I'm not sure why everyone think it has anything to do with MMO's. Back in the 90's everyone wanted to make FPS's - because that's what the industry was making back then and those were the games that were successful. Today, it's the MMO's that are the games you hear about and that's why people want to make them.
An indie can't compete with AAA MMO's but they've never been able to compete with Quake or Doom either. They also can't compete with something like Mass Effect or Call of Duty either, even though those clearly are not MMO's.