Storyline Subscription Model kinda lame

Feb 09, 2017

No. No. No. Why did you have to take the greed path Articulate???

Captivate is now the less expensive option. Ugh.

21 Replies
Chris Wirick

Counterpoint: it's easier to shell out $XX per month than $X,XXX up front while having the assurance you're always using the latest & greatest.

That said, yes, the Articulate 360 subscription is steeper than Captivate (66% more?). I think I'd rather be able to pay a la carte subscription prices (say, Storyline-only, etc.) than pay for the entire Articulate suite of which I may only use a portion.

On the flip side, Captivate is an a-la-carte subscription without any bundle options, which is also lame. Adobe used to sell an eLearning suite. It's too bad they don't offer an eLearning suite as a subscription. Their only option is to subscribe to both Captivate and Creative Cloud separately. Ugh.

Thankfully there are now (finally!) awesome (and awesomely-affordable) Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator alternatives in the Affinity software line (Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo).

Chris Wirick

Sure, but it's easier than paying one lump sum.

If you buy a single application and use it for 5 years, sure, you'll come out ahead by purchasing. But if you're going to purchase a new version every 3 years, well, you're not going to be saving much. And with the rapid evolution of eLearning development software these days, it's hard to coast on old software like one may be able to get away with in other disciplines.

Didn't Articulate say they would continue to sell standalone licenses? I think that's part of their future plan.

If $50 a month seems expensive, perhaps it's time we all raise our hourly fees to compensate. ;)

Chris Wirick

Right, I don't see anything listed at the moment but I believe Articulate stated that they would continue to support the outright-purchase model. (When? Who knows.)

Yes, that would be frustrating to not be able to open a project file from a client. But that's not really "legacy" file support, since the file you're trying to access is from a newer version of the software and not an older one (legacy support typically means the ability to open files from older versions of the software). That's fairly standard practice in the software world. Can Captivate 7 open a Captivate 9 file? Maybe so, I've never tried.

Chris Wirick

Sometimes, yes. But it would be impossible to expect an older version of software to be able to open a file from a newer version and keep everything intact. For those rare applications that do support files from later versions you're often confronted with an up-front message that you will be losing features X, Y and Z and your formatting may be completely hosed. Thus being behind your client in your software versions will do you (and them) no favors, hence another advantage for the subscription model.

Chris Wirick

Yes, $80/mo will be even harder to swallow than $50/mo, and Captivate ($30/mo) would likely become the "new favorite" tool for obvious reasons.

That said, Articulate has (unfortunately) always been a little shifty with pricing (they've been advertising their software as "Sale Price Today Only!!!" (every day) for years now, a practice I always thought was beneath them and hoped they'd abandon) and I fully expect that 2nd year subscription will not be priced at $1,000 when that time comes.

If it is, well, Adobe wins.

Mark Gretzinger

Articulate did a great job with Storyline of creating a well designed, powerful but easy to use program that is superior to it's (much larger and established) competitor. But it's really only come into it's own as the tool of choice for many eLearning designers in the past couple of years. They've cut into Adobe's market, but have in no way replaced Captivate. Now they are cashing in. This is IMO a terrible business move. Better to grow your fanbase and become the dominant player in the game. Adobe did this to Quark with InDesign.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi all,

I did want to pop in here and share that we are still selling Storyline 2 if you need to purchase that and we will have a new standalone, perpetual version of Storyline 3 available sometime later this year.

With that version you'll get all the new pieces and features such as HTML5 only publish, responsive preview and responsive player, new dial interactions and triggers, and more. The elements that you won't get as a part of Storyline 3 (that are included in Storyline 360) are the specific subscription pieces like Articulate Review, Content library, etc.  This chart compares Storyline 360 with Storyline 2 and 1, so you could look at that for a basic primer on some of the features you'll see in Storyline 3...and there's more to come for Storyline 3 and Storyline 360. 

If you have questions about upgrade costs or subscription costs over multiple years, our Success team is happy to discuss those with you and you can reach them here. 


I googled "articulate greedy articulate 360" and I arrived at this page. Very sad. LOL

I thought the world of 360 but too bad I like many others cannot afford this as a yearly cost. The ROI is just not there for us little guys. Maybe the big kahunas but not me. Storyline 3 is probably what I will end up with. I've been coming along for the ride since Articulate 2009. I even upgraded to studio 13 which I never used because Storyline was all I needed. If 360 was $1200 (like a 2+ year subscription price), I'd have grabbed it, and with the upgrade costs Articulate Management would have still implicitly broken even in the long-run. I hope they'd consider other pricing options with the passage of time.

Mark Gretzinger

Yeah, in my eyes it's a questionable business decision. Storyline is/was on track to become the industry standard after stealing the throne from Captivate. Being the more expensive option may end up dooming it. Anyone remember Qurark? EVERYONE used Quark. Then Adobe came along and destroyed it with the much cheaper, and better InDesign.

cheryl hartley

Thank you Ashley. I have SL2 but cannot use it on my laptop because of the issue described here: (

Who can I speak with about a deeply discounted / free upgrade to SL3 so that I can use the product?  I reached out to the people at the link you provided, but received a canned reply indicating the recipient didn't read my actual question.

Thank you!

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