I see little to no difference with startups, as the bars for getting in appear to be just as high.
You seem to make it very personal and also have a hetz against Microsoft. Given your explanations it's easy to call it a sob story but you have to remember that everything is just business, nothing personal.
Maybe you should try and seek out startup companies?
Companies that can't expect to get the veterans right off the bat, companies that doesn't have the infrastructure of a giant, and so forth. This could benefit you a lot to break into the industry. Otherwise you would have to look at options, as mentioned earlier, like making your own company and start that way.
With this statement you are sort of proving that you have become very biased and jaded.
The world is not so black and white. Try look around on Elance (as mentioned earlier), the Unity Forums, the Unreal Engine Forums, the Gamedev Forums, the IndieDB forums, and the list goes on. You have so many possible job positions and the industry is hurting for programmers (as it always is!). Programmers are usually in high demand, as we tend to find an ocean of differing artists (we had to look for 6 months ourselves to get a programmer).
You also have another option. Try get your hands on for example, Unity or Unreal Engine (both very accessible and pretty easy to get into) and then start building prototype games that centers around one single mechanic or few very simple mechanics. Start gaining knowledge on how these engines work (like for Unreal Engine you get access to ALL source code. Everything!) and then try and extend their frameworks and prove that you are as good a programmer as you say you are. Then build a portfolio of these examples and start seeking out Indie Studios as you are much more likely to get in. Even if you just have to send an unmotivated application.
The world is not so black and white
You're god dang right I'm biased and jaded!!! And I think I have every right to be so. Hence the recent and appropriate avatar change to reflect it.
If they're hurting for programmers so dammed bad, then why haven't they hired me yet? And quite frankly, as I stated earlier, I never want to work for a game company ever again. I'll go ahead and try Elance, since I've never heard of it. Almost everything on CL.org is a bust anyway.
I'll take your advice on other frameworks, but for non gaming frameworks, like Cordova, Ionic, AngularJS, Gulp, Selenium Webdriver, and other things related to web dev. Although I really hate trying to cram in knowledge for the sake of appeasing someone else. I applied for a smaller company that's more at the startup level like you all said, but I have my doubts. I'm sorry, but I'm just not convinced. For me, everything is the god dang same!
Not trying to play the race card, but I am black, and the world is white. So, in a literal sense, it is black and white. And it's still f-ed up.
It's easy to be overly optimistic when you have a job already, have no major obstacles getting one, or have lots of experience to help you find another. At one point, this becomes unavoidable.
It's not nice to put it this way but: Feeling sorry for yourself and bitter about the world will only get you so far, before it turns into permanent bias.
We have currently worked 6 months for no pay whatsoever, because we want to make the game that we are working on right now. This project have been under way for at least a year now, and took many months to actually find people willing to work on this with a promise of future pay. But then again, we are not just making a game. We are making a new company. There are future benefits from this, but as everything else, it's a gamble for all of us.
As mhagain have said though: You have an attitude problem you need to work out first.
Gaining knowledge to appease someone else? It's not about someone else. It's about personal growth and staying on top of your game (no punt intended).
Giving up on working in games because of sour experiences is still not going to get you into making games. It will leave you a broken and bitter man instead, with only bitterness to pass on to others. Only you can make this happen, so start building up a portfolio while you seek jobs. It will go a long way with indie studios.