There is some light at the end of the tunnel … Steinberg announced “seamless project compatibility between all Cubase 6 derivatives” and the ability to “exchange projects with other studios or friends that run a smaller Cubase 6 version”.
Of course, if a project is created in Cubase 6 and uses Cubase 6-only features, then of course it’s unreasonable to expect that this will play back without alteration in “smaller” Cubase versions. On the other hand, it should be possible to mixdown the complex project in Cubase 6 to a stereo track, and create a new project from this with only one stereo track, and expect that this new project could be loaded into even the “smallest” (yet to be announced) version of Cubase 6.
I really don’t think it would be reasonable to expect any edit capabilities for little or no money … just perhaps to be able to mute tracks and/or parts.
Now, they’ve yet to tell us what, if anything, will replace Cubase Essential 5 … perhaps “Cubase Elements 6”? Or maybe even a free “Cubase Player 6”?