Ok, here is my (serious) attempt to predict were Blender could be in 10 years time.
I choose to show 2 scenarios - were there in both cases will be a push to have more professionals using the program. It is based on Ton’s Blender Conference keynote in 2012, were he said that professional use of Blender will take Blender development to the next level. And I agree with him.
Scenario 1 : Here the development focus have been mainly on adding features. With not that much development resources allocated to UI.
It is a development philosophy I call the ‘zBrush way’. Were the development team acknowledge that Blender have a steep learning curve (because the Blender UI-philosophy is not that conventional). But that the program will still be interesting to learn and use in a professional pipeline, if it gets features you can find nowhere else in the cgi/vfx industry.
The problem with this approach will be that the Blender development team is small. Blender is a suite of ‘sub’ programs (modelling, texturing, rendering, composting, physics, asset manager…) and development is spread out.
Compare this to zBrush were all development efforts is much more focused.
So, as I see it, this development model will not work. Blender will have no killer-features in 10 years time, the manpower is simply spread out too thin.
The professional use of the program will be a bit bigger than now (Blender hobbyist turned professionals). But in a professional marketplace were time=money, other programs have better features, or/and a flatter learning curve with a more streamlined UI (because of more UI resources). And Blender hobbyist turned professionals will have a serious challenge competing with other cgi/vfx studios.
Scenario 2 : Here Blender developers (with Blender Foundation at its centre) acknowledge that scenario 1 is a fight too big to win. So there are a real honest push in development resources allocated to UI.
As a result, conventions from the ‘big players’ in the software industry will be implemented (but we are not talking about turning Blender into a clone or anything like that). So the learning curve will flatten. The UI will be streamlined and flexible (with less built in contradictions), and Blender will be more relevant to pick up in a professional pipeline. Were (again) time=money.
So in scenario 2, there will in 10 years time be substantially more professional users than now. Supporting development of Blender - with their own developers, or with donations to the Blender Foundation. And in effect taking Blender development to the next level.
So this is my predictions. And they are of course very subjective.
…because as physicist Niels Bohr once said - ‘It is difficult to predict, especially about the future’. :)