Well news is surfacing about a new move by Autodesk on distribution models for Revit and ACA. Apparently Revit Suite subscriptions will now include ACA as well as Autocad! What does that mean to the future of ACA? (Here's a NG thread that has lots of info and some links)
Well from Autodesks view I think this is a smart move. How can an ACA user move to Revit when they have existing projects running in ACA. To move to the Revit suite previously meant only having AutoCAD which made transitions difficult. Now they will be able to transition their office at their own pace. They can train on Revit whilst keeping existing projects going in ACA. Very smart (doh!). ACA is only around $1700 upgrade on top of ACAD anyway and sub is cheaper.
But again what does this mean to ACA. Well I think the mass weight of Revit in big offices means most will move across unless they are still on autocad and don't care to go 3D. But they will not be able to resist the customer demand (whether that's logical or simply good advertising).
The "writing has been on the wall" and it is "only a matter of time". But unlike mechanical, I would argue that the architectural base of ACA is much larger and slower to react and will hold on for some years to come. Development on ACA is already a sore point and there will be those who jump ship and slowly the numbers will turn.
My thoughts are that ACA is good value for those offices already using ACAD and for a small(er) upgrade fee can be into BIM approach and get some good return. But perhaps that is getting more difficult to justify as the weight of numbers changes. Why would you train an office on a product that is being superceded albeit gradually?
I could happily end my sub now and continue using ACA09 (actually I''m still using ADT6). But I charge extra to maintain my sub so it's covered anyway. I know others are not so well looked after and some have dropped their sub. Basically, if the product does what you need then be happy. Maximise your existing setup. Might be nice not to worry about all those re-installs and reset ups and relearning a whole new interface just for the heck of it.
But if you are going to be in the industry for some years to come and want to stay current then you may need to stay tuned. If you are self-sufficient and do things as you want to (like me) then you are free to choose. If you are reliant on working in other environments then you may need to keep up to date with the latest software.
What will I do? Well I ain't going to ArchiCAD! Chief Architect seems to have a solid sales base in Australia. My kids enjoyed that one! For the time being I will continue on ACA but I would think that Revit is going to be somewhere in the future. The economy of the cross-grade!
Revit has strength in that it doesn't have so many options. It doesn't give you choices you don't really need to bog you down. I'm sure in time Adesk marketing will add back in lots of unnecessary options because the user base keeps asking for them and Revit will become complicated and slower etc.
Anyways, that's progress for you!
Best to ya!