This question was asked in the last issue of the German magazine GameStar. German readers might remember that GameStar itself made MOO2 very popular in Germany. In 1999, they offered MOO2 on their Bonus CD and one should keep in mind that the print-run was over 300.000 back in the days.
Here is the translation of his comment:
Where is the center?
Trusting the PC Games Charts the PC owners play Action titles, Real Time Strategy, Role Playing Games and additionally maybe Football. This is the misapprehension of the mainstream. Indeed, some of these genres are popular and are cultivated by the large producers exclusively. However, alongside niches are prospering.
There are sufficient people, who love genres, that barely exist any longer: Turn Based Strategy, Flight Simulators, Jump & Runs. The large companies don't want to serve these niches. Therefore small developers step into the breach and produce curd like UFO Extraterrestrials or Space Empires V - more or less failed clones of erstwhile genre masterpieces. They sell well nevertheless.
It is one of the huge mistakes of our industry that a strong middle segment is missing. There are the top games, that cost millions, and there is a miraculousness depth of cheap easy-to-play games. But good titles for niche genres do barely exist. Where is the next Battle Isle? Where is the modern Master of Orion? These two examples should attract attention. The written off genre of Graphical Adventures is currently the only one where this middle segment exists, where good games are produced on a monthly base. On the other hand, the Handheld Game Consoles: (ambitious!) round-based tactic like Advance Wars has sensational success on the Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS.
There is no reason, why this shouldn't work on the PC.
(translated by siron)