what if newtek takes another look at lightwave core from 10 years ago? modernize lw make it 1 app.
It was left unfinished, and abandoned. The code is a decade old, and probably must be partly rewritten once more.
From an economic business perspective it would seem to be a terrible venture to even consider, though. What company would be willing to invest a decade of development money and people power while no revenue is generated from it and hope for the best that ex-LW users will return to the fold and new users will be willing to pay for a DCC in development when Blender is a free feature-rich option (and imagine where the competition will be at in 5-10 years from now)?
Realistically it would take at least another 7-10 years before a new DCC would be somewhat competitive in the market. And at the time quite a few LW users weren't happy with the direction Core was headed for. It would not be LightWave, but a different app, LightWave all but in name.
Even IF LightWave were to be sold to another company, they'd still face the same dilemma: LightWave needs a core update to be able to compete in this market. It must become a unified app. Which means the core parts of the app must be rewritten. But Modeler and Layout do not share the same code base. So what to do? Add modeling tools to Layout? You'd still have to deal with that old code base. Patching an entire modeler on top of it probably wasn't / isn't feasible, otherwise they would have done it by now.
Create an off-shoot development branch for a complete new DCC? 'Core returns'? See above: unless the company's cash grows on trees, not a terribly attractive business proposition. Unclear outcomes, assured high development/business costs.
Open sourcing LW was mentioned as well in these threads, but licensing issues pose insurmountable odds against taking that path.
It's like the chicken and the egg: LightWave must be revitalized in core parts and unified to be able to compete on the market and earn revenue. To achieve this, a steady influx of cash is required. But to be an attractive alternative in the market, it must be updated first.
If we were talking 15-20 years ago, the user base would have been there to finance this. Perhaps. That is no longer the case. Most have switched or are in the process of switching to other DCCs anyway. And any newly developed paid-for generalist DCC must be able to compete with Blender, which was possible 15 years ago, but is becoming increasingly difficult.
It wouldn't state that it is impossible in the current DCC market, but I'd say chances are incredibly slim. Which are probably all reasons why LightWave is seemingly no longer being developed and updated.