At the beginning of this month, November, Affinity Serif announced the imminent release of version 2 of its graphic software suit. I, like many, was excited by prospect and the hype that hinted at possibility of finally seeing some long awaited features.

Unfortunately, for me at least, the release didn’t live up to the hype and frankly didn’t have features I had expected. Promised features going back years, but I am not here to talk about that, though.

I understand that Serif is a relatively small company and has had to contend with all the effects of Covid in the last few years, however: I was still not impressed and frankly a little disappointed, underwhelmed, as they say.

The big problem for me is compatibility, Version 2 files cannot be opened in Version 1. This was not made clear in the program, no warning when opening or saving in the new release. Apparently they mentioned it in an FAQ, which is next to useless as a place for warnings, as you will only reach for that if you encounter a problem, by then it is probably too late.

The other big issue is the huge price hike, and then the massive 40% launch discount this seems dodgy to me, add that to no upgrade path for existing users and it isn’t a good feeling, add the lack of warning on the trial, it feels like pushing you even harder to upgrade.

As some have mentioned, you can alleviate the compatibility problem by exporting to PSD. This in itself is bizarre, you have to use a third party format to access their format, across versions. Sounds like some dark twisted joke is in there, I think.

The last thing that concerned me was the bold statement they made, about no future updates, this sounded like it was done and the code was sealed. I have since read that operating system compatibility issues will be addressed, so hopefully it will still work when Window 12 or MacOS 14 is released.

So now I wait and see, I won’t be upgrading, the price to feature ratio is too low for me. I am not a 2D graphic artist and I am reasonably happy with the current features for my work. At the same time, going forward I will look at Open Source software alternatives; like Krita and Inkscape. The thing with the later is the odd, at least to me, UI.

I still love Affinity apps and I am grateful to Serif for making them available and affordable, at least initially.