Softimage Goes to Autodesk for $35 Million
October 24, 2008 3:27 pm
Autodesk to Acquire Softimage
The big are getting bigger. Autodesk this week announced that they have reached a 'definitive agreement' with Avid Technology to acquire the majority of Avid's Softimage product line for around $35 million. It is assumed that Avid Technology is relieving itself of the Softimage platform to focus more on its broadcast and film markets.
The move is intended for Autodesk to gain a steadier foothold in the gaming entertainment market. "Softimage and its products are recognized as best-of-breed in the entertainment industry," said Autodesk Senior VP of Media & Entertainment Marc Petit. What does this mean for the Softimage brand? Petit says that it will provide a boost to the offerings out of their Games Technology Group, and Autodesk plans to continue offering several products from the Softimage line including XSI, Face Robot, Cat and Crosswalk. Other Softimage products and features could be included in future installments of other well known Autodesk assets.
How will this affect the end user? "As we have demonstrated since the acquisition of Alias in 2006, we’re committed to giving our customers choice when it comes to their 3D tools. We plan to maintain and grow the Softimage product line," says Petit. The development team is also being brought over as well to help continue adding to an already solid line of Softimage products, and all previous customers will still have support through Autodesk. Softimage will also take advantage of Autodesk's FBX format to provide interoperability between other Autodesk products, including 3D Studio Max and Maya. In the end, it will provide the end user yet another Autodesk option in the expanding realm of 3D authoring tools.
You can read further information on the acquisition at autodesk.com/softimage.
Beginning with AutoCad back in 1982, Autodesk has grown into a 3D powerhouse, with products in industries from Architecture to Manufacturing to Gaming. Some of the products they have obtained over the years include:
Well, this now proves that greed is not good; and that Autodesk has indeed become the Microsoft of the graphics world. Why? this is what happens when you grow so large that in order to pay all of the thousands of employees, you have to buy up more companies to make the residuals come in. This is sad. What the industry should do is force Autodesk to release the max platform like they did with Autocad years ago whick spawned the AutoCAD clones we now know as IntelliCAD. The company would benefit by getting a portion of the proceeds made by the lower cost 3DsMAX-clones and you would get tons of developers developing plugins... like Google Sketch-Up. An Autodesk aquisition is what killed one of the unique and beloved architectural 3d rendering systems of the mid 90's called Lightscape!... which was swallowed up and the likes of which were never seen of again anywhere. Yes I would also agree that this could be the end of the low cost hobbyist 3D software. It's almost like their motto has become... "If we can't beat them... we will buy them and eliminate the competition, hobbyist have no business buying this type of software... shame on them!" ...and I used to like Autodesk too. Sad!
Hardly the end of the world. CG folks, hobbyists or professional, are spoiled for choice . . . there's so much excellent software. I'd venture to say that there is no other application that has so many different high quality packages. Outside the maw of Autodesk, there's Modo, C4D, Lightwave, Houdini, and plenty more. Need I mention that Blender is free and is breathtakingly clever?
Hello people, I just wanted to point out that it was Avid that put Softimage for sale, and Autodesk just happened to be the highest bidder. I don't know any other 3d company that would actually buy it since they already have their 3D apps (Maxon, Newtek or SideFX). And I don't think that Microsoft would have bought it since they were the ones that sold it to Avid to begin with. Pixar could have bought it too, but that would probably mean the end of Softimage as a commercial product since they would use it in conjuction with their own animation system. Google... don't even get me started... Another company that pops into my mind is Apple since they have around 25billions in cash (according to what I read at ZDNet), but I'd preffer that Softimage goes to Autodesk than Apple, after seeing how they have not-so-slowly killed Nothingreal Shake... Another thing is that I don't see prices going up. Developing going down, maybe yes, but prices going up, not a chance. I don't know how fast XSI actually evolved during the years since I'm not an XSI user so I'll need a little help here, but the only things that has wowed me as I've seen the program evolved are the attribute transfer thing and ICE. As for Maya, we don't get to see tens of thousands of new features and improvements on each release, but the introduction of the Nucleus unified solver is something that I have yet to see on a different 3D app. But prices haven't gone up. Remember that Autodesk actually cut the price of Maya Unlimited by 2K a few months ago.
Thunderstone, the sale of Softimage in all likelihood will not affect the oricing or the hobbyist 3D creator. Softimage's XSI line was never truly cheap, as was its other products. I think that Autodesk will largely keep to the spirit of the original package.
"... Autodesk has indeed become the Microsoft of the graphics world..." ??? Where I come from there's a little mom and pop outfit called "Adobe" which some graphics apps called "Photoshop", "Illustrator", "After Effects" not to mention about a half dozen more which are standards, including for Flash. Adobe is edging more into 3D/CG and already outcompetes Autodesk for dominance of vector graphics software. Monopoly? I doubt it.
The price will go up and they will eliminate everything but the high cost products. They also bought up RealViz recently so now I have to pay megabucks just to upgrade my software and they really don't care if I can affort their new pricing or not!
This acquisition adds new interest to the battle for CG monopoly. I've heard speculation that having sucked up drawing, publishing, video and audio progs, Adobe plans to enter 3D as well. Rumor suggests Adobe C4D. No matter what happens, corporate giants will be giants and small fry will be eaten. By the way, Silverthorn, I think Adobe matches Autodesk for user-hostility, though there's no denying the quality of their products.
Nemirc is right - upping the prices would simply be a bad business decision. Sure they are the big 3 apps used, but don't discount people and some studios jumping ship and moving to C4D or Houdini or Lightwave. Maya's pricing has gone down consistently, and 3DS Max has stayed the same as long as I can remember. They also won't kill all 3 apps and make one giant killer app of a merger (a "sky is falling" cry of terror I see periodically in the merger thread at CGSociety) - they're going to remain separate, and stay that way as they all have their strengths to the market they're mainly made for - whether movies, TV, games, arch-viz, etc. They just have a new owner - companies get bought - how many times has Bryce changed hands? Poser? This is the 4th one for Softimage, if I remember right. Softimage will be there - just a different logo on the box.
When Adobe acquired Macromedia, everyone freaked out for the same reasons... but it actually wound up being a good thing in the long run. No longer did the two companies have to continue suing each other, instead with the acquisition they combined their best talents to work on a combined product line. Same thing will happen here with Autodesk. Doom? Nah... but the gap between hobbyist 3d apps and high-end 3d apps will increase, since Autodesk will have the top 3d developers working for them. I would expect much better interoperability between the high-end apps and more features and technology that will be shared across them now that they're under one consolidated ownership.