In the Talkspot interviews from back in 1998, one of the questions (actually from a guy from Just Adventure), was and I paraphrase;
Why didn't Sierra advertise their games in more mass public locations like console game companies did?
Why didn't Sierra advertise their products on TV, at the theatre (Zelda: OOT was advertised in some theatres), on the Radio, in newspapers and non-gaming magazines.
He expanded on his question; if advertising helped console games to sell more, why wouldn't it work for Sierra as well? The Just Adventure guy believed that a game like KQ8 could have had mass appeal to people who played the likes of Zelda: OOT.
Roberta answered back going into the history of advertising of her games, and the newest one. She along with Mark Seibert, said that the problem was that PC market was already pretty limited. It was expensive hobby, she created games that pushed the then computers to the maximum in order to play them as they were meant to be played. Often required new computers in order to play them at max settings. This limited her games to hands of a dedicated group of enthusiast who were willing actually buy new machines in order to play those games.
Secondly, they couldn't compete with the console market in price, because they were producing a game for a platform that was more expensive to produce on, requiring to update their computers in order to make games that pushed the limits. This meant that the returns weren't as great as a console game company could get simply because there was more overhead from the getgo.
Because of this they couldn't afford to put up flashy hollywoodesque advertisements, because it would already cut into an already close profit margin. Nor did they believe they would work, since games that wouldn't appeal or be too expensive mainstream audience that couldn't afford to plunk down money to buy a brand new highend computer everytime Roberta or other Sierra developers came out with a brand new Adventure game (technically only Roberta pushed the envelope so much, that this was even an issue).
Earlier in the interview in part 1, they brought up examples of how they pushed the envelope for example, when they released KQ4, they used a Roland to produce the music. They mentioned that they were too expensive (around $250 or more) except for a few ethusiasists to obtain them, because they were external devices. It wasn't until they started making sound cards that it became slightly more affordable for most PC gamers.
She also brought up that many people had tried to play KQ7 on machines it wasn't meant for, and ended up with very slow and choppy gameplay and animation. This lead to many criticisms for the game as well, and poorer ratings. People didn't understand they needed to meet at least the minimum requirements.
Even still with developments like that, there wasn't that many PC gamers out there in comparision to the console gaming audience. Apparently if they had spent money to advertise in mainstream sources such as TV they would have only broken even on their games or worse lost money. It probably still wouldn't have pulled in more of an audience, simply because they couldn't afford to buy the systems needed anyways. So they were forced to only advertise in pc gaming magazines for the most part, and later the internet. At that time the internet was really only used by a small audience of people as well, the same ones that were generally already gamers.
It was these enthusiast Gamers that Sierra was generally always developoing for through their life as a company, that were calling for powerful 3D games, many who were already starting to say "2D" games were outdated, and they wanted more. They wanted things that would push their fancy new machines (one caller even stated this fact, and was hoping that Roberta would design something to replace the aging The Realm MMO).
So was Roberta a pc elitist? That is to say because she designed games meant mainly for enthusiast crowd with the best machines, that she had created a situation that would essentially killed her own market, because she limited her own demographics? Did the use of top of the line expensive technology to produce a game for such a small market, cut into the overall returns? Sierra created such a small niche market, with poor marketing, that it became unsustainable? How did these factors influence the history of the Adventure game in general?