An amazing thread and love the points you bring up.
I believe its 100% sustainable.
It is wild to see teams grow in the thousands, but with what gamers are expecting from AAA games these days, that is now to be expected. As in, RDR2 may have been in development longer and worked on by more people, they also sold a premium product at full price and moved 46 million units, that is before any PS5 or Series X patch btw, that is before any remaster of the title either...
We have more gamers today then any other time in history.
This time at $70, by the time RDR3 or what ever they call it releases, those fans I doubt will skip it based on a $10 increase, which means it will still move massive, massive units.
Even the point of companies taking less risk, do some of you think with a shorter cycle you'd have MORE risk? Where is the evidence to even support that? I'd argue more would suggest you'd get less risk with a yearly or bi yearly release, is that not the fucking shit some of you cry about regarding Call Of Duty? Assassins Creed?
So taking the time to put out a quality game based on the advancements in gaming is bad....
but shit, yearly release or bi yearly is also bad....
So we got some trilogies in 1 gen btw, its simply that folks choose to cherry pick and pick and choose when they want to acknowledge the talent that is able to do that. =)
So the industry will be just fine. More then enough gamers exist that want AAA games to keep the industry afloat and you'll see the cost go down based on new technology, innovations, AI etc.