Originally Posted by lynnfredricks
It has been evolving over several years and also the result of a maturing market space, and it has almost nothing to do with Blender.
A mature market is one where you have one or a few big companies which eat up most of the high end market; those below a certain price point differentiate themselves by a mix of pricing and special features. Often the big companies find they have become their own competitors (either with products around the same price point or vs previous versions).
Consumer / Prosumer tools can still live and thrive, mostly because of price points and very specific kinds of value.
You give products away for free because you want to pull as many new, potential customers into your sales funnel as possible with the least investment. Many free users can be converted later if you can continue to engage them, and/or they invest in your technology. They've figured out, based on their business model, what they can give away without cannibalizing where they want to make money.
This method isn't specific to 3D. You find it in many vertical software markets. One example is the database technology market. I sell software in both of these vertical markets.
You can say its also a "how do I compete with free?" and plug Blender in there among others; but all of these vendors have had messaging that has addressed that for some time (because that's a part of swimming in mature market seas). Blender is FOSS, but it doesn't have a true commercial upsell ( as compared to MySQL in database land).
This is a more reasonable explanation at least in the traditional CG markets and regions. Blender just isn't on my radar as I don't know anyone personally who is using it.
Also the way its being developed (Ton's vision) means its very hard to build and support a pipeline around it. And how many pipelines are switching to Blender? Never heard of one switching to it... I have yet to see Blender doing something *new*. Its always just 'me too' (but 'my way').
I do think that all the jack-of-all-trades 3d software may be stagnating and this is why we see more and more highend studios 'rolling their own' task specific software and using things like maya for just the 'basics' or as 'gaffer tape' between proprietary apps. As mentioned earlier stuff like Fabric Engine may be where the innovation and therefore where the 'new money' may be spent down the road...