13 Crazy Expensive Software Products

by | Feb 6, 2014

Back in 2014 you may not believe these product at these prices, some no longer available, were rather expensive… and some cheap considering prices today.

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 in 2014 do you think are worth the money, especially when you consider them now? Which ones are now on monthly contract? Sometimes nice to look back.