This article that I am referring to was in Gameindustry.biz a while back, but I only now got the time to mention it. Good old Rob Fahey was behind it. Anyway, according to the article, new production model aims to lower the costs of concept development. Game Republic is behind the enterprise.
Basic idea here is that developers have their development plans Okayed in the early stages of the process. If format key holders like Nokia, Sony and Microsoft think that the idea will not fly, then there is no need for expensive full scale development. This will speed up the development process, because now those more or less raw ideas can be tested before building an expensive, functional demo etc. Furthermore, accepted projects will get financial backing from early on and development companies can take it easier with capital requirements. Future looks bright for game developers.
Enough article references. My gut feeling tells me that this will unify game genres into standard forms. If the game industry is not yet like movie industry, then this development will further demolish the fences. Buying a game will be easy, because you have seen it being advertised, you find it from the promotional stand in any major shop and it includes some real life sports or movie and game stars.
The ones who benefit are those, already big companies, which can now put their money into good use by garnering all the needed name features that make a good game. Throw the mix on general engine platform and there you have it. Now it is only time to repeat the process as many times as possible and the production numbers take care of the rest. There are bound to be few hits among the titles produced this way so just loop the process.
Why is it so? My guess is that decision makers have already a long career in game industry and they have worked their way up. It needs wits and vision, but their career advancement takes so long that when they finally are in the decision making position, they are bit out of touch with their young audience and therefore they are not making game decision anymore, just business decisions. In such a landscape there is room for many innovative companies that are pushing the envelope, but because of the nature of this business, innovations are quickly copied and major players remain on the top.
If you want to the top, there still might be a window of opportunity open for few years, run for it.