The problem is we occupy two sides of a howling cultural canyon, with utterly divergent experiences of precisely the same games. The 40-hour gamers are able to play in a way that I used to when I was a teenager, but can't anymore. They devote full evenings and entire weekends to marathon play-sessions. They get into the zone -- that Csikszentmihalyian state of "flow" where all distractions drop away, and you focus with lizard-brain survival intensity on solving the puzzles, leveling up, methodically remounting and remounting dread fights against the bosses until you spy the chink in their armor.
And hell, anyone can lick a game in 40 hours easily if they play like that. What you need is to have very few distractions and commitments. That's why a recent study by the NPD Group showed that hard-core gamers -- those capable of truly monklike devotion -- are, as you'd expect, aged 6 to 17.
In contrast, folks like me -- "soft-core" gamers? -- also crave to play these richly narrative, long-lasting titles. But we can only play in dribs and drabs -- an hour here, an hour there. The unspoken truth of gaming is that this creates a vastly different, and vastly inferior, mental space for game playing. If you're continually loading the game into your mental RAM, only to dump it out again an hour later, you can never concentrate as fully on grokking its internal mechanics. (This is also true of work: When I need to focus really intensely on a project, I start work at 9 a.m. and finish at 4 a.m. the next morning. But I can't afford to play games that way.)
I sadly know exactly where he's coming from, as I'm sure a large number of CAGs do as well. I no longer yearn for 40 hour games. I love the 10 hour slugfests that I can sit down with on my DS for a few days and get the satisfaction of finising. RPGs that I used to be able to knock out in a week or two now extend months if they ever finish.
How do you cope with this problem, or have you even found a way yet? How should the industry?