One of my favourite writers about games, Greg Costikyan, has just published slides from his latest talk (PDF version). The slides are worth a look, Greg does a great job arguing that the current increasing cost of game development is going to kill creativity and we need an alternative distribution channel to save the industry.
But I wanted to comment on some of the side-issues Greg's talk raises. Slide 9 makes an arresting argument:
Greg's post also reminds me of my frustration that games are too long. A movie is $10 for 2 hours of fun. A game is $50 for (in theory) 30+ hours of fun. But most people I know get bored of games in less than 20 hours, the rest is wasted. I'd rather games were shorter, cheaper, and more varied. But the economics of the industry make that tough. The $50 price point is fixed by development costs, and they don't get much cheaper for a shorter game. And if the consumer pays $50 they expect 30+ hours of gameplay. So we're stuck with an industry that makes long, expensive games.