Publisher sales reps inform Wal-Mart buyers of games in development; the games’ subjects, titles, artwork and packaging are vetted and sometimes vetoed by Wal-Mart. If Wal-Mart tells a top-end publisher it won’t carry a certain game, the publisher kills that game. In short, every triple-A game sold at retail in North America is managed start to finish, top to bottom, with the publisher’s gaze fixed squarely on Wal-Mart, and no other. –Allen Varney –Wal-Mart Rules: One Giant Company Controls Your Games — But How Much Longer? (The Escapist)
This is what happens when games go mainstream — and when they mean big bucks. There will always be indie games, of course.