Why upgrade?

Mar 20, 2017

Currently we use storyline 2 and I've been asked to put together a comparison of current e-learning tools. What am I supposed to say to my boss when they ask why it worth upgrading to a subscription model that costs per year what sl2 costs total to force a bunch of extra stuff we don't want or need? Okay 360 is finally responsive, what else is there that's actually worth it? I've tried looking at the sites but they are very light on information and heavy on fluff. At the moment I can't think of anything to justify sticking, money is tight and the increased cost just really doesn't seem worth it. Actually it seems like a complete rip-off but that's just me. If we could just get sl360 that'd be great but you can't do that apparently because reasons.

12 Replies
Bruce French

Yeah, I've seen that and it's not much help. It basically list a few extra things that sl can do. I don't think being able to rename motion paths and a few more triggers is going to cut it.

For example why do we need preso? We can do that already with software we have. Why  do we need peek or replay when they are kinda the same thing and we can do that already with office mix and sl2 among others. What benefit does review give if we're all in the same room? What's this rise thing? Is that what makes sl responsive? Is it not responsive on it's own? If so, what's the point of it?

A content library is nice but not nearly worth the asking price, same for live. How can I justify the extra cost for better storyline, which is what we want and then duplicate a bunch of functionality we already have?

Personally, I'd prefer to stay storyline but it's not my call and I can't see it happening at this rate. We're probably not going to stick with 2 because it's not responsive.

Kristin Jorgensen

Hi Bruce!

As a member of the Success Team, I hear from a lot of people about the differences between Articulate 360 and Storyline 2. The reasons most people I speak with are choosing to upgrade is to have access to all of the tools, with particular excitement about the Content Library and Articulate Review.  Rise is a fun, easy way to quickly create amazing courses in their browser that move away from the slide based format and look great on any device. You can see a nice explanation of the differences between Storyline and Rise here.  There are also people that feel a subscription is a better fit for their team, and the flexibility that 360 for Teams offers is a huge benefit for the way their teams work. You mentioned not really feeling like the other tools that were included were useful, and I'm sorry we didn't make that clearer somewhere. You might want to check out this blog post for clarification on that. 

By delivering Articulate 360 as a subscription service, we’re able to include every authoring application we make, deliver continuous product updates, and include additional apps, content, and services. With a subscription model, you also get to decide each year whether you want to renew. That means we need to make sure you see the value in your subscription, and we aim to do that. 

For some people, the perpetual version of Articulate Storyline is a better fit, and we know some people are not able to purchase subscription products. We’ll support people in these categories by continuing to sell and support the perpetual version of Storyline, and do plan to release Storyline 3 later this year. It won’t include integration with the web apps in Articulate 360, such as Content Library and Articulate Review, but will have many of the features currently available in Storyline 360.  If that will meet your needs, we are delighted to have you stick with perpetual licensing.

If there is anything else you have questions about, or anything I missed, we'd be happy to speak with you anytime! You can reach the Success Team at success@articulate.com or 800-861-4880, and whether you decide that perpetual licensing or an Articulate 360 subscription is the way to go, we're here for you with answers to your questions anytime!  

Techno10 Lorrain

Hey Kristin,

Thanks for the selling pitch! As you guys might realise now, subscription base software is still a sensible avenue. Look at Adobe's number from 2014-16, they are downfalling slowly. Adobe has been really aggressive by not offering regular licensing and forcing people to go with their CC bundle. People don't like being forced. In fact, they tend to do the opposite : move away and look for alternative. 

Adobe has been losing customer since then.  All Photoshop alternatives are on the rise. Most vector software are also on the rise too. They are lucky enough with After effects which as no real competitor on the market. They bundled a crapload of software in order to make their offering more enticing... We ended up keeping After effects only. Adobe called us 3 times with crazy offering. Almost 60% discount. Talk about desperation.

Here, we are a production team : audioman, videoguy, animator, graphic designer, learning specialist, elearning specialist, coodinator, UX/UI specialist, editor and testers.

We had hopes in 360, it does fall short for us. We stick with Storyline because of its velocity and wait for SL3. 

Meanwhile, we are studying alternative. We are scared now. We don't want to get cut in between and have no option regarding our main and only elearning software besides Moodle.

We know you guys are hard at work trying to fulfill frequent requests. We know choices are sometime hard to make and decision hard to take. Storyline is still on top for us.

The way I see it, the 360 suite is a perfect match for the elearning specialist freelancer. 



Bruce French

Good points about adobe. I'm at a college and we've stuck with cs6. The subscription model just doesn't suit us, especially with budgets the way they are. To go to 360 we're looking at $2400 for year one and then nearly $4000 after that and that's just no. It's not that the rest of the package isn't useful it's just that we already have all of that so duplicating it for the sake of it is no good.

