That's true! Rental only. It's Adobe's new paradigm.
And if you don't keep up the payments, your software goes inactive after 90 days or so. You can open AE project files created in the new software (minus the new features, of course) in your paid-for CS6, but who knows how long that particular mitzvah will last?
You may purchase CS6 but CC (Creative Cloud) is available only as a subscription. Personally, I prefer CC and this new system. It lets me freely move between Mac and Windows machines and freelance all over the place with just a sign-in. Everything stays in Sync and there are many enhanced features. It's also about the same cost as paying for upgrades.