Even though a pair of GeForce 8800 GTX cards will set you back quite a bit, it seems many are claiming that the focus on super-expensive machines as being required for today's gaming is damaging to the community. The reasoning is that publishers may choose to avoid developing for newer technologies, for fear of alienating their customers:
Taylor recounted an unnamed game publisher who told him that his company was not interested in writing games for DirectX 10 because "all DX10 machines are $3,000 and too expensive." Such a view is ridiculous, of course, because DX10-class machines can be had for $1,000 and up. Whether or not you'd want to game on Vista using such a machine is another matter.
While it is true a DX10 rig will not set you back $3,000 if you don't want it to, gamers are definitely averse to Windows Vista, currently the only operating system functional with DX10.
Does manufacture focus on the high end harm game development? Somehow, I doubt that - DX10 titles are rare not due to lack of affordable hardware, but rather due to unrelated performance issues and the relatively young age of DX10 to begin with. New iterations of APIs have not stopped developers in the past from pushing forward with new titles. Then again, DX9 support goes all the way back to Windows 98.
The hardware developers understand this too. They know the high-end caters only to enthusiasts or those with a lot of cash. A $3000 machine has a small market, but I doubt there are any titles now or in the future that will require a $3000 machine.