It clearly hasn't destroyed the franchise from a sales standpoint. From the point of view of those who prefer the mechanics of the earlier versions (IV and before)? Possibly so. I for one agree with the criticisms in the first post (except maybe IX, about builders, reserving judgement on that one), and don't really have much of an interest in V, VI, or any future installments with 1 UPT, based on my first-hand experiences with V, and what I've read about VI. Dale is on point with the strategic focus, too. I've argued in a lot of other threads that it felt like you were managing an empire in III, but not so much in IV, and V exacerbated the problem even more so with its increased penalties for expansion. I like the strategic focus of III, and found the focus in IV to be acceptable if not ideal, especially after BTS was released with its improvements, but can't get past the lack of feeling like I'm managing an empire in V. So, slightly different perspective on where III falls on the spectrum, but I certainly agree with the trend and the changes over time. Personally, I don't expect Firaxis to change this much in the future; if they were going to, they would've with VI. But I'm also OK with that, as there are plenty of other games I can buy that do have the focus I prefer.