This was an interesting episode, as usual, that provoked many thoughts -- some of which I unfortunately have forgotten already as I usually listen to this podcast while cooking and drinking. That said ...
The tech crash was in 1998. Soon after, Microsoft started planning for the XBOX, and with it, began planning for the death of PC gaming. As mentioned on the podcast, it was around then that JRPG's started to hit it big, contributing to this decision by Microsoft. Having lived through this era as a PC gamer, exclusively, it always seemed to me that the PC as a platform was deliberately abandoned by the people with money, at a time when smaller developers had no way to really sell or distribute their products -- this being the era before Steam. I have always believed that this was one factor behind the death of the RTS, the decline of strategy gaming more generally, and of the PC-style shooter as well. Of course, Halo revived the shooter more generally, but post-Halo console oriented shooters have always been different from pre-Halo PC oriented shooters. Not necessarily better, but different. Strategy games, on the other hand, have never, or only recently, recovered from the deliberate killing of the PC as a platform.
On a somewhat related point, I have always been sad that Bungie was bought my Microsoft and turned into "the Halo studio," so that no further Myth games were made. I loved Myth 2.
As for the infiltrator, that idea was pretty clearly killed off by the greater focus on faction differentiation with both Age of Empires and Starcraft. While it is a great idea from a gameplay perspective, it would make absolutely no sense for Terran units to start cranking out Protoss carriers in Starcraft, or for the Aztecs to start producing Byzantine units in Age of Kings. It just does not work from a lore standpoint.
Finally, Rob, you still have not managed to bring together a group for a Endless Legend retrospective. Should you be intersted, I would totally be stoked to join such a podcast. Not that I am an Endless Legend fanatic of anything -- much to the contrary. I played it some at launch, and would be interested in jumping back in, and would feel to it be a lifetime highlight to be on the podcast.