like I got my money’s worth on each upgrade as the tools got more integrated, added key features, smoothed out workflow processes and generally moved towards a multifaceted mega-tool instead of a collection of almost-compatible separate ones. I am more than happy to pay a flat $50 a month to have nearly every tool Adobe makes (most of which I use and the rest of which are nice to have on hand for the occasional tweak, side job or experimentation). $600 a year? It’s an effin’ bargain, and I get two user installations for that, meaning my very advanced-user son can have SOTA tools instead of crap freeware and discards to do his video and audio work.
Adobe doesn’t make Photoshop for people who dick around a little with photos for their websites, or even for amateur or occasional photographers. It doesn’t make Illustrator and InDesign and DreamWeaver for home hobbyists. If the amateur or sometime crowd wants to use these tools, fine, use old versions or less-than-legit ones, or GIMP or Corel or whatever. But don’t bitch because “Photoshop is so overpriced.” It’s not - not for those who use it and its huge set of kin as a daily production and development system, in step with the whole industry that does.
I resisted the move to the subscription model until I’d thought it through. Now, I have a continually updated tool set, and a complete one, at all times, for substantially less than either the updates or the hassles of working around incompatibilities used to cost.
By the way, NONE of this has anything to do with “software in the cloud.” All of the Adobe apps are installed on my workstation and work fine without a network connection. (They just want to “check in” at least once a month to verify subscription status.) High-power subscription-ware is not the same as Office365, GoogleDocs, etc. where the app runs on a server somewhere. (As for virtualization, it doesn’t work well for high-end graphics apps. It’s cheaper and more efficient to run them locally than to build a server, network and client that can handle, say, Premiere.)
Two kinds of users, two kinds of software, making a matrix of at least four situations - you can’t argue one set of issues as applying to the others. For at least one cell of that matrix, subscription effin’ rocks.