ok the original poster said that the age of affordable software is coming to an end. Well id say that the age of affordable pro software never begun in the first place. Maya has never been cheap, neither has photoshop. It depends on what you consider affordable. ie photoshop or maya, or a dosen different software packages i can name off the top of my head arent exactly affordable for a hobbyist. So is the dewalt series of power tools, but you see all the pro contractors who use them for a living, expecting nothing less when they make a purchase. Im glad that a big, well funded entity is in charge of maya, the rumors of 3Dsmax being dropped (finally) can only be good (talk about outdated architecture). there are too many choices to be honest, with many overlapping functions. Personally i cant afford NOT to buy the best tools for the job, regardless of the price, if they help me get the job done faster or better then the competition.
So give me photoshop, illustrator, maya, etc and the peace of mind that their creator wont fold one day, leaving me squarely on my ass, looking for new tools.
Cheap software = cost cutting, smaller dev team, less innovation (less brilliant minds being employed to create it). There are always exceptions but exceptions = gambling. who wants to gamble with their livelihood?? The more likely my favorite software will be around in the future, the better i feel about investing in it.