Is the traditional game market in any way threatened by the rise of free-to-play browser games?
For the time being, no. There's such a gulf in the types of games available that it's hard to see anybody voluntarily giving up console or high-end PC games for browser games. Plus, I'm pretty sure that the kinds of people who play Bejeweled and its ilk exclusively are not also shelling out for fancy graphics cards and cutting edge game systems. I think we're talking about two disparate groups here.
But I could easily see something like this happening down the line. As we know, it's not always the most advanced, cutting-edge hardware that ends up getting adopted by the masses. It's all about having the right technology for the right price at the right time. With computers becoming ever more powerful and cheaper, and web access becoming ever faster and more prevalent, I could see a day where you just don't need to buy a dedicated gaming system in order to get a relatively robust gameplay experience. We could see a convergence of hardware and software such that the best possible value for your gaming dollar is simply a low-to-mid-range PC.
The real question is what the revenue model is for games of this type. Quake Live is going to be an interesting test, I think.
Daniel follows up with:
Could you live off free-to-download and play games, such as Flash and independent titles?
Would you miss the so-called "AAA" releases?
There's no way I could do this. Like anybody, I can get addicted to casual games. I already mentioned my love for FreeCell, and the Puzzle Quest Galactrix Flash demo has already sucked me in for way too many hours. But when it comes to what I really want out of a game, it's those robust, narrative experiences that you currently need a next-gen console or high-end PC to play. But maybe someday the distinction between those types of games won't be so clear.
Also, for whatever reason, I am totally ignorant of the indie scene. Not sure why.
In the spirit of openness and inclusion, I will also answer Ben Abraham's question:
Where do babies come from?
According to the introduction of Yoshi's Island, they are delivered by an incompetent stork.
Questions have been trickling in. More still tomorrow.