I call this the Mercedes argument ...
Hi Edmund, I don't know much about cars, and even less about Mercedes, but the automotive industry has some relavance. Thanks.
Developing the floor pan of cars is expensive, $100's millions, even $billions.
The VW small/medium car; 'Golf' in Europe, 'Rabbit' in the US (I think); shares it's floor pan with a whole range of cars some of which are sold by Audi even maybe even Fiat. The selling price ratio is around 1:4; the cheapest costs four times less than the most expensive. Every mass production car maker uses a floor pan as the basis for a range of model variants where the selling price ranges over at least 1:2.
Different products can be based on a shared component. High volume gives lower per-unit cost: economies of scale.
But as I understand it the big issue in MF sensor manufacturing is not just economies of scale, it is about low yield. The bigger the sensor the more significant the yield issue becomes.
So my speculative point was really that with the coming 60Mpx+ sensors there is the opportunity to deal with yield issues using firmware and software. This already happens with the 'mapping' of pixels to deal with response variation to give some improvement to yield.
My main point is about taking a user-centric approach to product development. The pixel count of a 60Mpx+ sensor of is limited value to most commercial photographers. No moire, low noise, faster file handling, wide-angle images and lower cost benefits a lot of us; the pixel count just has to be adequate for the job. Think about photographers' discussions about the Aptus 75(33Mpx) and the P45(39Mpx). Photographers talk about colour and tonal rendering, ISO, useablity, service support, malfunctions, and post-camera work flow. There is no hot thread for: "Need 6Mpx more".
It seems to me that radically remapping the massive amount of data that comes from a 'defective' 60MPx+ sensor has the potential to result is a very useful 15Mpx to 20Mpx photographic tool with advantages over current 15Mpx to 20MPx sensors.
The same approach could, in my dreams, give us a marketable old-school-full-frame MF sensor.
It could also make business sense.