I was inspired to start this thread by reading the "coming out in 2008" thread. I felt excited to see all the interesting stuff coming out soon, but also a little intimidated. My zest for learning new game systems has faded considerably, and there's more and more demand for the clear-headed reading time that it takes to read and understand new systems.
At the same time, it seems to be that there are more good open license gaming systems out there than ever before. But, aside from systems with "20" in the name, I don't really see a flood of new interesting stuff that takes those engines and does cool new things with them.
Instead, I see a lot of different designers tinkering with innovative mechanics to create all-new games with new systems. And that's a good thing too, but I wonder at the balance, and I wonder what accounts for it? Do the game designers want to do things that can't be done with the available tools? Are a lot of the new games with old systems I mentioned remaining "game hacks" and houserules, and never being put forward as games in their own right?
And at what point does a set of rules go from being a "house campaign" to being an actual thing? The only example that comes to mind right now is Dictionary of Mu -- it evolved from Judd's cool one-sheet and Sorcerer campaign to become a book.