Affinity 2 launch causes controversy among content creators

Affinity 2.0
(Image credit: Serif)

Serif announced the next generation of its creative suite today. Affinity Photo 2, Affinity Designer 2, and Affinity Publisher 2 are all now available through Serif's website and various app stores. The company also launched Affinity Publisher 2 for iPad. All of the new programs are more powerful than their predecessors, but many around the web are unhappy with today's announcement.

Before we dive into online responses to the Affinity 2.0 launch, let's quickly review what Serif announced today (opens in new tab)

Affinity Designer 2: New features

  • Vector Warp
  • Shape Builder Tool
  • Knife Tool
  • Measure Tool and Area Tool
  • DWG/DXF Import
  • X-Ray View

Affinity Photo 2: New Features

  • Non-destructive RAW Develop
  • Compound Masks
  • Live Mesh Warp
  • Normals Adjustment
  • Live Masks
  • Hue Range
  • Band-Pass
  • Luminosity
  • Saved Layer States
  • JPEG XL Import/Export

Affinity Publisher 2: New Features

  • Books (desktop only)
  • Footnotes, endnotes and sidenotes
  • Place Auto-flow
  • Linked File Layer Visibility Override
  • DWG/DXF Place
  • Style Picker Tool
  • Performance

Affinity Publisher 2 for iPad: New Features

  • Command Controller
  • Quick Menu
  • Compact Mode
  • iPadOS 16 Ready

Serif also announced a Universal License that gets you Affinity Photo 2, Affinity Designer 2 and Affinity Publisher 2 for use on Mac, PC and iPad. That license will normally cost $170, but is currently on sale for 40% off, which brings it down to $100.

The Affinity apps were always marketed as subscription-free alternatives to competing apps from Adobe and other companies. The idea being that the first generation of the apps would receive updates for several years and then eventually be replaced by newer versions, which require an additional purchase.

This structure was commonplace in the industry before subscription models took over. Unlike apps that require a subscription, the original Affinity apps will continue to work after today's announcement and going forward. They simply won't receive any new features.

The jump to version 2 was supposed to be held off until a major jump in features. Therein lies the debate on the web. Affinity Photo 2, Affinity Designer 2, and Affinity Publisher 2 all have new features, but some claim that they are not big enough changes to justify a jump to the next generation.

The Affinity subreddit has a reaction thread to the launch of Affinity 2. The poster of that thread said, "personally I'm very disappointed, not only is it mainly just performance fixes and a redesign, there is also no new feature that's really that impressive."

They added, "What's the "Thing you've been waiting for" they talked about in the announcement?"

Others echoed similar frustrations. "Yeh, pretty underwhelming but with the glacial pace of updates over the years maybe that’s on me," said crispeddit.

"While the new features are cool they just seem like features that would be added in an incremental update, not a major overhaul like this was touted to be," argued lurchh.

"Definitely overhyped IMO, I was sure they would be realising a DAM from all the marketing hype."

Reddit user snarton said, "I'm quite disappointed. They took down their website like it was going to be some major Apple-style release. Then it's just a version updated with no new software, and there's not even an upgrade discount for current users. The price is fine, the software is excellent, and I'll definitely buy it, but still disappointed.

Not all creators were so negative, however.

"I'm happy with the warp and shape builder in designer and style picker for text on desktop.. would have appreciated image trace... maybe next time," said wayanonforthis.

"Non destructive RAW and luminosity masks will be a game changer. I bought Photo in 2016 so happy to throw them more money," said CameronWLucas.

"I’m psyched: non-destructive all the things!" exclaimed Scoo on Reddit.

There are separate threads defending Serif as well as others complaining about today's announcement as well.

Image (opens in new tab)

Affinity 2 | $100

The second generation of the Affinity creative apps are more powerful and feature-rich than their predecessors. You can purchase the entire suite on sale right now for 40% off.

Get at | Serif (opens in new tab)| Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).