Very poor conclusion to draw imo. ANY of the many games where I've continued playing after the story finished were because I was thoroughly enjoying the gameplay and/or the world. Think about it: who's going to play thru 'padding' if they've already played 80 hours of a game that doesn't turn them on? My guess is not many.
Funnily enough I agreed with a lot of the article
I think its a bit of misdirection to think about ARPG's or 4x games in relation to this, they are designed to be played through dozens of times.
Reducing it down and correct me if I'm wrong, seems what you're saying is that you enjoy the world and you mostly couldn't care less about the story? Others enjoy the story and tailored content in the context of the world. Most are probably somewhere in between.
I'd rather they reduced the world size by 30% and added 15% more tailored side missions with interesting characters or different mechanics that switch up the gameplay or tell an engaging and affecting story. I realize its not that simple an equation, but pasting another 30 bandit camps or races to the map has to be easier to add in compared to story missions. The problem is sometimes you can't ignore the fluff, level requirements for the next story mission are set so grinding is required before you can progress without enemies being massively overpowered for your character. You can buy XP boosters in Assassins Creed, and pay to play less of the game!
I enjoy a certain amount of filler when its fresh, but at a point doing the same thing repeatedly in slightly different way gets dull, and its usually way before those games comes to an end. Its not a lack of attention span, it's an intolerance for repetition.
Where I disagree with the article is when he says no one is going to grind those filler missions. That's obviously untrue, a huge amount of gamers like clearing maps. If the filler is there but doesn't affect access to the story and tailored side missions, fine. The Witcher 3 was like this mostly, I don't remember being forced to grind in the first Dying Light either, and I'm currently playing Cyberpunk 2077 and I'm able to run through the story without having to grind at all. Hopefully Dying Light 2 is the same, 500 hours might include multiple divergent story paths for example, I can hope.