I paid full price for all the Total War games up until Empire Total War and Napoleon Total War. I was right to do that, as in both cases, as within 6 weeks of the release of both games, I was able to buy the Special Editions for less than 1/3 the full price. Given that the Medieval II Total War expansion Kingdoms had more content than both Empire Total War AND Napoleon Total War COMBINED, shows how for Creative, just like Valve, Bethesda and Bioware, its become all about the money.
An interesting statistic I found was in a 1997 games magazine I still have it said 50% of all PC titles lost money. Today that figure is 85% (Games Industry News). If publishers went back to making games for the love of it then, paradoxically, the more money they would make.
Also, don;t believe the hype. Bethesda was happy to tell you Fallout 3 had sold more units than Fallout 1 and 2 combined. Of course, what they didn't mention was that Fallout 1 and 2 only came out on PC. So when you look deeper and see that Fallout 1 and 2 TRIPLED the sales of the PC version of Fallout 3 you learn something. That in this multiformat world it's a lot easier for publishers to hide the truth, and as as long as the gaming media cow-tows to the industry it will only get worse. Eventually leading to 100% of AAA games from the major publishers making a loss.
The way Bioware have gone from Baldur's Gate to Mass Effect and Bethesda have gone from Daggerfall to Oblivion, i think the direction of gaming is obvious, and it's not up.