Checked out that Ars Technica article, good read. I totally agree with the author on this one. Especially with not having as much time to play games in the last couple years after graduating from college and having a full-time job, along with other adult responsibilities, I don't like when developers add unnecessary filler to their games just to make them longer. I much prefer a more focused, finely-created experience.
The value of a game (like many things in life) changes so differently from person to person, so it seems useless to argue about it in absolute terms. The amount and types of game content (i.e., different gameplay modes, approximate completion time, etc.) are, in fact, a part of the purchasing decision, but only insofar as these facts needing to be noted by a reviewer or whomever is covering the game. From there, people can judge for themselves whether they want to purchase/play a game.
Also, since Shipwreck mentioned it, just wanted to say I've been playing Ys Seven as well. I'm about 10 hours in, got near the end of the Wind Altar dungeon, couldn't figure out the puzzle though, sadly. Probably going to try to figure it out tonight, fun game! It doesn't go anything revolutionary as an action RPG, but it's definitiely solid.