Middleware for games development was once a booming business. Remember Havok and PhysX? Both still exist, but they ended up in the pockets of Microsoft and NVIDIA respectively and well... we don't really hear about them any more. And the ones that get bought and don't work out? Well, they get the axe, as was the case this week for Autodesk's Scaleform and Beast packages.
Scaleform you may have heard of before. Acquired by Autodesk back in 2011, Scaleform allowed developers to create user interfaces in Adobe Flash and proved popular with quite a number of major studios. When the likes of Chrome and Firefox started disabling Flash by default, effectively killing it as a thing, Scaleform didn't stand a chance.
While not as well know, users of Unity will recognise the name "Beast", which was a core part of Unity 4's lightmapping system. Lightmapping is the process of "baking" high-quality lighting information into a game, usually in the form of large textures, saving the performance cost of calculating such information during gameplay.
As far as I can tell, Beast's biggest customer was Unity. Unfortunately for Autodesk, Unity switched to an alternative product — Enlighten — starting with Unity 5 and never looked back. Without a major sponsor (so to speak) there wasn't much reason to continue supporting Beast.
According to Autodesk's announcement, it'll continue to honour existing maintenance contracts and will give customers access to the final source code and binaries. Beyond that, it's basically the end of these products.