Linear projections out of the current data set are completely irresponsible and should be avoided at all costs. But I just can't resist the temptation.
A film like Return of the King costs something like $100m to make, for perhaps ten hours of entertainment (I've watched the film 3 times). That's $10m per hour. Now, a good SW occupies users for more time than that. An intense user will go in for 40+ hours weekly, for three or five years. Let's be more conservative and say it is 25 hours a week for one year. 25x52 = 1,300 hours. 1,300 hours of entertainment produced Hollywood-style would cost $13b. The projection suggests that a fully mature game industry might be willing to put $13 billion into the construction of a fantasy world that provides entertainment, in terms of quality and time, equialent to to watching a string of great movies 3 or 4 hours a day, for a year.
It's an irresponsible calculation, but it just makes me think that, well, we may be pouring truly massive amounts of money into synthetic world creation in the future.