13 Crazy Expensive Software Products

Many people mistakenly believe that computers are what make the world go ’round – that we can’t do anything without them, and if they went away tomorrow, the world would slip into a cultural black hole. In reality, computers don’t make the world go ’round. Software does. And sometimes that software gets quite expensive. As you’re about to see, programs can cost anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands depending on the scope and specificity of purpose. Whenever possible, we’ve tried to slap an exact number on the product for you. At the very least, you’ll get an estimate.

Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with enterprise-type software, it’s impossible to find a hard number on the web. Quotes often vary depending on the circumstances. Still, if you left those types of software programs out of a list like this, it wouldn’t be an accurate representation. Our goal: to show just how valuable these 13 Crazy Expensive Software Products are to the companies and the people who use them. Here goes!

1. Unreal Engine, $750,000

Unreal Technology doesn’t deal directly with individuals. You pretty much have to own your own gaming company to use the full version of their software. However, if you do own your own gaming company, the six-figure investment into Unreal Engine could save you millions potentially, so most agree it’s a purchase well worth making if you’re in that line of business.


2. Adobe Acrobat Capture, $20,000

In 1996, when Adobe Acrobat Capture was first conceived, it was considered the most expensive piece of software in existence. Obviously, the market for user-friendly software programs has grown considerably since that time, so Capture’s $20,000 price tag today seems a bit small. Why use it? Capture allows you to convert volumes of scanned material into searchable PDF files.


3. Image Solutions DocComposer, $122,000

Image Solutions DocComposer allows you to scan and index documents at lightning speed. You can add navigation, clean pages, create accurate bookmarks and hyperlinks, and a lot more. Costs can vary for the package, depending on how many users that you have. The above quote was for 10 users on v2.4.


4. CryEngine 3, $1.2 million

Leave it to another game engine company to produce a seven-figure piece of software. CryEngine 3 is almost untouchable in the gamer realm, almost doubling the cost of the latest release from Unreal Engine. CryEngine 3 works for Microsoft, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 products. We’re assuming they’ve also grown to encompass Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but aren’t sure what, if anything, that has done to the cost. There is a free version available for non-commercial game developers.


5. Adobe Font Folio 11.1, $9,000

Adobe’s at it again with this software solution aimed at graphic designers, business publishers, and web/video content creators. While $9k may seem a little rough on the pocketbook, Adobe packs their font-monster with more than 2,400 fonts so you have pretty much everything you need at your disposal, no matter what form your presentation takes. The price is also for the 20-pack in case you’re a business needing more than one computer with access. (The cheapest option available is $3k for a 5-pack.) Whichever option you end up buying goes beyond the puny selection in your word processing program.


6. Inventor Pro, $7,295

Need a detailed, working prototype for your next big idea? If so, you’ll want to add AutoDesk Inventor Pro to your software library. This software is an intuitive 3D mechanical CAD design environment, that packs in integrated motion stimulation and stress analysis with direct read-and-write capabilities for authentic DWG files that you can then use to make your inventions a reality.


7. New World Systems Public Administration Software, $500,000

In a July 2013 article posted to The City Wire, Sebastian County, Arkansas, treasurer Judith Miller said that her county spent close to $500,000 to implement the Public Administration software from New World Systems. The hefty price tag is not completely surprising. When you get to software programs that are designed to manage an entire branch of local government, it’s not uncommon to have additional education, training, and personnel costs that vary depending on scope. Still, ouch!


8. VxWorks, $199,000

VxWorks is one of the more popular real-time operating systems (RTOS) available in the technology field. While the uses for VxWorks can vary from device to device, one common example of how it is used can be seen in HDTV receivers and displays. This hardware relies on the product to read digital signals, decode them, and properly display as the data arrives. A delay of any kind would be visible to the naked eye in the form of pixelated or jerky video and/or audio.


9. Softimage Face Robot, $95,000

Ever notice how animated features and video games today can take on an almost lifelike appearance with the way characters are rendered and displayed. While animators may use a variety of tools to achieve authenticity, most swear by Softimage Face Robot for facial contortions and expressions. Thanks to this software, animated characters can now exhibit facial emotion that is pretty much an exact replica of their human counterparts.


