It’s true that on a small (but growing) level, we indies are in competition with each other. The economy pretty much still stinks everywhere, and games aren’t quite as “recession-proof” as originally thought. Indie RPGs have gone from being all but unheard-of to being a pretty exciting field that even I have trouble keeping track of – even if I generally focus on PC games. But in my opinion, the zero-sum thing really doesn’t kick in until a market is really saturated. Maybe it is there already on mobile devices, but it certainly isn’t yet in our niche.
It’s not so much “celebrity designers” as it is authorship. Authorship is something that has lost a lot of ground (by necessity and by design) in the AAA world. When you have a development team measured in triple digits, it’s going to be very hard for anybody’s contribution – even the lead designer’s – to really exert a powerful influence on the game. Really, it takes a commitment on the part of the studio and publisher to make sure that happens – and to give the responsible parties credit. Publishers have very little motivation to do so, as they can own a property, but they can’t own a designer.