Basically if we could just get the new storyline on its own, or at least an update to 2 to make it responsive we'd be happy campers and probably buy every new version. But if they offered that I couldn't see nearly as many people jumping on to the subscription model train which is much more profitable for them. Articulate knows it, Adobe knows it, everyone knows it. That's why the option isn't there.  

Kevin Handy

I am one of those pesky individuals that sees a definite difference between designing and developing. I've worked in many different types of organizations. For those who also have done so please don't take offense at what I'm about to say because I know two things without a doubt: many will disagree with me - and for the rest of you I'm "preaching to the church choir" so to speak. In other words you know this better than I.

Instructional design versus development is it's own art. Tools such as Articulate 360 don't fix bad design they perpetuate it. The assumption made by all the folks in the "C Suite" in Articulate marketing and all the way down the chain is a rather optimistic view of the world. Two things are assumed: PowerPoint is designed and developed by folks with e-Learning background - in other words the common scenario in which the developer receives PowerPoints "ready to go", to load into Articulate Storyline or otherwise are in good shape. I find this disturbing. In many cases trainers and people without adult learning and frankly absent good graphics arts design principles often throw together PowerPoints almost on the fly. I've seen some so bad they made me cry - quite literally bullet points. I know many of you are saying, "EVERYONE has to start over, tell me something I don't know - I've done it a billion times." But e-Learning authoring tool developers seem to sell this notion of time savings as if it were reality - but in most cases it simply isn't.

A second preconceived notion is: if it ain't broke, break it, because it probably is broken and you all just don't see it - once you do you'll rush to our product to buy it. In point of fact Adobe has been trying to roll the proverbial bolder back up the hill since they rolled out subscription oh so many years ago. People are still hot about it. But when their perpetual license then must necessarily include maintenance fees to be functional they're also quite unhappy. Believe me I've seen both - I've been in organizations where software stops working, vendors sell the latest versions at jacked up prices and they don't release interim patches because well - there is no money in interim patches. Products often sell with a year or two of maintenance and that's it. So the subscription was born. Constant revenue stream for the software vendor, less headaches for the consumer. 

But the pricing models. OUCH OUCH OUCH. If I have say 1 - 5 developers I pay through the NOSE for products like 360. Or I buy the perpetual license, try to ride it out for 3 - 5 years and pretend my e-Learning is just wonderful when "C Suite" people in my own company KNOW for a fact that our e-Learning looks and feels - well TIRED. The average price of Articulate 360 for new organizations is $1 - 1,300 per user. With just three developers - and believe me they better be full time at that price and they better be oozing work product because at $3,900 a year - in many organizations that's a Director or VP level sign-off. Your manager cannot touch a $3,900 yearly contract in most organizations and if e-Learning is decentralized it may go higher still. Unlike in IT or say in a department that is regulatory in nature - questions are raised. $4K isn't paperclip money. And what are we getting - well quite a bit actually. But will we use it all - al the time. Will all the developers who have the licenses in the organizations use it. No? Well then perpetual is your easy peazy answer. Or is it? 

Most of us need SME reviews. I've been in this racket for 15 years. I live and die by SME reviews. No SME review, no approval, no work product and eventually no job. Very few of us are our own SMEs - yes it happens but it's a rarity. So enter and bow Reviewlink. So in addition to our perpetual license - if we do SME reviews and need to track those for various reasons including legal ones - Reviewlink ranges in price but let's call it $500 per user per annum. Then there's the $600 to $1,400 perpetual license for Articulate Storyline 3. Thus I'm knocking on my manager's door who in turn is knocking on his or her Director or VP's door and up the chain until the signing authority is sufficient and I'm telling them $600 please and then $500 per year. Oh yeah and in a few more years another $600 to $800 please.  Wow really? All so I can publish perfectly responsive e-Learning that actually works. Yes some of the competitors out there aren't as fancy, they may look a bit more antiquated but man the CBA is a bit rough here - from this relative newbie's perspective (I've met colleagues with 30+ years experience - I'll defer to them as the sages in this space). If only the e-Learning authoring space were just a tiny bit - well competitive. Then Articulate and the few large players might think long and hard about their pricing models. Because this stuff 'ain't cheap'.


I agree with Keven on this one.   The extra add ons does not justify the Highway robbery prices.  Not only that but when I finished my 360 subscription and asked if I could purchase storyline 3 for a reduced price, the staff laughed at me and told me that I had to pay the full price for Storyline 3.  So they would rather lose a customer to their competition than offer a discount to already paying customers.  Smart move!