10. Core Impact Professional, $40,000

Core Impact Professional from Core Security is widely known for its penetration testing and vulnerability scanning for enhanced system security. Previous costs of the software were quoted from various web outlets as being around $30,000. According to a February 2013 review from SC Magazine, that price tag had grown to $40,000. When you get in to these high-powered, enterprise-styled softwares, it can be difficult to get a hard number on cost. Since $40k is the most up-to-date we’ve found, that’s how we’ve got it listed here.

SC Magazine

11. Autodesk Maya, $3,675

Yet another piece of 3D animation software, Autodesk Maya doesn’t have as much horsepower as some of the others on this list, but it’s still quite comprehensive when it comes to accelerated modeling and workflow. The scene assembly tool is one particular standout with the ability to create large, complex worlds using the product’s easy-to-follow tools. To save money, you can also rent on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis, which could come in handy if your need is only temporary.


12. AutoCAD, $4,195

AutoCAD is one of the oldest softwares around with more than 30 years of computer-aided design (CAD) under its belt. Today, you can get it as a web and mobile app, with both PC and Mac versions available. AutoCAD has often been quoted as a $9,000 to $10,000 piece of software. The latest price we’ve been able to find came from Autodesk, and it was less than half those more expensive price tags at just $4,195. (By comparison, a tremendous deal).


13. BarMax CA, $1,000

Okay, technically it’s $999.99, but we don’t think calling BarMax CA $1,000 is an overstatement. And why include it on a list of much more expensive software? Because when it comes to mobile apps, this is as pricy as it gets. Still, California law students will find the iOS app particularly appealing because it is a comprehensive review of the California Bar Exam that you can take with you wherever you go. According to the website, students who use BarMax have a pass rate 20 percentage points higher than those studying without.


Which of these crazy expensive software programs and products do you think are worth the money? Which ones are overpriced? And what do you think we here at Intertech should have included on the list? Sound off in our comments section below!

  • Pingback: You know all those Xbox and Playstation games you like? Yeah, the gaming engine they use costs $1.2 million! | My Blog

  • http://www.mediawyse.com/ Casey Markee, MBA

    Good God I can’t BELIEVE how expensive the gaming engines are. Clearly I’m in the wrong business. Great, great stuff

  • Brendon Turner

    CryEngine 3 at $1.2 million… makes it easier to understand why developers need to license their engine to multiple game development companies and console manufacturers just to break even. That’s really expensive!

  • Larry Kim

    i should sell my software for 10 million. you just need to sell one…

    • mikeyhill

      that’s called a startup.

  • Michael

    How is it you guys include a $1000 bar exam study guide, but not the $100,000(ish) Solid Works – which is used by many engineering firms to design stuff like airplanes?

    • http://www.mediawyse.com/ Casey Markee, MBA

      I’m sure there were PLENTY of expensive programs that were missed. Do you have a link to the Solid Works platform by chance? That does sound pretty kick-ass.

  • Ross Quintana

    Great list, I think many people don’t understand what a large market software is. I think the Adobe Capture seems expensive for what it does. My friend is using Maya and it is very interesting. I guess the cost can go as high as the market it serves. Sharing!

  • DWest

    This is a fabulous list to understand 1) the role #enterprise #software plays in organizations 2) an easy to understand review of popular tools of trade many of us use in our professions and touches only a few. And it is a good reminder what is included in those finance budgets in business organizations. Is Adobe Capture used now with many of the historical documents scanned and searched? A definite share with everyone. Thanks.

  • rosekan

    Great list, and you are not kidding about these sky-high prices! I specialized in CRM and I would constantly see relatively small businesses spend $5,000 to $10,000 on just the software packages to run their offices on. When they weren’t happy with what they bought after a few years or their operational needs changed, they would spend that much or more again to convert to something else. It really doesn’t surprise me to see expense go exponentially higher when you get into gigantic money-making industries like gaming and animation.

  • Rahul Kumar

    Oh its really a great information. I shared it on my fb page.
    The last thing i want to say is, La Viva Torrent..

  • Wang Chung

    I’m sure 90% of these have a free opensource alternative.

  • Blame the Victim

    Digitizing software for computer-aided embroidery i much more expensive than the last 3 listed.

    PLUS – all of the above software can be downloaded via torrent. So – not all that expensive, after all.

  • Sarah Evens

    Capture is worth every penny.

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