With Maya dropping their price to $1999 from $7999 it was only a matter of time for Softimage to follow suit. Softimage 3D is now $1495.. That's $500 less than Maya and $100 less than Lightwave!!!
It will be interesting to see how Lightwave and 3D Studio Max respond. Max positioned itsself as the best relatively low−price solution at $3500. Now Max is suddenly the highest priced solution. Lightwave was an even lower cost solution and is now about the same price.
I'm not a big fan of Softimage. It's old and shows signs of it's age. For example it's not windowed. It takes over your machine. It does have UNDO. Yet much of the movie industry swears by it. For the last 5 or 6 years or so, lots of movie companies have claimed to use both Maya (Poweranimator) and Softimage. Maya for modeling, Softimage for animating.
Softimage has a current big push because Lucasfilm claims to have used it extensively on Star Wars: Episode 1 and 2
Softimage does have a newer product called Softimage XSI. I'm not sure what the price is but interestingly, one option is to RENT it for $320 a month!!!! That sounds a little high!!! I suppose if the price was really high but $320 a month is $3840 a year. That's pretty step. Coming from that Max world at $3500 plus $1K to upgrade it seems like $100 a month is about the most you could ask me to pay but then what do I know.