[Shucks, thanks for the article links, Colin!]
Boutique effects collections are indeed the Right Way given where things are going.
Chuck's right: People ask for what's hard to do themselves. That's what I'd ask for!
- Deep, thorough, varied recordings of large animals (one or two per collection)
- Sure, guns, what the heck. I never get to record 'em.
- Foreign ambiences are indeed rare and nice to have.
- Hits and impacts are always useful, esp. if it's a collection of just one kind*
*Yes, I'd even be excited by 1000+ samples of dirt impacts.
What I would not expect is that the collections that are harder to coordinate, create, and edit would cost the same as those that are easier (not that any recording session is ever easy). Guns, animals, and those sorts of things should carry a premium cost. It's only fair, and it does reflect the relative market value of those effects.
Boutique = awesome, and right now it means inexpensive, but those three terms needn't be synonymous all the time, based on what the actual content is. My prediction is that everyone's sound collections will vary in price, the market (that's us, people) will help drive what price points we'll accept, and standards for certain types of sounds will probably start to solidify.
But for the indie SFX artists releasing their collections: Please, keep them coming, keep them reasonably priced, and keep the quality high...just don't sell yourself short if and when you do make big investments in effects collections.