Impact of Technologies being Free

So I have been studying economics and this thought kept crossing my mind that with all these technologies being free to use - UE4, Unity, Autodesk products, and others - it seems like there is a trend of investments being made in allowing more skilled laborers to be produced without that economic barrier of having to pay constant fees to learn about using these products. So while all these companies may not be getting paid immediately, in the long-run they will likely get a higher return on their investment in being able to fill up more open job positions in their respective community or amongst employers that are looking for people with specific skillsets in using their software.

What do you all think?

Ultimately it’s all better for the industry, because there’s more people experienced with commonly used tools. And of course for Epic it’s really good to have more and more people that are trained with their software which means more people are likely to want to choose it in the first place.

Free (or cheap) gets you more people using, talking, and creating content for your software, which is really the best marketing and great for getting adoption. Free isn’t everything though, the only reason I use Autodesk Software (for various uses) is because it’s free for students, when it comes time to buying a 3d package, I’m mostly looking at Modo right now.

I think it’s competition and survival. Going free is the last option they can offer, can’t go lower than that.
If Autodesk had only 3ds max, they’d be going free too, or else their product would die. A typical ‘modern’ plan is to go free but charge either % from profit or some sort of Cloud hosting/sharing/collab. That is gonna change and become free too.