The engine looks to be very modern and optimized, my problem with new engine like clarisse is that , at this time they want to sell you a new workflow. Everybody has his own idea about the best way to work in CG, but if you compare many big to small facilities the workflow is always different. So i guess it means that flexibility and robustness must be the number one priority !
Thats why i guess tool like Renderman and Maya are so popular in movie bizz. Yes sure they are getting old, but the way they was devise make them extremely strong to evolve in a reliable way ( i would include maya
What i miss with clarisse is something like pixar has done with ProServer from one side and MTOR on the other side.
The technology behind clarisse looks very promissing, so why they don't write a clean scene description language + shading language + API. with all this accessible only in command line ? If you want to create your own integration you can ! And thus you look sexy to the big boys
Then on top of that they offer their own integration as an option for those who like it ...
They have been able to sell their core techno to the big guys at a high price like 2000$ and then to sell the all in one solution to individual artist at 1300$. And thus stay competitive with a new product .
But for the moment i agree with you guy even if the techno looks great, the marketting choice are not very clever at this time !