The Game Industry Model is undergoing transformation from several, inter-locking, vantages.
One vantage is the Hollywood Moviemaking Model (begun some decades back) of "Out-sourcing" for talent / skills rather than having it all "In-house".
A second is the Rise of "Middleware SDKs": for "Pathing", "Advanced A.I.", & "Networking & Security" for Web MP.
Thirdly, on the MP front, there is a concerted push to Model comp-vid gaming into a Competitive Structure like Pro Sports. Tourneys for substantial dough, etc.
This last is to tap into the Multi-Billion dollar spectating & gambling market - very much a part of the gameing impulse like Casino Games & the ponies.... Even OTB on Pro & College Sports.
Successfull Web MP also adds to a titles longevity & thus the bottomline.... Plus mana from merchandising revene streams: collectibles, movie / book / comics tie-ins. Thus also contributing to a known brand that offers a built-in audience for future titles.
Not every vid-comp game can benefit from a blockbuster movie marketing tie-in.
But most blockbuster games can gain additional economic mana from a Pro-competitive tie-in with $ stakes and the gambling associated with it - with or without a Movie or collateral merchandising in the mix.
This translates to an even greater need for network secure gaming.
Revenue-wise, vid-comp gameing has accended to the pinnacle of the entertainment industry heap - the Multi-Billion Dollar Club.
Lots of money is at stake on the dev & distribution side.
For every one mega-success there are countless failures in the marketplace.
That's a lot of risk & losses to absorb.
Anything that can effectively cut costs & augment various revenue streams is being actively pursued.
Fourth: the Modularization of Design Architecture to faciltate scalability, re-usability of software assets in sequels, reduce dev cycle time and promote fan-base modders to create. For successful Mods have proven to add to the sales / longevity of a title by enlisting the talents & skills of an unpaid labor pool. Eventually that pool may become sothing akin to the Minor Leagues in sports.... Like Triple AAA ball to MLB.
Inexpensive, genre specific, integrated game development suites (inc. state of the art game engines) with SDKs & upgrade paths. Freeing up indie game development from the prohibitive costs of setting-up a brick & mortar Game Studio / Team. The Net providing a low-cost remote collaboration medium and, later, distribution channel.
All the above are joined at the hip or on the way to convergence. A critical-mass, or tipping-point, to reduce costs, maximize the diversity of revenue streams, & reinvigorate innovation in the design paradigms by minimizing finacial risks.
Money talks, the rest takes a walk.
A follow-up question of some interest would be:
HOW does Open-source games fit into this dynamic system ?