I do have problems when people dwell too much on “intuitive” design and what the players “want”. And in actuality, I find the whole obsession a bit restricting and it imposes pressure on design that makes it hard to create something new.
Say that you are creating music, and that you are making music that is not pop and has a lot smaller market base and following. Does that make it bad music? No. There are a lot of very influential and progressive musicians found outside of the pop music genre. I would actually go so far to claim that most pop music is just highly polished formulas for creating the appearance of skilful delivery. It is not the source of new direction and originality, it is more the demo scene of the technological achievements of digital recording and sound engineering with a heavy dash of consumer psychology.
In regards to games, this pop methodology is what AAA titles are in general. They are sticking to their old tricks again and again as a form of mining previous successes and actually bark claims that this way is the only way to get to consumers or to make games of high quality. The indie game scene has shown that most of these claims of designs are folly, and the big studios have absolutely no idea what the people want.
Most interesting games these days are coming from small studios because they have the freedom to do what they want and do it in their own way. They change how people interact with games and change how games can be played.
There should not be any rules for what a game is, just like with music. Any auditory rhythmic expression can be defined as music, and you should not have to find yourself forced to make pop music just because the bigger audience is there.
Don’t be predictable, be creative and experiment with any creative medium, be it engineering, music, arts, game mechanics or design. Most people that made a living from the gold rush in the U.S, were the ones that sold the shovels and tools to the gold mining hoard. Avoid spending too much time listening to gold digging tips when you can actually be a little practical, creative, humble and brave without loosing it all in the stream.